Garat, Pierre Jean


Celebrated French concert singer and vocal teacher; was born at Ustaritz, and was intended for a lawyer, but while attending the Paris University, for this purpose, devoted so much time to music that a quarrel occurred with his father. Fortunately, however, he secured the position of private secretary to Count d'Artois, through whom he became a favorite singer to Marie Antoinette, who paid his debts more than once. He is said not to have had thorough elementary training, but nevertheless his talent and opportunities for hearing good music compensated largely for lack of early instruction. At the time of the French Revolution he left Paris with Rode, and they gave concerts at Hamburg with great success. In 1794 they returned to Paris, and next year Garat appeared in the Feydeau concerts, winning such a triumph that he was soon offered the professorship of singing in the newly established Conservatory, where his success as a teacher was attested by a large number of noted pupils. Up to his fiftieth year, he retained his fine voice, both tenor and barytone in compass, and especially remarkable for execution in coloratura singing. His memory also was prodigious.