French tenor Jean-Paul Fouchécourt is one of the leading singers on the early music scene and one of the most successful performers of the high tenor (in French haute-contre) roles in French Baroque opera. He began studying music at the age of ten and initially chose the saxophone as his main area of concentration. He became a professional saxophonist, teaching on the university level and actively performing. Then, after a brief period as a conductor, he had a fortuitous meeting with the soprano Cathy Berberian, who urged him to devote himself to singing full time. Around the same time, he met conductor William Christie, who in the mid-'80s was just beginning to attract attention by reviving French Baroque operas. Fouchécourt has collaborated with Christie and his ensemble, Les Arts Florissants, in numerous performances and recordings. Fouchécourt has also worked with other early music specialists, including Martin Gester, Herve Niquet, Philippe Herreweghe, Rene Jacobs, Nicholas McGegan, Christophe Rousset, and Marc Minkowski. Under the baton of Minkowski, Fouchécourt sang the role of Hippolyte in a recording of Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie (nominated for Gramophone's Best Early Opera Award). He has appeared in major international opera houses and concert halls, including the Opéra de Paris, the Théâtre du Chatelet, the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, the Théâtre de Lausanne, the Opera de Lyon, Amsterdam Opera, the Salzburg Festival, the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, and the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffman and he recorded Poulenc's Les mamelles de Tirésias with Seiji Ozawa. He received international attention for his interpretation of the title role in Rameau's Platée ou Junon jalouse in a joint production of the Edinburgh Festival and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Other projects include a disc of French romances from the nineteenth century. Fouchécourt also formed the Novalis Vocal Quartet with his colleagues from the Paris Baroque scene Bernard Deletré, Veronique Gens, and Brigitte Vinson, and taught at the Paris Conservatory from 1994 to 1997.
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