Obituary: English National Opera Tenor Emile Belcourt Dies At 91

Tenor Emile Belcourt has died after a brief illness.

The tenor, born in Laflèche, Saskatchewan passed away on August 3, 2017, after a lengthy career at the English National Opera.

Born on June 27, 1926, Belcourt started learning the violin and singing at music festivals at an early age. He would later go on to the University to study pharmacy but continued singing. He went on to earn a degree and performed “Una Furtiva Lagrima” at the Justice Brown competition, winning Best Amateur Singer in Saskatchewan.

After that competition, he was convinced to go to London to continue his singing career and joined the chorus at the Glyndebourne Opera House. He went on to study at the Academy in Vienna, where he trained in lieder and went on to join the company at the opera house in Ulm, Germany, where he stayed for three years. He then went to Bonn, Germany, where he stayed for one year.

He was later cast in the title role in “Pelléas et Mélisande,” in a production that was broadcast on French public radio, which caught the attention of Scottish Opera.

He went on to make his English debut at Covent Garden as Gonzalve in “L’Heure Espagnole” in 1963, conducted by Sir Georg Solti, and later joined Sadler’s Wells Opera Company (now the English National Opera) with a debut performance as Pluto in “Orpheus in the Underworld.”

From there the ENO became his home for three decades. With the company, he performed Eisenstein in “Die Fledermaus,” Herod in “Salome,” Danilo in “The Merry Widow,” Shuisky in “Boris Godunov,” Raoul in “La Vie Parisienne,” among many others. He portrayed Dr. Oliver Sachs in Michael Nyman’s 1986 opera “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat” during its world premiere.

He was also famous for having performed the role of Loge in “Das Rheingold” in English and on to record it alongside Reginald Goodall. Other accomplishments including debuting at the Seattle Opera, Edmonton Opera as well as on West End.

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