Louis Tharaud

1878 – 2 December 1963 Toulouse

Picture of Louis Tharaud

Picture of Louis Tharaud
Louis Tharaud made his debut in June 1908 as Éléazar in Toulouse. His repertory included Die Meistersinger, Guillaume Tell, Pagliacci, Hérodiade, Guillaume Tell, La favorite, etc. Tharaud sang all over France and Belgium.

Tharaud in New Orleans
Tharaud asked Jules Layolle, the impresario, to allow him to make his debut as Éléazar in "La Juive" on the opening night of the season – 31 October 1912. While the reviews were not bad, when he sang the role again, on 3 November, the press stated that he was "in voice and more rested from the stress of the [ocean] voyage. He sang well in the finale to act 1 and again in act 4 ('Rachel...')."
On 9 November, and again on 16 November, he sang Manrico in "Le trouvère". In the second performance he repeated "Supplice infâme" and was "a good Manrico, considering he has been indisposed since his arrival by our inclement climate."
He then sang two performances of Don José in "Carmen" (19 and 24 November).
Then abruptly, in its edition of 1 December 1912 "L'Abeille" reported "changes in the personnel at the opera house," and that M. Affre had been contracted to come to New Orleans to replace M. Tharaud.
So without any further explanation, after only six performances, Tharaud apparently returned to Europe. It would seem that whatever vocal problems he was having might have related to our winter climate which can vary greatly from cold to warm, sometimes changing back and forth several times during a week. What a pity that Tharaud did not make commercial recordings so that later generations could have experienced his voice.
"L'Abeille" had a very nice article on him the week prior to his departure [apparently not knowing that he would soon leave]. He was a very modest man, reluctant to speak too much about his career, but very happy to talk about his teacher Tournié: "I revere his memory." Some time after the death of Tournié, Tharaud had purchased his property near Toulouse "sur le Chemin de la Gloire". "C'est une charmante retraite plantée d'arbres de toute sorte..." There he resided with his wife, his mother-in-law, and his young son who was studying music.

In spite of his popularity, Tharaud never recorded commercially. In 1960, Tharaud discussed his career on the radio and sang Ah Mathilde with his son the baritone Antonin Tharaud, and Esprits gardiens. Even at 82, Tharaud, in spite of audible vocal decline, shows more voice and power than some of today's so called great tenors.

Ottawa Citizen, 3 December 1963, on Tharaud's death

Louis Tharaud singsSigurd: Esprits gardiens
In RA format
I wish to thank Jack Belsom for the information on New Orleans.
I wish to thank Christian Torrent for the picture (Carmen).
I wish to thank Georges Voisin and Lysiana Medine for the recording.
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