Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Apr 9, 2016

José Beckmans (Baritone) (1897, 4/1, Liège - ?)



He was a nephew of the bass-baritone Guy Beckmans (1875-1956). He received his education in Brussels and Paris. To be able to pay for his education at the conservatoire of Lüttich, he appeared in Music sound and cabarets. In 1916 stage debut in Verviers as Escamillo in ‘’Carmen’’'. Later he sang with success at the Antwerpen Opera and then appeared in Nancy and Montpellier. In 1925 made his debut at the Opéra-Comique in Paris as Escamillo. He sang there the part of Balthasar in the première of ‘’Le Cloître’’ by  Lévy and the Simonson in Alfano’s ‘’Risurrezione’’ (1927). In 1935 he joined to the Grand Opéra in Paris and made his debut as Rigoletto. Since 1933 several times he made guest appearances at the Opéra Monte-Carlo. In 1934 he sang there in the French première of the opera ‘’Arabella’’ by Richard Strauss (as Mandryka). At Monte Carlo his repertoire included Kurwenal in ‘’Tristan and Isolde’’ (together with Frida Leider) as well as Golo in ‘’Pelléas et Mélisande’’ by Debussy, one of his star roles. In 1935 he performed at the Opéra de Nice in the premiere of the opera ‘’Quatre-Vingt-Treize’’ of Charles Silver. The same year he guested in London (Covent Garden, as Escamillo), Rome and Buenos Aires and undertook in 1939 a France and Belgium tour with own opera troupe (José Beckmans Compagne Lyrique Franc aise). By the end of his career and after his retirement, he was a successful opera director (Paris Opéra/ Opéra Royal de Wallonie). Married the Mezzo-soprano Suzanne Duman.

Chronology of some appearances

1916 Belgium Verviers Carmen (Escamilio)
1925 Paris Opera-Comique Carmen (Escamilio)
1927 Paris Opera-Comique Le Cloître (Balthasar)
1927 Paris Opera-Comique Risurrezione (Simonson)
1934 Opéra Monte-Carlo Arabella (Mandryka)
1935 Paris Grand Opera Rigoletto (Rigoletto)
1935 London Covent Garden Carmen (Escamilio)


Pathé, Paris 1929?
Carmen (Bizet): Air du toréador 7173

Polydor, Paris 1930
Muette de Portici (Auber): Amour sacré with Kaisin 566038 1863½BMP
La Damnation de Faust (Berlioz): Air des Roses 62695 F2138
La Damnation de Faust (Berlioz): Serenade 62695 F2139
Richard Coeur de Lion (Grétry): Grand Duo with Kaisin 566048
Pelleas & Melisande (Debussy): Scene du souterrain with Gaudin 566052
Tosca (Puccini): Vous permettez 566039

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