Nourrit, Adolphe

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Nourrit, Adolphe

Nourrit, Adolphe, celebrated French tenor, son of Louis Nourrit; b. Montpellier, March 3, 1802; d. (suicide) Naples, March 8, 1839. He studied voice with the elder Manuel García. At the age of 19, he made his debut as Pylaides in duck’s Iphigénie en Tauride at the Paris Opéra (Sept. 10, 1821), with excellent success. He soon became known in Paris as one of the finest tenors of his generation, and famous opera composers entrusted him with leading roles at the premieres of their works; thus, he appeared in the title role of Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable (Paris, Nov. 21, 1831) and as Raoul in Les Huguenots (Paris, Feb. 29, 1836); in the title role in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory (Paris, Aug. 20, 1828) and as Arnold in his Guillaume Tell (Paris, Aug. 3, 1829); as Masaniello in Auber’s La Muette de Portici (Paris, Feb. 29, 1828); as Eléazar in Halévy’s La Juive (Paris, Feb. 23, 1835); and others. He then traveled in Italy in Dec. 1837, and was particularly successful in Naples. His career seemed to be assured, but despite all these successes, vocal problems and a liver ailment led to depression, and he killed himself by jumping from the roof of his lodging in Naples.


M. Quicherat, A. N.: Sa vie (3 vols., Paris, 1867); E. Boutet de Monvel, Un Artiste d’autrefois, A. N.(2 vols., Paris, 1903); H. Pleasants, ed. and annotator, The Great Tenor Tragedy: The Last Days of A. N. as Told (Mostly) by Himself (Portland, Ore., 1995).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire