Stéphane Degout was born in Bourg-en-Bresse in 1975 and studied in Lyon, where he began his singing career at the Opéra Nationale; he went on to appear in many of France’s major houses including the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and the Paris Opera and subsequently throughout Europe and the United States, making his Metropolitan Opera debut as Mercutio in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette in 2005 and his Covent Garden debut as Dandini in Rossini’s La cenerentola in 2007. Key roles include Mozart’s Count Almaviva, Debussy’s Pélleas, and Thesée in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie (both of the latter are available on DVD in multiple productions). He has also created several significant roles in contemporary opera, including The King in George Benjamin’s 2018 opera Lessons in Love and Violence, and the impresario in Philippe Boesmans’s Pinocchio (premiered at Aix-en-pProvence in 2017 and released on CD and DVD by Cypres the following year).
His discography also includes Chorèbe on John Nelson’s award-winning recording of Berlioz’s Les Troyens in 2017, Charpentier’s Leçons de ténèbres with Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo, and the hugely successful Enfers, a concept-album exploring the concept of the Classical underworld through the music of Rameau and Gluck (‘[Degout] possesses the rare facility to mix raw muscle with the subtlest caresses’ – BBC Music Magazine). Awards and honours include second prize at the 2002 Operalia Competition, the title of Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres 2012), and Music Personality of the Year 2017-18 (French Association of Critics, Theater, Music and Dance).
Further Reading: Stéphane Degout
Tabea Zimmermann and Stéphane Degout are the soloists in period-instrument performances of Harold en Italie & Les nuits d'été.
The British composer's third opera, based on the downfall of Edward II and starring French baritone Stéphane Degout as the conflicted monarch, has a compact, claustrophobic beauty.