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Edmond Clement (1867 - 1928)

As children, Edmond Clément and his brother Georges (later a distinguished throat specialist) were choirboys in Chartres Cathedral. Edmond later studied to become a civil engineer but abandoned these plans when he was twenty: instead he entered the Paris Conservatoire as a pupil of the Belgian tenor Victor Warot. After two years’ study he won a first prize for singing and shortly afterwards made his operatic stage début as Vincent in Gounod’s Mireille at the Paris Opéra-Comique. Here Clément was to be the principal lyric tenor for more than twenty years, with an unassailable reputation for stylish, elegant and unforced singing, supported by a superlative technique. Highlights of his career at the Opéra-Comique included participation in many first performances, including those of Saint-Saëns’s Phryné (1893), Bruneau’s L’Attaque du Moulin (1893) and Erlanger’s Le Juif polonais (1900); singing in the first French performances of Falstaff (Fenton, in 1894, in the presence of the composer), Paris in Saint-Saëns’s Hélène (1905) and Pinkerton/Madama Butterfly (1906). Clément also took the rôle of Don José in the 1,000th Opéra-Comique performance of Carmen (1904) and of des Grieux in the 500th Opéra-Comique performance of Manon (1905).




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