Duprez, Gilbert Louis

1806-1896

A tenor singer and composer, famous as the instructor of many renowned vocalists. He was born in Paris and was the thirteenth in a family of twenty-two children. He had a good voice as a young boy and Choron became so much interested in him that he enrolled him in his musical institute. Here he studied theory and composition, and in 1825 made his debut at the Odeon Theatre, Paris, He then went to Italy, where he was engaged by Donizetti to create the role of Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, produced in Naples in 1835. His success in the part immediately placed him at the head of the dramatic French singers of his time. He then became the leading tenor at the Grand Opera, Paris, making his first appearance there in April, 1837, in William Tell. He remained there eight years, singing the leading parts in La Favorita, Les Martyrs; Otello, Robert, La Juive and Les Huguenots. In 1855, having retired from the operatic stage, Duprez devoted himself to composing music and preparing methods of instruction for the voice. Among his more important works are an oratorio, The Last Judgment; a requiem; a mass; and other sacred compositions; eight operas; romances; and numerous songs. His vocal method, known in France as L'Art du chant and published in 1845, has been translated into English as, Treatise on Singing, with rules, examples and exercises for every species of voice. He also wrote another work entitled La Melodic. Of his operas, the best are Joianta; La lettre au bon Dieu; and Jeanne d'Arc. He died at Passy. Duprez's wife, formerly Mile. Duperron, was a celebrated vocalist in her day, and their daughter Caroline became under her father's training an excellent singer also.