David Devriès

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David Devriès (born February 14, 1881 in Bagnères-de-Luchon, France, died July 17, 1936 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France) was a French operatic lyric tenor noted for his light, heady tone, and polished phrasing.[1][2] He represents a light style of French operatic singing that was popular in the 19th century.

He was born into a family of professional singers that included soprano Rosa de Vries-van Os (1828–1889) and baritones Hermann Devriès (1858–1949) and his father Maurice Devriès (1854–1919). He studied at the Conservatoire de Paris and débuted in the role of Gérald in Delibes's Lakmé at the Opéra-Comique, where he regularly performed throughout his career.[3] His repertoire included Almaviva, Don José, Toinet in Le chemineau, Clément in La Basoche, Armand in Massenet's Thérèse, Alfredo, Jean in Sapho, Rabaud's Mârouf, Vincent in Mireille, Wilhelm in Mignon, Pedro in Laparra's La habanera, Des Grieux, Werther, Julien, Pinkerton and Cavaradossi as well as principal roles in many forgotten works.[4] He created roles in the operas Aphrodite (Philodème), Les Armaillis (Hansli), Circé (Helpénor), Le roi aveugle (Ymer) and La Victoire (un Brigadier), at the Opéra-Comique.[5]

He performed alongside Mary Garden, Luisa Tetrazzini and Dame Nellie Melba.[citation needed] He also gave the world premiere of Boulanger's song cycle 'Clairières dans le Ciel', which Boulanger claimed was inspired by his voice.[citation needed]

In 1909-10 Devriès took part in the final season of Oscar Hammerstein I's Manhattan Opera Company, singing a range of French opera, including Pelléas et Mélisande, which he also performed in 1910 at Covent Garden.[6] He created the role of Paco in Manuel de Falla's La vie breve. He was also a very active singer in oratorio, in works ranging from J. S. Bach's St Matthew Passion to Berlioz' The Damnation of Faust.[7]

At the Paris Concerts du Conservatoire Devriès sang in the B Minor Mass of J. S. Bach (1908, 1926 and 1931), the St John Passion of J. S. Bach (1914), in Beethoven's Choral Symphony (1926, and at the Beethoven centenary concert in 1927) and the 2nd part of L'enfance du Christ by Berlioz (1931).[8]

His son Ivan (born Daniel) Devriès (1909–97), great grandson of Théophile Gautier and Ernesta Grisi, was a composer and musician.[9]


  1. ^ Albright, William, Georges Thill: Roi des Ténors Français (1990). The Opera Quarterly, 7 (3): pp. 164-165.
  2. ^ Crutchfield, Will (1988-06-12), "Lending an Ear To the Strains Of Bel Canto", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-04-11 
  3. ^ Elizabeth Forbes. "Devriès" In The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, edited by Stanley Sadie. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, (accessed October 18, 2010).
  4. ^ M. Scott, The Record of Singing II (Duckworth, London 1979), 35.
  5. ^ Wolff S. Un demi-siecle d'Opéra-Comique. André Bonne, Paris, 1953.
  6. ^ Elizabeth Forbes. "Devriès" In The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, edited by Stanley Sadie. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online (accessed October 18, 2010)
  7. ^ Scott 1979, 35-36.
  8. ^ Kern Holoman D. Société des Concerts du Conservatoire. Accessed 2.12.11.
  9. ^ Larousse, Daniel, dit Ivan Devriès

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