François Le Roux is renowned throughout the world for performances that range from baroque through contemporary music, from French art song to the major roles of the operatic stage. Since his debut with Lyon Opera, he has been a guest with all the major European opera houses and symphony orchestras as well as festivals throughout the world.

In the realm of opera, he was renowned as “the greatest Pelléas of his generation in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande.” He performed Pelléas more than a hundred times on the foremost opera stages of the world and recorded it for Deutsche Grammophon under Claudio Abbado. As his voice deepened, he changed to the role of Golaud in this same opera, which he has been performing to great acclaim in such places as Paris, Bordeaux, and at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. He sang Golaud for the centenary of the opera’s premiere at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 2002, and more recently in Paris, Vichy, Rouen, Milan (La Scala) and Toulon. In 2007 he sang Golaud in the first-ever staged production of Pelléas et Mélisande in Moscow, conducted by Marc Minkowski, directed by Olivier Py. This became the subject of a film by Philippe Béziat: “Pelléas et Mélisande, Le chant des aveugles,” released on DVD in 2011.

He has sung regularly at Paris Opera where he made his debut as Valentin in Gounod's Faust in 1988. His portrayal of the title role of Don Giovanni enjoyed a real triumph and brought him the French critics' “Prix de la Révélation de l'année.” Another signature role, he has sung Don Giovanni in Zurich under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, in England and in Spain. He is renowned for his portrayals of all of Mozart’s leading baritone roles, as well as certain roles in Italian opera (Dandini, Malatesta, Marcello), and baroque opera (the title roles of Monteverdi’s Orfeo  and Ulisse, Campra's Tancrède, and Pollux in Rameau's Castor et Pollux, performed at the Aix en Provence Festival. He is equally at home in contemporary opera; the title role of Henze's Der Prinz von Homburg which he sang in Munich conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch; the world premieres of Birtwistle's Gawain at Covent Garden, Von Bose's Die Leiden des jungen Werthers at the Schwetzingen Festival, David Lang's Modern Painters at Santa Fe Opera and Thilloy’s Jour des Meurtres in Metz.

In 2014 he appeared with New Orleans Opera as Pandolphe in Massenet’s Cendrillon Recent seasons have brought Orpheus in the Underworld with Lausanne Opera, Don Gomez in Debussy's Rodrigue et Chimène in St Petersburg’s Philharmony Hall and Golaud in Helsinki's Opera’s new production of Pelléas et Mélisande. As well as leading roles at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and Grenoble, Opera du Rhin in Strasbourg, Opera de Toulon, De Nederlandse Opera (The Love of Three Oranges), Paris Opera, and La Scala in Milan and engagements with the Houston Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, and Vienna’s Musikverein; recital engagements at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Vancouver, Belfast, Tokyo, Paris, Mexico City, Santiago de Compostella (Spain), Wilhelmshafen (Germany), and Wroclaw (Poland); as well as several new recording projects. Mr. Le Roux sang the Clock and the Tomcat in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortileges with the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle and at Teatro San Carlo in Naples, conducted by Jeffrey Tate. He sang Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde in Paris, at the ‘Musée d’Orsay, Dvorak’s Biblical Songs in Besançon, conducted by Peter Csaba.

François Le Roux has performed with major symphony orchestras throughout the world and is in particular demand internationally for recitals and masterclasses on the interpretation of French Song. From 1997-2002 he was artistic director of the French Song Concert Season of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris. He is Artistic Director of the Académie Francis Poulenc in Tours, dedicated to the interpretation of French Song. He received the distinguished honor of “Chevalier” in the French National Order of “Les Arts et Lettres” in 1996, and was chosen as “Musical Personality of 1997” by the French Critics Union.

Mr. Le Roux has numerous operatic CDs and DVDs on EMI, Erato, and BMG-RCA. He has several recordings of French Song on EMI, REM (the complete songs of Duparc and Fauré), HYPERION (Saint-Saëns songs, Séverac Songs, & Louis Durey Songs with Graham Johnson), and DECCA-Universal, all enthusiastically received, earning him the reputation as the successor to Gérard Souzay'. He received the Charles Cros Academy Award 1999 for his BMG-RCA world-premiere recording of Albert Roussel’s orchestrated Songs, with Jacques Mercier and the Orchestre National d’Ile de France. A DVD of Offenbach’s  La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein on Virgin Classics, conducted by Marc Minkowski, won the “Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros 2005” and “Diapason d'or 2005.” Hi most recent recordings include the Complete Songs of Edouard Lalo on Passavant, music of Enri Dutilleux  with the Orchestre National De Bordeaux under Hans Graf on Sony Classics and Ravel’s L'Enfant et les Sortileges with the Berlin Philharmonic on EMI. His latest recording of the complete songs of Poulenc for ATMA was included in the years “Top Ten” by the Montreal newspaper, Devoir. Espace Musique (Radio Canada) awarded it their Golden Medal for the best recordings of 2013.

