Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Jul 20, 2013

José de Trévi (Tenor) (Luttich, Belgium 1880 - Brussels, Belgium 1958)

Don Jose

                                                       Rodolfo in ''Boheme''

His real name was name Joseph Willemsen. After his study in Brussels he appeared already since 1912 in Belgium as an operetta singer. In 1919 he made his debut at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. In 1922 he sang at the Théâtre Trianon Lyrique, Paris in ‘’Pêcheurs de perles’’ ‘’La Bohème’’ and in ‘’Il Matrimonio Segreto’’ of Cimarosa. Later his artistic activities divided between the Grand Opéra, Paris, where he made his debut in 1930 in ‘’Siegfried’’ and at the opera house of Brussels. In 1930 in Amsterdam he sang the role of Pylades in ‘’Iphigénie en Tauride’’; he sang the same part also at the Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels. During the 1930’s his voice changed to the heroic tenor. after additional study under Pintorno, he started to appear in ‘’Damnation de Faust’’, ‘’Die Walkure’’, ‘’Carmen’’ and in the opera ‘’Marouf’’ of Rabaud. At the Grand Opéra, Paris he sang in the premieres of the operas ‘’Maximilien’’ of Darius Milhand (5.1.1932), ‘’Oedipe’’ of G. Enesco (10.3.1936) and ‘’La Samaritaine’’ of Max d'Olonne (23. 6. 1937) as well as in 1942 the title part in the opera ‘’Palestrina’’of Hans Pfitzner, in the opera of Nice in 1935 he sang in the premiere of  ‘’Quatre-Vingt-Treize’’ of Charles Silver. He guested in 1937 at the Vienna State Opera. He lived later in Brussels.

Chronology of some appearances

- Les Cloches de Corneville - La Fille de Madame Angot - Il Barbiere di Siviglia - Die Meistersinger (Walther)-Brussels, Th. des Galeries, 1917/8 - 1914 (The Sergeant) -Brussels, Th. des Galeries, 1917/8 - La Fille du Rռgiment-Brussels, Th. des Galeries, 1917/8 - Louise (Noctambule) -Brussels, Th. des Galeries, 1917/8 - Siegfried-Paris, Opռra, 20 December 1930 - Tristan and Isolde - Die Meistersinger - Die Gotterdammerung - Otello - Herodiade - Samson et Dalila - Marouf - Salammbo - Penelope - Salome - Monna Vanna - Lakme - Rolande - Boris Godunov (Shuisky) - Iphigenie en Tauride - La Damnation de Faust - Les Troyens - La Traviata - La Tour de Feu - Werther - La Duchesse de Padoue - Maximilien - Un Jardin sur l'Orente - Perkain - Oedipe - La Samaritaine - Medee - Palestrina-Paris, Opռra, 1942.


HMV, Paris 1928-06-14
Werther (Massenet): Pourquoi me reveiller P 767 4-32810

HMV, Paris 1928-10-08
Marouf (Rabaud): Savetier du Caire P 782

HMV, Paris 1928-10-26
Carmen (Bizet): Si tu m'aimes, Carmen... C'est toi? with Perelli, Lebard, Fenoyer & Musy  L710 (0234039
Carmen (Bizet): Non! Tu ne m'aimes pas L703 0234025

HMV, Paris 1930-03-21
Tannhauser (Wagner): Reine d’amour P 851 BF 3085
Tannhäuser (Wagner): Le chant du Concours W1088 CF 3083
Tannhäuser (Wagner): Rom-Erzählung W1088  CF 3082

HMV, Paris 1930
La Damnation de Faust: Nature  immense  52-904
La Damnation de Faust: Duo 2 with C. Panzera 52-893

HMV, Paris 1930
La course a l'abime 52-905

Pathe, Paris 1932
Juive (Halevy): Dieu m' claire X90044 N250245
Juive (Halevy): Rachel, quand du Seigneur X90044 N250246


  1. Dear Ashot,

    I came across your website in my search for biographical information about José de Trévi. I recently came into possession of several of his letters, and am trying to piece together his life outside of the opera. Do you happen to know anything about him, or anyone to whom I can speak? Any information would be great! Thank you!


    1. Dear Mary what I know about him, you can speak here, in my site. No, I don't know a person who can help you.
      All the best