Faure, Jean Baptiste


Dramatic barytone and composer, the son of a singer at the Church of Moulins, his native city. Jean entered the solfeggio class at the Conservatory at the age of thirteen, and later studied piano and doublebass, becoming a member of the band at the Odeon for a time. He was also choirboy at the Church of St. Nicholas des Champs, and at the Madeleine, where he was a pupil of Trevaux. He next joined the chorus at the Theatre Italien, and in 1850 again entered the Paris Conservatory, where he gained two years later first prizes for singing and for opera comique. His first appearance as a vocalist was at the Opera Comique, Paris. He received unstinted praise for his impersonation of the part of Mefistofeles in Gounod's Faust and his successes previously at the Opera Comique. Faure created the role of Mefistofeles, but he won his greatest triumphs in the roles of Hoel in Dinorah, William Tell in the opera of that name, Nevers in Les Huguenots, as Don Giovanni and as Hamlet. He was also successful in the part of Neluske in L'Africaine, for which he was chosen by Meyerbeer, the composer, himself, and won honors in the part of the Marquis de Posa in Verdi's Don Carlos. His voice was of great compass, but not especially brilliant in quality. He was a good all-around actor and natural musician and owed much to his natural gifts as a comedian.

Faure was heard in America, Italy, Russia and England as well as in his native country, meeting with success wherever he appeared. He retired from the operatic field in 1876 and appeared after that chiefly in concert. In 1878 he was appointed by the Emperor of Austria, imperial chambersinger, but shortly afterward went into retirement. He was for a time a professor of singing at the Paris Conservatory.  He has published some good music, including two books of songs that are said to be very beautiful. Among his works are twentyfive melodies for the voice, also piano, church and instrumental music. Faure also wrote a text-book, entitled L'Art du chant.