Life and career
That same year, he made his debut at the Opéra de Paris, in Les fêtes grecques et romaines, by François Colin de Blamont. He thereafter created several roles in opera by Jean-Philippe Rameau, such as; Hippolyte et Aricie, Les Indes galantes, Dardanus, and Zoroastre, as well as in opera by Jean-Baptiste Lully, André Campra, and André Cardinal Destouches. In all he sang some 150 roles, sometimes dressed as a woman .
In 1755, he retired from the Opéra, singing in Castor et Pollux, but continued singing at court until 1765. He then joined the "Orchestre du Roi" (the King's Orchestra) as a violinist and guitarist, and later joined the private orchestra of Madame de Pompadour as a cellist, and wrote a few "comédies-ballets", notably Zeliska. He died, aged 84, in Oloron.
Widely regarded as the "greatest singer of Europe" in his time, his voice type was then known as haute-contre, his voice was by all account powerful, and in some ways prefigured a new vocal type closer to the tenor as we know it today, opening the doors to a new style of singing, as Adolphe Nourrit and Gilbert Duprez would soon demonstrate.
- Le guide de l'opéra, les indispensables de la musique, R. Mancini & J-J. Rouvereux, (Fayard, 1986), ISBN 2-213-01563-5