Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Sep 14, 2014

André Gresse (Bass) (Lyon, France 1868 - Paris, France 1937)

He was a son of the bass Léon Gresse, who was active at the Paris Grand Opéra. André Gresse wanted to become originally a painter and visited the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, but since 1893 he studied singing at the Paris Conservatory under Taskin, Melchissèdec and Duvernoy. He made his debut in 1896 at the Opéra-Comique in Paris as Commendatore in ‘’Don Giovanni’’, while Victor Maurel sang the title role. At the Opéra-Comique he appeared among other things as Gaveston in ‘’La Dame blanche’’ of Boieldieu and as Samba-Hamet in ‘’Le Spahi’’ of Lucien Lambert. When his father finished in 1900 his stage career at the Grand Opéra, he became his successor; here as a beginning role he took over the Saint Bris in ‘’Huguenots’’ by Meyerbeer. Till 1930 he belonged to the most prominent singers of this opera house. On 10. 2. 1910 he created at the Opera House in Monte Carlo in the premiere of Massenet’s ‘’Don Quichotte’’ the role of Sancho Panza, while Fedor Schaljapin appeared as Don Quichotte. He also sang in the premieres of the operas ‘’Sapho’’ of Massenet (Opéra-Comique, 27. 11. 1897 as Césaire), ‘’Le Juif Polonais’’ by Camille Erlanger (Opéra-Comique, 11. 4. 1900), ‘’Bacchus’’ of Massenet (Grand Opéra, 2. 5. 1909), ‘’Le Miracle’’ by Georges Húe (30. 12. 1910 Grand Opéra) and ‘’Scémo’’ of Alfred Bachelet (6. 5. 1914 Grand Opéra). He sang at the Grand Opéra in the premières of several Wagner's operas and, besides, sang the parts of the Fasolt (‘’Rheingold’’, 1909), Titurel (‘’Parsifal’’, 1914) and Marke (‘’Tristan’’, 1904, after the French première at the Nouveau Théâtre in Paris, 1899). Approximately thirty years he was the famous Mephisto of the Grand Opéra in Gounod’s ‘’Faust’’. In 1930 he retired from the stage. He worked as a professor at the Paris Conservatory. One of his numerous pupils was the baritone Martial Singher.

Chronology of some appearances

1896 Paris Opéra-Comique Don Giovanni (Commendatore)
1897 Paris Opéra-Comique Sapho (Césaire)
1900 Paris Grand Opéra Huguenots (Saint Bris)
1900 Paris Opéra-Comique Le Juif Polonais (-)
1909 Paris Grand Opéra Bacchus (-)
1910 Monte Carlo Opera House Don Quichotte (Sancho Panza)
1910 Paris Grand Opéra Le Miracle (-)
1914 Paris Grand Opéra Scémo (-)


Pathé, cylinders & discs, Paris 1902/1903
Faust (Gounod): Entrée de Méphisto, pt 1 with Albert Vaguet 3758
Faust (Gounod): Entrée de Méphisto pt 2 with Albert Vaguet 3759

Pathé cylinders & discs, Paris 1904?
Songe d'une nuit d'été (Thomas): Allons, que tout s'apprête 0508
Saisons (Massé): Chanson du blé 0503

G&T, Paris 1902-12
Huguenots (Meyerbeer): Bénédiction des poignards 2-32631 1299F

G&T, Paris 1903
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini): Air de la calomnie 2-32695 1489F

G&T, Paris 1905
Faust (Gounod): Sérénade 3-32472 4693o
Faust (Gounod): Le veau d'or with chorus 34669 4445o

Zonophone, Paris 1905
Faust (Gounod): Sérénade X-82515
Faust (Gounod): Évocation X-82493

Pathé, Paris 1912?
Complete Faust (Gounod): with Beyle, Campredon, Noté, d'Elty and Goulancourt 

Gramophone, Paris 1912-11-26
Huguenots (Meyerbeer): Dans la nuit tout seul with Marie Lafargue 034183 02591v
Huguenots (Meyerbeer): Je courais t'avertir with Marie Lafargue  034184 02592v

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