Alexandre Guys

Picture of Alexandre Guys as Arnold

Picture of Guys at Marseille in 1970
Marseille 1970

Picture of Guys et Giovaninetti at Marseille on 4th June 1971
with Giovaninetti in Marseille on 4 June 1971

Picture of Alexandre Guys"

Picture of Alexandre Guys receiving the medal of the city of Marseille"
From left to right: Gaston Defferre, Madame Guys, Guys, Madame Baillé (soprano, Guys's student)

Picture of the press clipping regarding Guys receiving the medal of the city of Marseille"

In the 1912 Annuaire du Conservatoire in Paris, Guys (written as Guix) received a second prize in Les huguenots (act 4 with Brunlet).

Like for most men of his time, the war interrupted his career.

There is no document to be found before 1924, when he made his debut at the Opéra-Comique on August 14th, 1924 as Cavaradossi. He also sang Werther.

His repertory: Huguenots, Guillaume Tell, Trovatore, Africaine and so on was sung mainly in the province, where it was called vieux répertoire!

Hi career was, like Poncet's, quite short, about ten years, as no document was found after 1935.

Alexandre Guys was born in Marseille in 1885. Guys studied both at the conservatories of Marseille and Paris.

Guys volunteered during the First World War, where he was burned severely in the face and had to have an eye removed.

After his release from the armed forces, Guys studied with Frédéric Boyer and Léon Escalaïs. During a lesson, the director of the Toulon Opéra heard him. He persuaded Guys to make his debut as Arnold in Toulon. Guys was received triumphantly. Guys had to repeat Asile héréditaire twice and Amis, amis, secondez ma vengeance once.

Guys was then heard in Marseille, Nîmes, Montpellier, Nice, Toulouse, Bordeaux, in his repertory: La Juive, L'Africaine, Sigurd, Le trouvère, La favorite, Les huguenots, Hérodiade, Robert le diable.

Guys is one of the few tenors to sing Robert in the 20th century, before the 1980s revival with the underpowered tenors of Vanzo (for that role) and Blake. Merritt also sang the role once in a concert version.

After those cities, Guys was heard in Lyon, Lille, Rouen, Bruxelles, Ghent, Liège, Antwerp, Geneva, Ostende, Algiers, and Constantinople.

Paris heard him at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Opéra-Comique, and the Gaîté Lyrique.

The press called him the king of the high C and the prince of the C sharp. Guys is said to have sung Arnold 52 times in one season, each time singing his aria three times. Guys retired to Marseille, where he was still living in the 1960s.

Guys is one candidate for the second or third place to have sung Arnold most often after O'Sullivan, the other candidate being the completely forgotten Lefranc.

I wish to thank Christian Torrent for the biographical information.
I wish to thank Claude Ribou for the pictures from Marseille.
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