François Le Roux began his vocal studies with François Loup at the age of 19, and continued under Vera Rosza and Elisabeth Grümmer at the Opéra Studio, Paris. He was a winner of the Barcelona (Maria Canals) and Rio de Janeiro competitions. His first book on the interpretation of French Song - “Le Chant Intime,” co-authored with Romain Raynaldy, published by Fayard - received the 2004 René Dumesnil Award by the French National Académie des Beaux Arts. Since 2006, he has been teaching at the Académie Maurice Ravel in Saint Jean-de-Luz, a position first held by Pierre Bernac.

                                           

 

PRESS REVIEWS:

 

“Here was an artist born and bred to sing this repertoire. Earlier in his career, this singular artist had been quite probably the foremost Pelleas in Debussy’s ‘Pelleas et Melisande.’ While collecting kudos in numerous roles, Le Roux also refined his talent for the French song literature. Much of the Debussy Le Roux sang dripped with melancholy, and the baritone proved a master at reflecting the sadness embedded in the material. Throughout the concert, Le Roux’s baritone took on all sorts of colors and weights, all to the benefit of music that requires a blend of sensitivity and intensity. For songs of Faure there was ample anguish and romance. Francis Poulenc’s ‘Fetes galantes,’ Le Roux’s interpretation was delightful.”

- Herald Times - February 21, 2014

 
Golaud in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande with the Helsinki National Opera:
 “The first act began with a delightful interpretation of Cinderella’s long-suffering father Pandolfe, executed with wit and depth by French baritone François Le Roux.” 

- Nola Defender - February 15, 2014

“The production benefits from principal singers steeped in French vocal style. The veteran baritone François Le Roux is thoroughly convincing as Cendrillon's hapless father, Pandolfe.”

- New Orleans Times-Picayune – February 15, 2014

Golaud in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande with the Helsinki National Opera:
“Marelli was fortunate to have a group of artists ideally suited to their roles and willing to immerse themselves in their characters. Vocally, this brought them as close to the ideal as can be justifiably expected. The great French baritone François Le Roux was the most insightful and sensitive Golaud imaginable. Now in his mid-50s, he sings with great authority and possesses all the vocal colors required for this complicated character. In his early career, he was ‘the greatest Pelléas of his generation.’ He has earned similar plaudits for his Golaud. It was indeed a privilege to experience his reading of the role.”

- SeenAndHeardIntl - April 16, 2012

 

Recital at the Orford Festival:
“This was world-class singing. Standing simply at attention, Le Roux let his mobile face convey expression, as well, of course, as his voice, which was rich in interesting greys. Fauré’s La bonne chanson cycle, came off as nine distinct masterpieces.”

- Montreal Gazette - August 8, 2011

 

Schubert Winterreise, Saint-Genès-les Carmes, France:
Baritone Françoise Le Roux without reservation in a Winterreise of poignancy and effective simplicity.”

“There are not many interpreters that touch closely the osmosis between the reality of the emotion and the texture of the song. François Le Roux pursues a vast interior monologue, where he modulates the patterns and unfolds the insistence and elegance of memory. This musician with a ripe, clear baritone undertakes this journey through elegiac sensuality with accents of a grounded melancholy.  He shows a visionary desperation, distraught by sorrowful urgency, colored sometimes in nearly martial hues. A mixture of pride and excess, of heart-rending humanity, and of exacerbated terror, at which the suppleness of phrasing and the vigor of intonation, spare of all excess of despondency. The pair of Le Roux and Ivaldi master all of the euphoria of sentiments that do not cease to rise in intensity more than in brute power, and without outrageous mood swings. The artistic probity of these interpreters manifests itself through the relevance of what is said. They exhibit an imitable art, clearly and significantly rendering the phonation of the words as sounds. Le Roux is an assured and enduring medium, and the firmness of his low notes is valiant.” 

- La Montagnere - January 15, 2008

  

Recording of 'Melodies' of Theodore Dubois:

“Sung by a baritone with an elegant voice, accompanied by Noël Lee. Both have engraved this forgotten music with elegance. 4 stars.”

-  HiFi Video Magazine - July/August 2007

 

 “The interpretation is to be praised. Francois Le Roux enjoys an enviable reputation as a specialist in this kind of repertoire. He has enlivened innumerable mastercalsses on the subject, he has also penned a book of undisputed authority in this domain. His voice is beautiful, always avoiding mannerisms bringing to the fore his arsenal of complete comprehension of the style and the quality of diction. 4 stars.”

- Classical Repertoire - July/August 2007

 

Recital of Ravel and Poulenc with the Nash Ensemble, City of London Festival:

“No work of the period expresses the anguish of imperialist guilt more forcefully than Ravel's Chansons Madécasses. The central song's howls of pain were delivered with frightening intensity by François Le Roux. He brought a voluptuous Gallic sensibility to the outer songs, with their intimations of moonlit ecstasy. Le Roux returned in the second half to dispatch the nonsense song Honoloulou of Poulenc's Rapsodie Nègre with po-faced solemnity, the ensemble offering suitably laconic support.” 

- Evening Standard - July 5, 2007

 

Golaud in Debussy’s Pelleas et Melisande, Marc Minkowski, conductor, Moscow:

“The singers are as elegant as dancers, sounds and movements constantly obeying the same fluid and exact common will. As Golaud, François Le Roux plays his part as always with assurance and  competence. His charcter is more nuanced than ever, particularly in the second scene of Act IV (4), where the balance between furor and depression is perfectly mastered.” 

- Paris "Opéra Magazine - September 2007

 

“Not unexpectedly, it was baritone Francois Le Roux who produced the most commanding performance of all. Thanks to his more than two decades of experience in the opera, both as a notable Pelleas and more recently as Golaud, he brought extraordinary nuance and subtlety to the latter part, coping nicely with its sometimes heavy vocal demands.”

- Moscow Times - June 22, 2007

 

 “As Golaud, the baritone François Le Roux, a veteran of many a "Pelléas" production, first as the title hero, earned the audience's empathy in shrouding Golaud's emotional upheavals behind a composed exterior.”

- International Herald Tribune - July 2, 2007

 

Roussel: Melodies, Orchestre Nattional d’Ill de France, RCA Records:

“Roussel's own orchestrations of some of his melodies enrich the catalogue, with Véronique Gens offering her own brand of charm alongside the experienced François Le Roux. What magnificent music, especially ‘La Menace’ specifically written for orchestra.” 

- Culturekiosque.com – December 2006

 

Golaud in Pelleas et Melisande, Musée d’Orsay, Paris:

“François Le Roux, as always, the most phenomenal Golaud of our time.”

- LesEchos.fr – November 10, 2006

 

Recital in Mexico City:

Headline: “French baritone François Roux delights public with a brilliant recital in Sala Nezahualcóyotl.”

- Mexico City – November 2005

 

Bartok Bluebeard’s Castle, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Hans Graf, conductor:

“Le Roux joined the orchestra Saturday for a searing exploration of the emotional cauldron Judith goes through in entering the mysterious, closed world of Bluebeard. Le Roux’s Bluebeard was more cagey emotionally as he pleaded with Judith to love him for what he is. He would cajole, then give in only enough to satisfy her for the moment. His triumphed at the end was muted but predestined.”

- Houston Chronicle – January 17, 2001

 

Recital, “Theatre of Song” Festival, Washington, DC:

“Baritone Francois Le Roux, a veteran of world-class opera houses, gave an elegant account of the French chanson in his recital at the French Embassy on Wednesday. The event launched "Theatre of Song," an admirable new series sponsored by La Maison Francaise. Covering a half-century of creativity, the performance highlighted some of the most characteristic examples of an ever-so-French genre -- the melodie -- by the composers Gounod, Saint-Saens, Duparc, Faure, Debussy, Poulenc and Ravel. The French melodie welds music and poem into a single entity with a faithfulness to the stressed and unstressed syllables of spoken French to an extent that no other song type can match. Unfortunately, for audience members without texts, it was not possible to grasp this singularly French way of setting music to words; they were simply left adrift as to what Le Roux's musical artistry was expressing. One could only bask in his infinitely tapered pianissimos and impassioned resonance, along with Hallak's sophisticated piano partnership, and in the intense beauty they conveyed.”

- Washington Post - November 5, 2004

 

Golaud in Pelleas et Melisande, Musée d’Orsay, Paris:

“The other major factor in this project’smusical success is obviously François Le Roux. Not only because his portrayal of Golaud is well known today, but as a contemporary reference to a penetration of the text as an intimate friend, no longer separating speech and song. And also because this great teacher is able to transmit a bit of his encyclopedic knowledge and his fabulous technique to his young colleagues.”

- Le Figaro – June 3 2004

 

Peter Bel in Landowski's Le Fou, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris:

“The excellent cast is headed by François Le Roux's fabulous Bel.”

- Financial Times -  February 5, 2004

 

Calchas in Offenbach’s La Belle Helene, Santa Fe Opera:

“Francois Le Roux's funny, put-upon Calchas, high priest of Jupiter, showed this artist's high level of skill: It was a complete about-face from his magnificent, brooding John Ruskin in SFO's 1995 production of David Lang's Modern Painters.”

- The New Mexican – September 25, 2003

 

Fauré Requiem, Marin Symphony, Alasdair Neale, conductor:

“Coburn and lyric baritone François Le Roux were the featured soloists for the evening. Mr. Le Roux is well known in France and is the declared successor to the great recitalist Gerard Souzay. He has been distinguished as “Chevalier”, an honor given by the French National Order of Arts and Letters, has a large discography of French melodies and is a specialist in modern music. His musicianship and taste are impeccable. His voice, though not large, is carefully and exquistely directed.”

- SF Classical Voice – April 6, 2003

 

Calchas in Offenbach’s La Belle Helene, Virgin Classics CD:

“Le Roux’s deliciously overripe Calchas is matched by Senechal’s seedy Mehelas; both sing perfectly in character.” 

- Opera - February 2002

 

Monsieur de in Damase’s Madame de, Grand Theatre de Geneve:

“Coke in the title role might have taken some lessons in diction from François Le Roux. Le Roux and Rivenq were elegant in a contemporary manner.”

- Opera - October 2001

 

Recital at Bard College, New York:

“Ravel's songs are a gorgeous artifact: it was novel to have them sung by a baritone -- François Le Roux, intelligent and careful -- whose voice could come from within the instrumental ensemble, rather than floating above as the more usual soprano's does. Debussy's settings, which Mr. Le Roux sang right after, sounded like a reprimand: act natural. Debussy, loose and playful, lets the irony be the poet's and the singer's, where Ravel beautifully encrusts the texts in ironies of his own.”

- New York Times –-August 21, 2001

 

Kosma: Songs and Interludes, Matrix Ensemble, Decca Records:

“The songs, sung by the French baritone François Le Roux, mostly address foiled love, but Kosma and his capable lyricists make each trauma distinct. And by consistently altering the color of his voice, Mr. Le Roux further enriches these tunes.  Among the most compelling items on this rich CD is the extended ballad ‘Rue de Seine,’ a miniature masterpiece.”

- New York Times - March 18, 2001

 

Pelleas in Debussy’s Pellease et Melisande, Arhaus Music DVD:

“Alliot-Lugaz and Francois Le Roux as the eponymous lovers, form a cast hard to equal.”

- Opera - April 2001

 

Calchas in Offenbach’s La Belle Helene, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris:

“The casy was all French: Francois Le Roux a c;assy Calchas.”

- Opera - January 2001

 

Peter Bel in Landowski's Le Fou, Opera Montpellier:

“An all-French cast was a major attraction. Peter Bel is a savant who know how to save the city under siege. Le Roux has a made-to-measure role, and was onstage almost continually without ever losing authority.”      

- Opera - August 2000

 

Poulenc's "Les Mamelles de Tiresias," Ojai Festival, Simon Rattle, conductor:

“The Poulenc featured mostly the same soloists heard opening the festival on Friday: Francois Le Roux (amusing in the prologue and as the silly Gendarme).”

- Los Angeles Times –-June 7, 2000

 

Ravel L’Enfant et les Sortileges, Ojai Festival, Simon Rattle, conductor:

“Francois Le Roux was a hilariously suave black cat.”

- Los Angeles Times – May 27, 2000

 

Berlioz’s L’Enfance du Christ, Montreal Symphony, Charles Dutoit, conductor, Decca Records:

“A gentle introduction leads to a lovely duet sung by Mary (soprano Susan Graham) and Joseph (baritone François Le Roux)--a real treasure and one of this performance's highlights..”

- ClassicsToday.com

  

New York City Recital debut, Lincoln Center:

“The baritone Francois Le Roux is an established international figure, especially as Debussy's Pelleas, a role he has sung in many productions -- including the Los Angeles Opera's last season -- and recorded. He made an enjoyable New York debut on Monday evening.  Mr. Le Roux's pleasant medium-weight baritone began hitting stride, with more freedom on top, in the Duparc group and in the first two Hahn songs. Poulenc's tongue-twisting ‘Fetes Galantes’ was a hit. Mr. Le Roux was noticeably more relaxed and personal in the encores: a rollicking adaptation of the La Fontaine fable ‘The Grasshopper and the Ant’ by Charles Trenet.”

- New York Times