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Berlioz on MusicSelected Criticism 1824-1837$
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Katherine Kolb

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199391950

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391950.001.0001

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William Tell; Debut of Duprez

(p.263) 43 Opéra
Berlioz on Music

Katherine Kolb

Oxford University Press

This article relates the epoch-making debut of the tenor Duprez, the first to sing his high notes from the chest rather than in the traditional falsetto, thus inaugurating the modern heroic tenor voice. First, however, Berlioz pays tribute to the departing, much-loved Nourrit. Turning to Duprez, he evokes the singer’s schooling by Choron, then his long struggles with his voice before it blossomed, in Italy, into the organ that has just dazzled at the Opéra. More than a great singer, Duprez has proved himself an artist of the first rank, drawing new emotional power from William Tell—and from Berlioz’s pen in describing that work. That the success of this debut matched that of the Finale of Beethoven’s Fifth at the Conservatoire in 1828, according to Berlioz, says it all: his praise could go no further.

Keywords:   Rossini William Tell, Duprez, Nourrit, Choron, heroic tenor, tenor voice, audience behavior

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