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Lettre d’André Gresse, à Monsieur et cher maître, Assières

He was a son of the bass Léon Gresse, who was active at the Paris Grand Opéra. André Gresse wanted to become originally a painter and visited the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, but since 1893 he studied singing at the Paris Conservatory under Taskin, Melchissèdec and Duvernoy. He made his debut in 1896 at the Opéra-Comique in Paris as Commendatore in ‘’Don Giovanni’’, while Victor Maurel sang the title role. At the Opéra-Comique he appeared among other things as Gaveston in ‘’La Dame blanche’’ of Boieldieu and as Samba-Hamet in ‘’Le Spahi’’ of Lucien Lambert. When his father finished in 1900 his stage career at the Grand Opéra, he became his successor; here as a beginning role he took over the Saint Bris in ‘’Huguenots’’ by Meyerbeer. Till 1930 he belonged to the most prominent singers of this opera house. On 10. 2. 1910 he created at the Opera House in Monte Carlo in the premiere of Massenet’s ‘’Don Quichotte’’ the role of Sancho Panza, while Fedor Schaljapin appeared as Don Quichotte. He also sang in the premieres of the operas ‘’Sapho’’ of Massenet (Opéra-Comique, 27. 11. 1897 as Césaire), ‘’Le Juif Polonais’’ by Camille Erlanger (Opéra-Comique, 11. 4. 1900), ‘’Bacchus’’ of Massenet (Grand Opéra, 2. 5. 1909), ‘’Le Miracle’’ by Georges Húe (30. 12. 1910 Grand Opéra) and ‘’Scémo’’ of Alfred Bachelet (6. 5. 1914 Grand Opéra). He sang at the Grand Opéra in the premières of several Wagner's operas and, besides, sang the parts of the Fasolt (‘’Rheingold’’, 1909), Titurel (‘’Parsifal’’, 1914) and Marke (‘’Tristan’’, 1904, after the French première at the Nouveau Théâtre in Paris, 1899). Approximately thirty years he was the famous Mephisto of the Grand Opéra in Gounod’s ‘’Faust’’. In 1930 he retired from the stage. He worked as a professor at the Paris Conservatory. One of his numerous pupils was the baritone Martial Singher.
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