Jean Bonhomme

Jean (Robert Gérard Joseph) Bonhomme. Tenor, b Ottawa 14 Feb 1937, d there19 Jun l986; BA (Ottawa) 1957. He studied 1961-4 with Raoul Jobin privately and 1962-4 with George Lambert at the RCMT, winning the top vocal award in the 1964 CBC Talent Festival.

Bonhomme, Jean

Jean (Robert Gérard Joseph) Bonhomme. Tenor, b Ottawa 14 Feb 1937, d there19 Jun l986; BA (Ottawa) 1957. He studied 1961-4 with Raoul Jobin privately and 1962-4 with George Lambert at the RCMT, winning the top vocal award in the 1964 CBC Talent Festival. In 1964 he sang the title role in the Royal Cons Opera School (University of Toronto Opera Division) production of Milhaud's Le Pauvre Matelot and made his debut at the Stratford Festival. After singing 1964-5 at the Sadler's Wells Opera, London, he was Fatty in Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at Stratford and Rodolfo in La Bohème in his COC debut (1965).

Under the sponsorship of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, Bonhomme continued his studies 1965-6 in Geneva with Maria Carpi and in Rome with Luigi Ricci. As a principal tenor 1965-9 at Covent Garden he sang leading roles, including Aeneas in The Trojans, alternating with Jon Vickers, and Rodolfo, the latter for Royal Opera House Covent Garden - Covent Garden Opera Anniversary Album (1968, 2-Lon OS 26088-26089). He again returned to Canada in 1969.

Bonhomme sang in COC productions (Faust 1966, 1974; Carmen 1970) and with several European and US companies, including the Budapest, Marseilles, Netherlands, and Paris operas and the Houston Grand Opera and New Orleans and Santa Fe operas. With the Opéra du Québec he sang the roles of Luigi in Il Tabarro (1971) and Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana (1973); for the Southern Alberta Opera Association, he sang the title role in Faust (1975).

He gave recitals (including one at Expo 67), appeared as soloist with the London and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras and with the MSO, the TS, the NACO, and the Quebec, Winnipeg, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, and on CBC radio. His outstanding role was that of Don José (over 30 performances in two productions at Covent Garden,12 performances in South Africa in 1972, etc). He also performed as soloist in Bach's St John Passion, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and other major choral works. Bonhomme retired from singing in 1976 and returned to Ottawa where he worked for the Dept of Correctional Services.

The critic for the Houston Chronicle, reviewing (6 Oct 1971) his Houston debut as Don José in Carmen, praised his 'superb voice... fine articulation, perfect clarity and projection'.