Jacques Pottier

born 17 August 1930 Darnétal

Picture of Jacques Pottier
Pottier was a tenor at the Paris Opéra for about 10 years. Sometimes he sang leading parts such as Cavaradossi. Most of the time he was a comprimario. In the early 60s, he sang Calaf in Rouen and it was badly received.

His biography on Wikipedia states that he sang at the Paris Opéra all the main roles of the répertoire: Rigoletto, Carmen, Tosca, Faust, Tannhäuser, Falstaff, Tristan und Isolde, La bohème, Les contes d'Hoffmann. It is very doubtful that he sang all those main tenor parts at the Paris Opéra. First of all, La bohème and Les contes d'Hoffmann were not given there during Pottiers' tenure. He did not have the voice to sing Tannhäuser, and Tristan.

Furthermore, the biography adds that he performed not only in Paris but also all over France and abroad, adding as well Pagliacci, Cavalleria rusticana, Il trovatore, Aida, Der fliegende Holländer, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Prométhée, without stating where and which role.

Pottier started to teach singing in France and the biography lists as his students: Dalida, Nicole Croisille, Sheila, Ringo (Guy Bayle), Thierry Le Luron and Mireille Mathieu. Well, first of all they are no opera singers and no reference is given where the information is coming from. Probably it comes directly from Pottier himself.

Pottier was also (peripherically) involved in one of the biggest battles that François Nouvion fought on this site, the Clemente Guéarti battle... Guéarti was an Argentine tenor with a short career as a singer and a long one as a voice teacher (in France) – and obviously a penchant for fibs, as there was a completely grotesque claim (made by Guéarti himself, it seems) that he had been hired by record companies to substitute both Enrico Caruso and Beniamino Gigli for a bunch of recordings, and there was (or is) even a disc with a home-made label glued over the real label stating the singer be Guéarti (whereas it's easily recognizable as a very well-known Caruso recording, and Guéarti never recorded in reality). When the last apostle of Guéarti, a French voice teacher called Roger Yaèche, played this fake "Guéarti" record to Pottier, the latter was (according to Yaèche) much impressed and stated that Guéarti had a bigger voice than even Caruso (while it had of course been nobody else than Caruso himself that he had been listening to). François Nouvion commented:
This casts a great doubt on Pottier's auditory system.

Nouvion continued:
I was contacted via email by Mr. Alain Jacques who wrote

There is an extraordinary French tenor who is on your list, Jacques Pottier, born 17 Aug 1930, who has just finished recording at the age of almost 80 a CD of opera arias – which, to my opinion, surpasses Caruso, Del Monaco and all other tenors. You can listen to those arias and check my claim. See Nessun dorma below; more can be found on Youtube.
The singing of Pottier at 80 must be heard to be believed. His voice was, not quite surprisingly, gone. Alain Jacques had been, according to himself, Pottier's artistic director for the previous 10 years... So his judgement may have been slightly biased.

A last comment, it is not uncommon for a comprimario singer to have recorded the main tenor role in opera, like Carmen for Pottier. Another comprimario Rialland did the same (Julien for example).

Jacques Pottier singsCarmen: La fleur que tu m'avais jetée
In RA format

Jacques Pottier singsCarmen: C'est toi? C'est moi!, with Fréda Betti
In RA format

Jacques Pottier singsTurandot: Nessun dorma
at age 80
I wish to thank Georges Voisin and Georges Cardol for the Carmen recordings.

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