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Leon Escalais (Tenor) (Cuxac-d'Aude 1859 – Paris 1941)




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 Theatre du Chàteau (Paris) in 1882, in Sardanapale by Jean-Baptiste Duvernoy. Escalaís was offered a contract by the Paris Opera. His first appearance with the Paris Opera at the Palais Garnier occurred in 1883, as Arnold in Guillaume Tell. (Arnold would become one of his signature roles.). Two years later, he sang for the first time at the Thçàtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, and he made his debut at La Scala, Milan, in 1888. He left the Paris Opera in 1892 after a dispute with management and accepted engagements in Dijon, Lyon, Marseille and Italy. Among the taxing roles which he undertook were Eleazar 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, Escalais 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, Radames in Aida and the title part in Otello. Consequently, he was sometimes described as "the French Tamagno" (after Francesco Tamagno, the Italian heroic tenor). Escalaís rejoined the Paris Opera 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 Jose Luccioni, an outstanding dramatic tenor of the 1930s and '40s. Escalaís died in Paris during the Second World War.

Chronology of some appearances

1886 Paris Theatre de l'Opera (Palais Garnier) "La Juive" with Lucie D'Alvar (Rachel), Muratet (prince Leopold), Leon Laffitte (heraut) and d'Ervilly (princesse Eudoxie).
1890 Paris Theatre de l'Opera (Palais Garnier) "Zaire" with Emma Eames (Zaire), Dumenil (captive), Henri Jerome (Nerestan), Jean-Francois Delmas (Orosmane) and Ragneau (Hassan).
1908 Paris Theatre de l'Opera (Palais Garnier)  "Aida" with Agnes Borgo (Aida) Jeanne Passama (Amneris), Jean Note (Amonasro)  and Pierre d'Assy (Ramphis).
1910 Paris Theatre de l'Opera (Palais Garnier) "Aida" with Aurore Marcia (Aida), Jeanne Passama (Amneris), Jean Note (Amonasro) and Pierre d'Assy (Ramphis).
1910 Theatre de la Gaite-Lyrique Paris "La Juive" with Chambellan (princesse Eudoxie), Felia Litvinne (Rachel), Genicot (prince Leopold) and Barrau (Albert).



Africaine: O paradis Fonotipia 39426 Xph 491
Aida: Celeste Aida (in french) Fonotipia unpubl. Xph 465
Cid: O Souverain Fonotipia 39563 Xph 1720
Guillaume Tell:  Asile hereditaire Fonotipia 39427 Xph 489
Hosanna (Granier) Fonotipia 39431 Xph 384
Il Profeta:  Roi du ciel Fonotipia 39429 Xph 495
Il Trovatore: O toi mon seul espoir Fonotipia 39564 Xph 1725
Jerusalem:  Je veux encore entendre Fonotipia 39562 Xph 1719
La Juive:  Dieu m'claire Fonotipia 39379 Xph 468
La Juive: Dio m'ispira Fonotipia 39362 Xph 448
La Juive: Rachel quand du Seigneur Fonotipia 39428 Xph 466
La Juive: Rachele allor che iddio Fonotipia 39573 Xph 1658
Le Trouvere: Suplice infame Fonotipia 39577 Xph1721
Mage:  Ah parais Fonotipia 39393 Xph 442
Otello:  Dieu tu pouvais m'infliger Fonotipia 39578 Xph 1724
Otello: Dio!...Mi potevi scagliar Fonotipia 39326 Xph 385
Pastorale languedocienne (Rupes) Fonotipia 39546 Xph1674
Pierre l'Hermite (Granier) Scene pour tenor Fonotipia 39579 Xph1722
Polyeucte: Source delicieuse Fonotipia 39566  Xph 1729
Robert Le Diable: Sicilienne Fonotipia 39414 Xph 498
Samson et Dalila: Arretez, o mes freres Fonotipia 39371Xph 469
Stances (Flegier) Fonotipia 39392 Xph457
Gli Ugonotti: Settimino with G. Sala, A. Magini-Coletti, O. Luppi, F. Corradetti, A. Algos, G. Masotti Fonotipia 39370 Xph 473
Sigurd: Avec ces fleurs...Oublions les maux soufferts with Amelia Talexis Fonotipia 39525/26  Xph 1636/37
Guglielmo Tell: Troncar suoi di with Oreste Luppi and Antonio Magini-Coletti Fonotipia 39196 Xph 433




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