B0210. ADOLPHE NOURRIT. The Great Tenor Tragedy - The Last Days of Adolphe Nourrit, as told (mostly) by Himself. Portland, OR, Amadeus, 1995. 179pp. Index; Illus.; DJ. Final copy! - 9780931340895
"Nourrit was the creator of Rossini's Arnold, Meyerbeer's Raoul and Halévy's Eléazar, and the undisputed star of the Paris Opéra for fifteen years at the dawn of romantic opera....Henry Pleasants has had the felicitous idea of presenting this poignant turning point in opera history through Nourrit's own letters, along with a few by his wife and other personal correspondents....this is an absorbing little volume."
- Conrad L. Osborne, OPERA NEWS, Jan., 1996
“Adolphe Nourrit (3 March 1802 – 8 March 1839) was a French operatic tenor, librettist, and composer. One of the most esteemed opera singers of the 1820s and 1830s, he was particularly associated with the works of Gioachino Rossini.
Nourrit was an intelligent and cultured singer. He possessed a mellow and powerful vocal timbre during his prime and was a master of the head voice. He sang during a turning-point in French operatic vocalism, when performers began using a rounder, more open-throated and italianate method of voice production than hitherto had been the case, with less resort to falsetto by tenors. Indeed, the scores of the musical passages written for Nourrit by Rossini, Meyerbeer and others contain orchestral markings which indicate that he could not have been singing in falsetto in his upper register. This was a departure from the practice of earlier male operatic interpreters.
As Nourrit's status at the Opéra increased, so did his influence upon new productions and his advice and collaboration were sought by composers. For example, he wrote the words of Eléazar's aria ‘Rachel, quand du Seigneur” and insisted that Meyerbeer rework the love-duet climax of Act 4 of LES HUGUENOTS until it met with his approval. Nourrit's fame faded in the late 1830s, however, as new singers gained the favour of the Parisian public. On 7 March 1839 he sang at a benefit concert but was disappointed by the quality of his performance and the audience's reaction to it. The following morning, he jumped to his death from the Hotel Barbaia. His body was returned to Paris for burial. Felix Mendelssohn was an admirer of Nourrit, and he noted the tenor's death with intense sorrow.”
- Ned Ludd