French-Canadian bass Joseph Rouleau died on Friday in Montreal. He was 90 years old. Born in Matane, Québec, he studied privately with Édouard Woolley and Albert Cornellier in Montreal, and at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal with Martial Singher. He went to Milan, Italy, for complementary studies with Mario Basiola and Antonio Narducci. He sang small roles with the Opéra national du Québec, but his real debut was as Colline in La Bohème, in New Orleans Opera, in 1955.

Later he appeared on the world’s greatest operatic stages, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Metropolitan Opera … with singers such as Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, and Maria Callas, and worked with such prestigious directors as Luchino Visconti, Franco Zeffirelli, and Patrice Chéreau, singing a wide range of roles, notably Titurel in Parsifal, and the lead in Boris Godunov. He also won considerable acclaim as Don Quichotte, and Mephistofeles in Faust and Count Rodolfo in Bellini’s La Sonnambula. In 1976, he participated for the BBC, in a performance of the complete French version of Don Carlos, singing Philippe II.

He made several recordings alongside Joan Sutherland, and the catalogues offer also some recitals.

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