Arthur Descamps

Descamps, Arthur, Tenor, * 1882 Pâturages (Hainaut, Belgian), † 1948 Pâturages. [in English] As a young man he sang in chorales in his native city and also played the trumpet in various musical events. He was urged to study and, encouraged by M. Achille Tondeur, he studied with him at the conservatory in Mons. At Liege he studied with Adolphe Maréchal. He became a protégé of the older singer. He made his debut at the Monnaie in 1914. early performances at Verviers included: as Wilhelm in "Mignon" (26.Nov.1916), as Des Grieux in "Manon" (23. Nov. 1916), as Werther in "Werther" and several concerts. He made his Liege debut singing with the company through 1918. His roles included: Rodolfo in "La Bohéme", Duke of Mantua in "Rigoletto", Jean in "Hérodiade", Marquis de Federia in "Le Château de la Grande Breteche", Fernand in "La Favorite", Pinkerton in "Madama Butterfly", Roméo in "Roméo et Juliette", Toinet in "Le Chemineau", Don José in "Carmen", Alfredo in "La Traviata", Zephirs in "Si j'Etais Roi", Canio in "Pagliacci", Gerard in "Lakmé", Faust in "Faust", Vasco da Gama in "L'Africaine", Araquil in "La Navarraise", Cavaradossi in "Tosca" Turiddu in "Cavalleria Rusticana" and Loge in "Das Rheingold". He also sang at La Louvière and Namur and at the Théâtre des Galeries in Brussels, portraying Cavaradossi, Don José and Werther. In 1919 he was appearing in Marseille, Nice, La Louvière, Liege, and Mons, where he sang in "L'Attaque du Moulin", and in concert with the bass Pharaon Houx. From 1919-1921 at the Théâtre Royal Français in Antwerp he portrayed: Turiddu in "Cavalleria Rusticana", Mylio in "Le Roi d'Ys", Guassin in "Sapho", Pylade in "Iphigénie en Tauride", Pedrito in "La Cabrera" and Enzo in "La Gioconda". He appeared there in latter seasons: 1922-1923 and 1924-1925 as a guest artist. in 1922 he sang at the Kursaal in Ostend. At Strasbourg he undertook several Wagnerian roles, all sung in French versions: Tannhäuser in "Tannhäuser", Tristan in "Tristan und Isolde", Parsifal in "Parsifal", Siegmund in "Die Walküre" and Loge in "Das Rheingold". Later he often grave recitals and concerts, appearing in Antwerp and most of the theatres in the south of Belgium. 1924 he underwent an operation to remove nodules from his vocal cords. Happily it proved to be successful and he resumed an active career shortly after the operation. He was noted for his clear diction and for the warmth and vibrancy of his voice, which had a naturally attrctive timbre. It was said that he alwayas sang with style and complete involvement in his roles. Towards the end of his singing career he became noted for splendid interpretations of the major Wagnerian roles. Descamps dead in Paturages in 1948. He made recordings about 1925 for Polydor.


[in German]: er war zuerst Schüler von Achille Tondeur in Mons, dann von Adolphe Maréchal in Lüttich. Während des Ersten Weltkrieges debütierte er an der Oper von Lüttich, an der er seine großen Partien sang: den Rodolfo in Puccinis »La Bohème«, den Cavaradossi in »Tosca«, den Herzog im »Rigoletto«, den Alfredo in »La Traviata«, die Titelpartien in »Werther« von Massenet, »Faust« von Gounod und »Roméo et Juliette« vom gleichen Komponisten, den Jean in Massenets »Hérodiade« und den José in »Carmen«. In den Jahren 1919-21 und 1925-27 war er Mitglied der Königlichen Oper Antwerpen, dazwischen 1921-24 des Théâtre de la Monnaie Brüssel. An diesem Opernhaus wirkte er u.a. in den Erstaufführungen der Opern »Gianni Schicchi« von Puccini (1922) und »La vida breve« von de Falla (1923) mit. In den Jahren 1920-34 gab er zahlreiche Gastspiele und Konzerte in Marseille, in Vichy, in Straßburg wie in Nordafrika. Im letzten Jahrzehnt seiner Karriere widmete er sich dem Wagner-Gesang und trat als Tristan, als Siegmund in der »Walküre«, als Tannhäuser, als Parsifal und als Loge im »Rheingold« auf.

Schallplattenaufnahmen der Marke Polydor.


as Des Grieux (by courtesy of Manfred Krugmann)
in "La Vannina" Marseille 1928