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Arkor studied singing in his home city of Liège and in Brussels with the teachers Malherbe and Seguin. He made his operatic début in 1924 at Liège as Gérald/Lakmé, followed by the leading tenor rôles in such operas as La Bohème, Hamlet, Thaïs, and Lucia di Lammermoor; and then moved to Ghent where he sang for three seasons. In 1929 he made his début at Lyons as Belmonte/Die Entführung aus dem Serail and in 1930 was invited to join the opera company of the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, making his début as Gounod’s Faust and remaining with this company as its principal lyric tenor for fifteen years. At the Monnaie Arkor sang more than forty rôles and took part in several first performances, including Le preziose ridicole by Lattuada. Among the operettas in which he sang were Lehár’s Der Zarewitsch (1937) and Das Land des Lächelns (1940).

In 1931 at the Opéra-Comique in Paris Arkor sang Des Grieux/Manon, going on to enjoy a successful career in many French provincial opera houses and as a concert singer, touring the USA in 1934, as well as Holland, Germany, France and Switzerland. He also made numerous records for the Columbia label. A combination of World War II and his difficult relationship with the Flemish soprano Clara Clairbert restricted Arkor’s career, causing him to retire in 1945. However between 1945 and 1965 he served as artistic director of the opera house at Liège and later as an artistic adviser to the Théâtre de la Monnaie.

Arkor’s repertoire extended to eighty parts, covering the major rôles of the French, Italian and Austro-German lyric tenor repertoire. As his recordings testify, he combined security and strength throughout the whole vocal range with the ability to deliver the nuances and delicate head voice that are the hallmarks of the classic French tenor style.

© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Patmore (A–Z of Singers, Naxos 8.558097-100).

Role: Classical Artist 
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