Gailhard, Pierre


French opera singer and manager; born at Toulouse; studied first at his home conservatory, and at eighteen entered the Paris Conservatory as a pupil of Revial, where he took first prize in each of three subjects, singing, opera and comic opera. In 1867 he made his debut at the Opera Comique, where he sang the part of Falstaff in Ambroise Thomas's Song d'une Nuit d'fite, with pronounced success. He remained at the Opera Comique for three years, singing in at least eight roles, three of them new. In 1871 he made his debut at the Grand Opera as Mephistopheles in Faust, and there remained a member of the company for thirteen years; at the expiration of that time he succeeded Vancorbail as co-manager with Ritt. He sang, on leave of absence, from 1879 to 1883, at Coyent Garden, London, where he elicited much praise and remained in high favor. He has versatile talents, both vocal and dramatic, fitting him for either tragedy or comedy. In 1893 he became assistant manager to Bertrand, who had succeeded Ritt in 1891, and on his partner's death, Gailhard became sole manager. During his management of the Grand Opera many of Wagner's operas, and others by Verdi, Mozart, Leoncavallo, Gounod, Berlioz, Massenet, Saint-Saens, etc., have been performed, and a number of famous singers have made their initial appearance in that theatre, including Melba, Eames, Alvarez and the De Reszke brothers. Gailhard also wrote several librettos, and in 1886 became a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.