Jean de Reszke

Jean de ReszkePronounced (Resh’-kay).

Jean de Reszke was born as Warsaw, Poland, January 14, 1850.

He studied with Ciaffei, Cotogni and Sbriglia.

He made his first operatic appearance in Venice, 1874, and sang in London, 1875.

He was then supposed to be a baritone and as such made a reputation for himself not only in London, but also in Paris and Italy.

He first appeared as a tenor in Madrid, 1879, and was first tenor at the Paris Opera, 1884-1889.

He appeared in the first productions of many famous operas, including Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette, and Massenet’s operas, Le Cid and Herodiade.

He made his debut at Covent Garden, in 1888, and appeared there every year until 1900, his parts including:

  • John of Leyden
  • The Duke in Un Ballo
  • Don Jose
  • Phoebus
  • In Goring Thomas’s Esmeralda
  • Lancelot in Bemberg’s Elaine
  • Werther in Massenet’s opera

He became especially famous, however, as a singer in Wagner’s operas, and in parts such as:

  • Walther
  • Siegfired
  • Tristan

In these he was unrivaled.

He made his New York debut in 1895, and though he was something of a failure at first, he soon established himself as the world’s leading tenor.

The most remarkable thing about De Reszke perhaps was his method of singing the heavy Wagner roles in which he admirably interpreted the dramatic side, without sacrificing vocal purity.

He suffered a severe illness in 1904, and since that has been engaged teaching in Paris.

He died April 3, 1925 in Nice, France.