Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Feb 5, 2014

Laurent Swolfs (Tenor) (Gent 1868 - Gent 1954)

He studied singing in Antwerp and Brussels among other things with Désiré Demest. He began his career as a concert singer. Then he made his debut in 1901 at the Opera House of Antwerp as Max in ‘’Freischütz’’. In 1903 he was engaged by the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, where he had longer than twenty years a successful career. In 1907 he created for Brussels the role of Herodes in ‘’Salome’’ of R. Strauss. In the 1908-09 season he worked at the Opera House of Lyon. In 1908, by the instigation of the composer Felix von Weingartner, who heard him in Antwerp, he appeared at the Vienna Court Opera in the leading role in Felix von Weingartner’s opera ‘’Genesius’’. In Vienna he performed also in ‘’Lohengrin’’ and ‘’Samson et Dalila’’. In 1910 he had at Grand Opéra of Paris a huge success as Siegmund and as Samson in ‘’Samson et Dalila’’ of Saint-Saëns. In 1913 he appeared there as as Loge in "Rheingold". In 1911 he sang at the Opéra-Comique of Paris in the premiere of the opera ‘’Bérénice’’ of Albéric Magnard. He also made guest appearance at the Opera House of Nice. After the First World War he became a successor of Ernest van Dyck as a professor at the Brussels Conservatoire. From 1923-25 he was at the same time the artistic manager of the Opera House of Antwerp. After his retirement he lived in Ghent. At the end of his life he became blind. He had a powerfully controlled and metallically shining voice.

Chronology of some appearances

1901 Antwerp Opera House
1903 Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie
1908-1909 Lyon Opera House
1908 Vienna Court Opera
1910 Paris Grand Opéra


Pathé, Bruxelles 1906?
Bruid der Zee (Blockx): Arie 9459 50046
Aan u alleen (Hullebroek) 9460  50046

Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Pauvre Paillasse 1647

Gramophone, London 1920-08-20
Ik ken een lied (de Mol) 7-432052 Ho5810ae
Beminnen (J H Wood) 7-432053 Ho5811ae

Stancen (Flégier)  A 33077
Serenade (Gounod) A 33080

Les maîtres chanteurs de Nurenberg (Wagner): Couplets de Walther F 42138
Walkyrie  (Wagner): Plus d'hiver, déjà le printemps commence F 42139

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