Martial Defontaine, ténor
After completing his law studies, Martial Defontaine entered the Studio Versailles Opéra where he worked under René Jacobs and Marc Minkowski’s direction. He continued his studies at the Conservatoire de Paris with Rachel Yakar, then became Arrigo Pola and Gian Franco Brizio’s student in Italy. He made his operatic debut as Jason (Médée by Charpentier) and singing classical works : Zémyre et Azor (Azor) and L'Amant Jaloux (Florival) by Grétry, then sang several “mozartian” roles, Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte with the Orchestre de Bourgogne under P. Cambrelaing at the Opéra d'Angers and Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) with la Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy under Jean-Claude Malgoire’s baton and Pierre Constant’s direction. He then gave interpretations of Almaviva (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) and Ernesto (Don Pasquale). The Opéra de Besançon hosted him for the role of Lindbergh (Der Lindberghflug by Kurt Weill) directed by Charlotte Nessy, with whom he sang the Prince Caprice in Le Voyage dans la Lune by Offenbach. Jean-Claude Pennetier asked him to sing Tristan in Le Vin Herbé by F. Martin at the Opéra Bastille, under Mireille Laroche’s direction. He also sang Fenton (Falstaff) under M. Issep’s direction, and Des Grieux (Manon) at the festival de St-Céré. At the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, he took part of the world first of Une Saison en Enfer by M. Constant under Mark Foster’s baton, in a direction by Daniel Mesguich. «L'année Poulenc» gave him the opportunity to sing Le Mari in Les Mamelles de Tirésias at the Opéra de Montpellier and in Athens under M. Brabbins’s direction, and Le Chevalier de la Force (Les Dialogues des Carmélites) at the Grand Théâtre de Tours. Under P. Rophé and D. Mesguich’s direction, Opéra de Montpellier gave him the role of Arthus in Le Fou by Landowski. At the same time, Martial Defontaine sang in many oratorios and concerts: Matthaus Passion (l’Evangéliste); Messiah (Haendel) at the Opéra du Caire, The Seasons (Haydn), Requiem (Mozart) with the Orchestre de Chambre de Toulouse under A. Moglia’s direction, the Mass in D minor (Cherubini) with the Orchestre National de Lyon under Maurizio Arena’s direction; La Petite Messe Solennelle and the Stabat Mater (Rossini), Tobie (Gounod) at the Festival d'Art Sacré de Marseille, Missa Di Gloria (Puccini), Magnificat for tenor Solo (Florentz). He took part of the world first of the Missa Brevis by P. Hersant at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Martial Defontaine has recorded some of Lili Boulanger’s works with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, under M. Stringer’s direction, and a recital of French mélodies by Georges Auric with Alain Jacquon accompanying on the piano. He has sung Alvares (Fernand Cortez by Spontini) in the recording of the Orchestre Philharmonique National Slovaque. For the BBC, he has recorded the role of Albert in The Miserly Knight by Rachmaninov. On television, Martial Defontaine starred Le Chevalier Des Grieux (Manon), recorded at the festival de St Céré. Martial Defontaine has sung the title role of Fantasio by Offenbach, directed by V. Vittoz at the Opéra de Rennes, Nantes, Angers and Tours under Claude Schnitzler’s direction, the role of Robert in Quatorze Juillet, directed by Jérôme Savary at the Opéra de Montpellier, Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte at the Opéra de Limoges, Ernesto in Don Pasquale (Donizetti) at the Opéra de Rennes, Pylade in Iphigénie en Tauride by Gluck at the Opéra d'Angers, directed by B. Pisani. One may also have heard him sing Gontran from the Mousquetaires aux couvents by Varney and Die Lustige Witve (Camille de Rossillon) at the Capitole de Toulouse and Avignon, a Spontini show at the Opéra de Rennes, Otello and La Traviata at the Chorégies d’Orange, La Vie Parisienne (Gardefeu) at the Opéra Comique and on tour at the Washington Opera, Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Bercy, Rigoletto (Duc de Mantoue) on tour with the Opéra Eclaté, Turandot (Pong) in Avignon, Les Pêcheurs de perles (Nadir) in concert in Metz, Die Zauberflöte (Tamino) and Dialogues de Carmélites in Dijon… He has won praize for his interpretation of the Prince in The Love for Three Oranges at the Vlaamse Opera in Gand and in Anvers, at the Nederlandse Amsterdam Opera and at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa. He sang in Die Lustige Witve (Camille de Rossillon) at the Opéra Comique, Il Viaggio a Reims in Monte Carlo, La Vie parisienne at the Opéra de Lausanne, Turandot (Pong) at the Opéra de Marseille, Aïda (Il Messagiero) at the Chorégies d’Orange, Fernand Cortez in Erfurt. Recently, he performed Nadir in Les Pêcheurs de Perles in Tours, Juan in Don Quichotte by Massenet in Tokyo, Pâris in La Belle Hélène in Limoges and Dijon, erster Bewaffneter in Die Zauberflöte at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. He has also successfully sung the role of Hoffmann in Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Rennes. One may have heard him too, not so long ago, in the Dialogues des Carmélites (Le Chevalier de la Force) in Anvers, Piquillo in La Périchole in Lille, Nantes, Angers and Rennes, De Guiche in the world first of Cyrano et Roxane by Xarhakos in Athens, Les Mamelles de Tiresias at the Feldkirch Festival and in Compiègne, Les Brigands in Bordeaux and Luxembourg, The Love for the Three Oranges in Dijon, Don José (Carmen) in Caen… He recently performed in the Dialogues des Carmélites (Le Chevalier de la Force) at the Bari‘s Opera, in the Prince in The love for Three Oranges at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. This season his projects include Antoniüs in Pénélope at the Opéra National du Rhin as well as the Princesse de Trébizonde (Tremolini) by Offenbach at the Opéra de Limoges.