A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Capoul, Joseph

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CAPOUL, Joseph Victor Amédée, born Feb. 27, 1839, at Toulouse, entered the Paris Conservatoire in '59, studied singing there under Révial, and comic opera under Mocker, and in '61 gained the first prize in the latter class. On Aug. 26 of the last-named year he made his début at the Opéra Comique as Daniel in 'Le Châlet' (Adam), and next played Tonio in 'La Fille du Régiment.' He became a great favourite there, being good-looking, with a pleasant tenor voice, somewhat spoiled by the 'vibrato'; he was a good actor in both serious and light parts, and was considered by the Parisians as the successor to Roger, though never the equal of that famous artist. He remained at that theatre until '70. Among his best parts may be mentioned Georges Brown ('La Dame Blanche'), Mergy ('Pré aux Clercs'), Raphael D'Estuniga ('La Part du Diable'), Fra Diavolo, etc., and of those he created, Eustache in 'Les Absents' (Poise), Oct. 26, '64; Horace in 'La Colombe' (Gounod), June 7, '66; the tenor part in 'La Grande Tante' (Massenet), April 3, '67; Gaston de Maillepré in 'Le Premier Jour de Bonheur' (Auber), Feb. 15, '68; the title-part in 'Vert-Vert' (Offenbach), March 10, '69. In '72–'73 he sang in Italian opera in Paris (Salle Ventadour), in '76 at the Théâtre Lyrique and Gaïté, where on Nov. 15 he played the hero on the successful production of Massés 'Paul et Virginie,' and in '78 he returned to the Salle Ventadour, where he played Romeo on the production, Oct. 12, of 'Les Amants de Verone' (Marquis D'Ivry).

On June 1, 1871, M. Capoul first appeared in England at the Italian Opera, Drury Lane, as Faust, and sang there with success, and also during the season as Elvino and the Duke in 'Rigoletto.' He appeared at the same theatre every season until '75, with the exception of '74, in several characters, being especially good as Lionel ('Martha'), Wilhelm Meister ('Mignon'), and Faust. From '77 to '79 he appeared at Covent Garden with tolerable success, in spite of great exaggeration and mannerism both in singing and acting, and played for the first time Fra Diavolo, his original characters in the above operas of Massé and D'Ivry, June 1, '78, and May 24, '79, and Camoens on the production of Flotow's 'Alma l'Incantatrice,' July 9, '78. He has also sung in Italian opera in Vienna, and in America with Nilsson, where he has also been '79–'80 as principal tenor of the French Opera Bouffe company. On Dec. 18, '81, he played at the Renaissance on the production of 'Le Saïs' (Mme. Marguérite Olagnier), and on June 8, '87, took part in the concert given at the Trocadéro for the benefit of the sufferers in the Opéra Comique fire.

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