Personalities | Gilbert Duprez | Early Romantic | Opera
Gilbert Duprez, the French tenor, made his debut aged 19 as Count Almaviva in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia. He went to Italy in 1829 to further his operatic studies, and remained there for six years. During this time, Duprez created the role of Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. He had arrived as a youth with a beautiful, but small, light voice. By the time he returned to Paris, he was a mature 29 with much more vocal power. This enabled Duprez to become the leading tenor at the Paris Opéra where he performed for 12 years between 1837 and 1849. Duprez created the title role in Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini among others. Duprez created something of a sensation in Paris when he became the first tenor to produce a ‘chest voice’ top C, an extraordinarily high note beyond the range of many tenors before and since.
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