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Alain Vanzo

Vanzo, whose father was Mexican and his mother French, sang in a church choir as a child and at eighteen formed his own band, La Bastringue, with which he sang popular songs in local music- and dance-halls. He then studied singing in Aix-les-Bains and with Rolande Darcoeur in Paris; and while a music student, during the 1951–1952 season understudied the popular Spanish tenor Luis Mariano in the operetta Le Chanteur de Mexico at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris. His breakthrough came in 1954 when he won first prize in a singing competition for tenors held at Cannes. He was immediately invited to sing small roles in Paris at both the Opéra-Comique and the Opera, where in 1955 he took part in the first performance of Henri Barraud’s opera Numance.

By 1956 Vanzo was singing principal roles, such as the Duke / Rigoletto at the Opera and Gerald / Lakmé at the Opéra-Comique. His career developed rapidly in both these theatres and in the French provinces; parts included, in the French repertoire, the title roles in Gounod’s Faust and Werther, Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon, Nadir / Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Roméo / Roméo et Juliette and Vincent / Mireille; in the Italian repertoire he sang Alfredo / La traviata, Rodolfo / La Bohème and Edgardo / Lucia di Lammermoor, which he performed opposite Maria Callas in 1957.




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