Léon ESCALAIS

Family tree of Léon ESCALAIS

Singer & Musician

FrenchBorn Léonce Antoine ESCALAIS

Gallic tenor

Born on August 08, 1859 in Cuxac-d'Aude, France , France

Died on August 25, 1940 in Cuxac-d'Aude, France

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Born Léonce-Antoine Escalaïs, he commenced his vocal studies as a young man at the Music Conservatory of Toulouse, where he won prizes for singing and opera performance. He continued his studies at the Paris Conservatory with two well-known teachers of the day, Crosti and Obin, prior to making his professional debut at the Théâtre du Château (Paris) in 1882, in Sardanapale by Jean-Baptiste Duvernoy.



Escalaïs was offered a contract by the Paris Opéra. His first appearance with the Paris Opéra at the Palais Garnier occurred in 1883, as Arnold in Guillaume Tell. (Arnold would become one of his signature roles.)

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Two years later, he sang for the first time at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, and he made his debut at La Scala, Milan, in 1888. He left the Paris Opéra in 1892 after a dispute with management and accepted engagements in Dijon, Lyon, Marseille and Italy. Among the taxing roles which he undertook were Eléazar in La Juive, Robert in Robert le diable, Raoul in Les Huguenots, Vasco in L'Africaine and the title parts in Le Cid and Sigurd.



Between 1892 and 1908, Escalaïs sang more often in Italy than he did in his native land. He added to his repertoire such Verdi roles as Manrico in Il trovatore, Radamès in Aida and the title part in Otello. Consequently, he was sometimes described as "the French Tamagno" (after Francesco Tamagno, the Italian heroic tenor).



Escalaïs rejoined the Paris Opéra in 1908. The following year, he sang as a guest artist at the New Orleans Opera House. These would be his only performances in the United States. He retired from the stage in 1912 while still in good voice and was appointed to the Legion of Honour by the French Government in 1927. In retirement, he gave private singing lessons. One of his students was José Luccioni, an outstanding dramatic tenor of the 1930s and '40s. Escalaïs died in Paris during the Second World War, aged 82.



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Geographical origins

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