Jean de Reszke

Jean de Reszke

Birth
Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland
Death 3 Apr 1925 (aged 75)
Nice, Departement des Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Memorial ID 66875755 · View Source
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Opera Singer. A dramatic tenor, he was considered perhaps the preeminent male operatic artist of the late 19th Century. Born to a family of wealth and high position, he learned to sing in local churches as a young child but was originally to train as an attorney. Abandoning the law, he went to Milan for vocal study, initially as a baritone, and made his January 1874 Venice operatic bow, billed as Giovanni de Reschi, as Alfonso XI from Donizetti's "La Favorita". After appearances in Paris and at London's Drury Lane as, among other characters, Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and Figaro in Rossini's "The Barber of Seville", de Reszke realized that his voice probably was not suited to the baritone range and took further voice training in Paris; his 'second debut' at Madrid in 1879 as the title lead of Giacomo Meyerbeer's "Robert the Devil" was a flop leading to several years of inactivity before the primary phase of his career began in 1884. Thru the late 1880s he was heard at London, Paris, and elsewhere as Vasco da Gama from Meyerbeer's "L'Africaine", Radames in Verdi's "Aida", the title leads of Charles Gounod's "Faust" and "Romeo and Juliette", and Wagner's "Lohengrin", as well as several other roles. Over the years de Reszke was to add new parts to his repertoire including Don Jose from Bizet's "Carmen", Walther von Stolzing in Wagner's "Die Meistersinger" and the title lead of the same composer's "Tristan und Isolde". He was first heard at Covent Garden in 1888 and and made his American bow at Chicago as Lohengrin in 1891. De Reszke sang Rodrigue in the 1885 Paris world premiere of Jules Massenet's "Le Cid" and in 1891 first assumed the role of Giuseppe Verdi's "Otello"; while critics praised his portrayal of the Moor, most felt that he was outclassed, if only in that one part, by his rival Francesco Tamagno. He made his debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1893 as Romeo and was to headline there every season until 1899, then gradually reduced his schedule prior to retiring in 1904. In later years he ran a respected school where his final student was to be the legendary Brazilian soprano Bidu Sayao and died of influenza at his estate. De Reszke's brother Edouard and to a lesser extent his sister Josephine also had operatic careers. In 1905 he cut two sides for Fonotipia but, unsatisfied with the result, destroyed the masters; he can be heard, albeit dimly, on some of Lionel Mapleson's cylinders from the Metropolitan.

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 13 Mar 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 66875755
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jean de Reszke (14 Jan 1850–3 Apr 1925), Find a Grave Memorial no. 66875755, citing Cimetière de Montparnasse, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .