Paul Barroilhet

Paul Barroilhet

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Title: Baroilhet.

Author : VOGT Charles (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Series Gallery of the Press, Literature & Fine Arts.Title carried : Baroilhet [sic].

Storage location: National Museum of the Château de Compiègne website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - D. Arnaudet

Picture reference: 97-024124 / C.53.049 / 27

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - D. Arnaudet

Publication date: November 2010

Historical context

The 19th century, the century of performers

The 19th century was the age of opera, a sort of golden age during which the lyric art aroused considerable fervor. The baritone was then one of those who, like Gilbert Duprez and Rosine Stoltz, performed with talent the greatest roles in the repertoire on this prestigious stage.

Image Analysis

The portrait gallery, a tradition

This lithograph is part of a series of portraits published from 1839 to 1841 by Louis Huart and Charles Philipon under the title Press, Literature and Fine Arts Gallery. Each illustration is accompanied by a biographical note. This Gallery appears in editions and then, partially, in bound form at the end of each year. Only this last collection, composed of three albums, is preserved, and Barroilhet (1810-1871) is not there. Published at an unknown date, this lithograph by Charles Vogt, a student of the École des beaux-arts, was undoubtedly produced shortly after the singer's engagement at the Opera in December 1840. Seen as a bust, he poses the most simply of the world, in an elegant city outfit, arms crossed and slightly at an angle. By the calm that emanates from the artist, this portrait contrasts with the caricatures which are ironic about the agitation and exaggeration of his playing.


An idol fallen into oblivion

Vogt’s portrait of Paul Barroilhet represents him at the dawn of his Parisian career. Although French by birth and a student of the Paris Conservatory, he started in Italy and only returned to France after several years of success on the other side of the Alps (where he created several roles notably for Donizetti and Mercadante). It is this notoriety which earned him to be hired on the most prestigious stage in France. He starts there in The Favorite, on December 2, 1840, and very quickly became one of the public's darlings.

In 1841 he already created the character of Lusignan in The Queen of Cyprus, but it is that of Charles VI, in the eponymous opera, which quickly becomes his flagship role. This immediate popularity amply justifies its presence in this Gallery, alongside the greatest singers of his time: his friend Nourrit, but also Lablache, Rubini and Duprez.

Strangely, and despite his successes, Barroilhet is far from having the latter's fame today. It is even difficult to find books that devote a few pages to it. His fame is therefore both immense and ephemeral, certainly because his private life and his talent have given rise to much less debate than those of Duprez and Stoltz. In addition, this great art lover left the stage in 1847 to devote himself to his collection of paintings.

  • opera
  • portrait


Press, Literature and Fine Arts Gallery, Paris, Aubert, 1839-1841.Jean-Louis TAMVACO, “Paul-Bernard Barroilhet”, in Knowledge of Paris and France, 1973, n ° 17, p. 88-91.Damien COLAS, “Paul Barroilhet”, in Joël-Marie Fauquet (dir.), Dictionary of music in France in the 19th century, Paris, Fayard, 2003. Jean GOURRET, New Dictionary of Paris Opera singers from the 17th century to the present day, Paris, Albatros, 1989.

To cite this article

Stella ROLLET, "Paul Barroilhet"

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