Almost nothing seems to be known about this totally forgotten singer. He was born in Guelma, Algeria, on May 23rd,
1918, and he already sang professionally before eventually studying voice. Where, when, and what – questions
still to be answered. Anyway, he was a pillar of the French radio after World War II, and an Offenbach expert. Whether or not he ever
appeared on stage, I have no clue.
Doniat as a baritone
But the really unusual thing about Doniat is that he was both a full-fleshed tenor and a full-fleshed baritone, at the same time.
(A very, very lyrical representative of both voice keys, just so as to be clear.) Personally, I like him better as a tenor, but he seems
to have sung baritone slightly more often than tenor. He normally sang operetta and French light songs, with utmost stylistic wisdom. In some
ways, he was a successor to Tino Rossi – his voice doesn't seem to have been much larger than Rossi's, and he boasted the same
musical refinement as an interpreter (and a more robust vocal technique). As far as opera, there are two Contes d'Hoffmann recordings in which
he sang the servants, and in one of the two also Spalanzani and Nathanael.
Doniat died in Paris on January 18th, 1973. Here are the covers of some of his LPs,
one of them with his picture.