pars media // films // Belcanto - The Tenors of the 78 Era // 8 Thill (1897-1984)

scene: A wine-growing estate in Lorgues in the South of France. After the early conclusion of his career Georges Thill retired to Provence, where his wife still lives, to teach and grow wine.

music: Meyerbeer, Charpentier, Wagner, Gounod, Canteloube, Chansons

analysis: Salut, demeure (Faust, Gounod), 1930

He had taken a noble singing style from the tradition of De Lucia but became a very puristic, linear singer. He was a contemporary of Toscanini and had adopted the same strict style which gripped all Europe at the time. (Kesting) Georges Thill was a painter in singing. When you hear him, you realize that voice production gave him sensual pleasure. He colours the vowels like a gourmet who can identify each kind of fruit, fish, or vintage wine. (Reiss)

Georges Thill was an extraordinary vocal technician. He had developed his voice and morphology to perfection. A singer's morphology is very important. Most singers have a very broad face, and plenty of space for resonance. (Reiss) I would not condemn anyone to a tenor's life! One feels happy if one has given pleasure to the audience. Then you can say to yourself: "I've made it!" But getting there is misery! Your digestion is ruined, you can never sleep. It is either too hot or too cold. Exhaustion from beginning to end. De Lucia said: "You are only good once a year." (Georges Thill, 1977) When an Italian sings 'amore' he can stretch the 'o' out for ever and the 'r' is only a tiny bridge leading to the 'e'. If I sing 'chaste et pure' in French I must form a number of consonants perfectly and then I cannot create so much tonal pressure. I therefore have to sing everything more lightly. (Kesting)

He will always be the greatest example of a French tenor and of the interpretation of the French repertoire. But he is a regional product like crêpes or marmelade or olive oil. (Reiss)