- J.B. Steane
(b St Chinian, Oct 23, 1858; d Cagnes-sur-Mer, Dec 27, 1931). French tenor. For 20 years he was a principal lyric-heroic tenor at the Opéra in Paris. Its director, Pierre Gailhard, had heard him in the provinces and arranged for lessons with Victor Duvernoy. Affré’s house début as Edgardo in 1890 coincided with Melba’s, in Lucia di Lammermoor. He developed a large repertory, appearing in Gluck’s Armide and also in the first performances at the Opéra of Entführung and Pagliacci. In 1891 he sang in the première of Le mage by Massenet, who found his voice ‘vibrant as pure crystal’. At Covent Garden in 1909 his roles were Faust and Saint-Saëns’s Samson. He went to the USA in 1911, appearing at San Francisco and New Orleans where in 1913 he became director of the Opera. He was a prolific recording artist and sang Romeo in one of the earliest complete operatic recordings (...