French Baritone Jean-Christophe Benoît Passes Away At 93

By Nicole Kuchta

French baritone Jean-Christophe Benoît passed away on Feb. 22, 2019, at the age of 93.

He was born in Paris on Mar. 18, 1925 to a family of musicians. His mother, Léontine Benoit-Granier, was a composer, and his father, Henri Benoit, was a violinist. His sister Denise was an actress, dancer, and singer.

Benoît studied under Olivier Messiaen at the National Conservatory of Paris before going on to perform at some of Europe’s foremost opera houses, including the Paris Opera, Salle Favart, and La Scala.

According to Forum Opera, Benoît was a master of French melody and specialized in “seconds rôles d’opéra-comique,” with credits including Torquemada in Ravel’s one-act opera “L’Heure espagnole” and Somarone in Berlioz’ “Béatrice et Bénédict.”

Other roles of Benoît include Figaro in Milhaud’s “La mère coupable,” Le Dancaïre in Bizet’s “Carmen,” the Sacristan in Puccini’s “Tosca,” Ping in Puccini’s “Turandot,” le Chat in Ravel’s “L’Enfant et les sortilèges,” Bartolo in Rossini’s “Le Barbier de Séville,” Raimbaud in Rossini’s “Le Comte Ory,” Duparquet in Hahn’s “Ciboulette,” Frédéric in two versions of Delibes’ “Lakmé,” and Nicklausse in Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann.”