François Le Roux
François Le Roux is renowned throughout the world for performances that range from baroque through contemporary music, from French art song to the major roles of the operatic stage. Since his debut with Lyon Opera, he has been a guest with all the major European opera houses and symphony orchestras as well as festivals throughout the world.
In the realm of opera, he was renowned as “the greatest Pelléas of his generation in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande.” He performed Pelléas more than a hundred times on the foremost opera stages of the world and recorded it for Deutsche Grammophon under Claudio Abbado. As his voice deepened, he changed to the role of Golaud in this same opera, which he has been performing to great acclaim in such places as Paris, Bordeaux, and at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. He sang Golaud for the centenary of the opera’s premiere at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 2002, and more recently in Paris, Vichy, Rouen, Milan (La Scala) and Toulon. In 2007 he sang Golaud in the first-ever staged production of Pelléas et Mélisande in Moscow, conducted by Marc Minkowski, directed by Olivier Py. This became the subject of a film by Philippe Béziat: “Pelléas et Mélisande, Le chant des aveugles,” released on DVD in 2011.
He has sung regularly at Paris Opera where he made his debut as Valentin in Gounod's Faust in 1988. His portrayal of the title role of Don Giovanni enjoyed a real triumph and brought him the French critics' “Prix de la Révélation de l'année.” Another signature role, he has sung Don Giovanni in Zurich under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, in England and in Spain. He is renowned for his portrayals of all of Mozart’s leading baritone roles, as well as certain roles in Italian opera (Dandini, Malatesta, Marcello), and baroque opera (the title roles of Monteverdi’s Orfeo and Ulisse, Campra's Tancrède, and Pollux in Rameau's Castor et Pollux, performed at the Aix en Provence Festival. He is equally at home in contemporary opera; the title role of Henze's Der Prinz von Homburg which he sang in Munich conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch; the world premieres of Birtwistle's Gawain at Covent Garden, Von Bose's Die Leiden des jungen Werthers at the Schwetzingen Festival, David Lang's Modern Painters at Santa Fe Opera and Thilloy’s Jour des Meurtres in Metz.
Recent seasons have brought Orpheus in the Underworld with Lausanne Opera, Don Gomez in Debussy's Rodrigue et Chimène in St Petersburg’s Philharmony Hall and Golaud in Helsinki's Opera’s new production of Pelléas et Mélisande. As well as leading roles at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and Grenoble, Opera du Rhin in Strasbourg, Opera de Toulon, De Nederlandse Opera (The Love of Three Oranges), Paris Opera, and La Scala in Milan and engagements with the Houston Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, and Vienna’s Musikverein; recital engagements at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Vancouver, Tokyo, Paris, Mexico City, Santiago de Compostella (Spain), Wilhelmshafen (Germany), and Wroclaw (Poland). Mr. Le Roux sang the Clock and the Tomcat in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortileges with the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle and at Teatro San Carlo in Naples, conducted by Jeffrey Tate. He sang Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde in Paris, at the ‘Musée d’Orsay’, Dvorak’s Biblical Songs in Besançon, conducted by Peter Csaba. In 2014 he appears with New Orleans Opera in Massenet’s Cendrillon.
François Le Roux has performed with major symphony orchestras throughout the world and is in particular demand internationally for recitals and masterclasses on the interpretation of French Song. From 1997-2002 he was artistic director of the French Song Concert Season of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris. He is Artistic Director of the Académie Francis Poulenc in Tours, dedicated to the interpretation of French Song. He received the distinguished honor of “Chevalier” in the French National Order of “Les Arts et Lettres” in 1996, and was chosen as “Musical Personality of 1997” by the French Critics Union.
Mr. Le Roux has numerous operatic CDs and DVDs on EMI, Erato, and BMG-RCA. He has several recordings of French Song on EMI, REM (the complete songs of Duparc and Fauré), HYPERION (Saint-Saëns songs, Séverac Songs, & Louis Durey Songs with Graham Johnson), and DECCA-Universal, all enthusiastically received, earning him the reputation as the successor to Gérard Souzay'. He received the Charles Cros Academy Award 1999 for his BMG-RCA world-premiere recording of Albert Roussel’s orchestrated Songs, with Jacques Mercier and the Orchestre National d’Ile de France. A DVD of Offenbach’s La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein on Virgin Classics, conducted by Marc Minkowski, won the “Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros 2005” and “Diapason d'or 2005.” His most recent recordings include the Complete Songs of Edouard Lalo on Passavant, music of Henri Dutilleux with the Orchestre National De Bordeaux under Hans Graf on Sony Classics and Ravel’s L'Enfant et les Sortileges with the Berlin Philharmonic on EMI.
François Le Roux began his vocal studies with François Loup at the age of 19, and continued under Vera Rosza and Elisabeth Grümmer at the Opéra Studio, Paris. He was a winner of the Barcelona (Maria Canals) and Rio de Janeiro competitions. His first book on the interpretation of French Song - “Le Chant Intime,” co-authored with Romain Raynaldy, published by Fayard - received the 2004 René Dumesnil Award by the French National Académie des Beaux Arts. Since 2006, he has been teaching at the Académie Maurice Ravel in Saint Jean-de-Luz, and at the Orford Arts Center in Québec, two positions first held by Pierre Bernac.