Life and career
Bourdin studied at the Paris Conservatory, where he was a pupil of André Gresse and Jacques Isnardon. He made his professional debut at the Opéra-Comique in 1922, as Lescaut in Manon. His debut at the Palais Garnier took place in 1942, in Henri Rabaud's Mârouf, savetier du Caire. The major part of his career was to be spent between these two theatres, where he created some 30 roles.
Bourdin seldom performed outside France, but did a few guest appearances at the Royal Opera House in London, La Scala in Milan, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. He also sang in the first performance of surviving fragments of Chabrier's Vaucochard et fils Ier on 22 April 1941 at the Salle du Conservatoire with Germaine Cernay, conducted by Roger Désormière.
His most memorable roles were: Clavaroche in André Messager's Fortunio, Metternich in Arthur Honegger and Jacques Ibert's L'Aiglon, Duparquet in Reynaldo Hahn's Ciboulette, Lheureux in Emmanuel Bondeville's Madame Bovary, the lead in Darius Milhaud's Bolivar, but also standard roles such as Valentin, Athanael, Onegin, and Sharpless. In all he sang an estimated 100 roles throughout his long career.
Bourdin was also active in operetta, and as a recitalist. After retiring from the stage in 1959, he became a teacher at the Paris Conservatory.
He can be heard in two complete recordings, Faust and Thais, opposite his wife soprano Géori Boué, as well as Werther and L'heure espagnole. He also appeared in the film of Messager's operetta Coups de roulis and Le Barbier de Séville.
- Serenade (1940)
- Alain Pâris, Dictionnaire des interprètes et de l'interpretation musicale au XX siècle (2 vols), Ed. Robert Laffont (Bouquins, Paris 1982, 4th Edn. 1995, 5th Edn 2004). ISBN 2-221-06660-X
- Roland Mancini and Jean-Jacques Rouveroux, (orig. H. Rosenthal and J. Warrack, French edition), Guide de l’opéra, Les indispensables de la musique (Fayard, 1995). ISBN 2-213-59567-4