D'Arkor, André

Belgian tenor, 1901 - 1971

Biographical notes:

Born in Tilleur near Liège (Wallonia), André d’Arkor received vocal tuition by Henri Seguin and Malherbe at the Liège Conservatory. He made his debut as Gérald in Délibes’ Lakmé at the local opera house in 1925 and subsequently appeared in the leading tenor roles in La Bohème, Hamlet, Thaïs, Lucia di Lammermoor etc. D’Arkor eventually sang at the Royal Opera in Ghent where he was contracted for three seasons, gradually building up a repertoire of 80 roles! He debuted in Lyon in 1929 as Belmonte in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail. In 1930 he was invited to the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, where he sang Faust and Des Grieux. It was at the La Monnaie he celebrated the greatest success of his career and established himself as an excellent interpreter of lyric and dramatic roles. D’Arkor was to become one of the most important members of the company until the end of his career. In the 1930s, at the peak of his career, he toured the United States, Holland, Germany, France and Switzerland and made a number of records for Columbia, while continuing to appear at the opera houses of Brussels, Ghent and Liège. A problematic relationship to the Flemish soprano Clara Clairbert and World War II restricted his singing career, and in 1945 he retired from the stage to take up the position of a director at the Opéra Royal in Liège (1945 to 1965). Later he served the Théâtre de la Monnaie as artistic director.





In the early 1930s a number of aria recordings by a virtually unknown tenor caused a great stir. Here was a flexible voice with a noble sound, excellently trained with an effortless top which despite its brilliance retained its softness. Not only the difficult roles of grand opera such as Arnold in Guilleaume Tell or Raoul in Les Huguenots seemed to fit this voice like a glove but also the brilliant tenor roles of the opéra-comique (La Dame Blanche, Le Postillon de Lonjumeau) as well as the lyric roles of French opera (Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Lakmé, Manon etc).

D’Arkors is a well-timbered and highly expressive tenor voice. His enunciation is exemplary and he excelled in the Italian as well as in the French repertoire. His breath support is particularly fine, the voice itself smooth in emission and masterly controlled throughout the range. There is an effortless and brilliant top which retained its softness. Interesting enough that he was particularly famous for his recordings of Arnold and Raoul, two roles he never sang on stage! All young tenors should be advised to study this superb tenor!

 Adieu, Mignon, courage (Wilhelm in Mignon / Thomas / Columbia 1931 ( Phonographe)


As Gérald in Lakmé


Clara Clairbert as Lakmé



Recital (Boïeldieu, Rossini, Donizetti, Flotow, Verdi, Gounod, Thomas, Délibes, Massenet, Lalo, Godard, Bazin, Borodin, Mascagni, Puccini, Bach-Gounod, Franck)


Recital (Arias by Meyerbeer, Boïeldieu, Flotow, Délibes, Massenet, Thomas, Gounod, Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, Godard, Bazin, Franck, Haydn)


Excerpts from Thomas’ Mignon (Bastin/Cernay, Tragin, Dumoulin) and arias by Massenet, Délibes, Boïeldieu, Rossini

Music Memoria

Famous Tenors of the Past

Preiser - LV

300 Years Théâtre de la Monnaie

Malibran (4 CD)

Mike Richter’s Opera Page: The Record of Singing Vol. 3



Titles on Preiser-“Lebendige Vergangenheit”:

- La Dame blanche: Ah! quel plaisir d’être soldat / Boïeldieu / Columbia 1931

- La Dame blanche: Viens, gentille dame / Boïeldieu / Columbia 1931

- Guillaume Tell: Asile héréditaire / Rossini / Columbia 1931

- L’Elisire d’amore : Une furtive larme / Donizetti / Columbia 1931

- Les Huguenots: Plus blanche que la blanche hermine / Meyerbeer / Columbia 1931

- Martha: Lorsqu’à mes yeux / Flotow / Columbia 1931

- Rigoletto: Qu’une belle / Verdi / Columbia 1931

- Rigoletto: Comme la plume au vent / Verdi / Columbia 1931

- Mireille: Anges du paradis / Gounod / Columbia 1932

- Mignon: Elle ne croyait pas / Thomas / Columbia 1931

- Mignon: Je suis heureuse / Thomas / with Germaine Cernay / Columbia 1931

- Lakmé: Ah! Viens dans la forêt profonde / Délibes / Columbia 1932

- Manon: En fermant les yeux / Massenet / Columbia 1932

- Le Roi d’Ys: Vainement ma bien-aimée / Lalo / Columbia 1932

- Jocelyn: Cachés dans cet asil / Godard / Columbia 1931

- Maître Pathelin: Je pense à vous / Bazin / Columbia 1931

- Prince Igor: Lentement baissa le jour / Borodin / Columbia 1931

- Cavalleria rusticana: O Lola, blanche fleur / Mascagni / Columbia 1931

- La Bohème: Que cette main est froide / Puccini / Columbia 1931

- Ave Maria / Bach-Gounod / Columbia 1931

- Benedictus / Gounod / with Jane Laval / Columbia 1931

- Panis Angelicus / Franck / Columbia 1931




Many thanks to Jan Neckers for helpful comments