Jean-Blaise Martin and the opera-comique: A studyof selected airs sung by the original baryton Martin
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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Abstract(Nicolas) Jean-Blaise Martin (1768-1837) created numerous roles in operas-comiques by many of the most notable composers in Paris spanning the periods of the French Revolution, Consulate, Empire, and Restoration in a stage career that endured from 1789 to 1834. The outgrowth of his popularity was the creation of the voice type named for him, the baryton Martin, which at first represented the roles for which he was known, but later was developed by numerous French composers who expanded the high lyric baritone repertoire, including Bizet and Ravel. A discussion of the life of Martin is followed by more specific chapters discussing his voice and select roles sung by him. Works discussed include Les Visitandines (1792) by Francois Devienne, Joconde (1814) by Nicolo Isouard, Les Voitures versees (1808/1820) by Francois-Adrien Boieldieu, and Les Souvenirs de Lafleur (1833) by Fromental Halevy. The voice of Martin is described as to range, weight and timbre, as well as vocal characteristics that were identified with him, including his famous use of fioratura, the use of head voice for passages extending up into the tenor range, "patter" singing, and a frequent use of wide leaps. In addition, reviews are cited later in Martin's career to illuminate his vocal condition at the end of his career. Each opera-comique is discussed regarding the composer, the librettist(s), the work, including a brief plot summary, as well as a more specific discussion of one air from each that was sung by Martin. Various observations of these airs will attempt to give a more complete picture of the artist and singer. A brief discussion detailing the baryton Martin throughout the century will follow the summary of the document, and will detail singers of this voice type and roles written for them. The career of Martin is detailed in an appendix that lists many works in which the baritone sang, with pertinent information as available, as well as a listing of the theaters in which be performed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Music and Dance