Horace Poussard

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Horace Poussard (1829-1898)[1] was a French classical violinist and composer and company manager.


Born Horace Remi Poussard on 11 June, 1829 in Château-Gontier, the son of music teacher and conductor Charles Francois Poussard. He studied at the Conservatoire de Paris, graduating with the First Class prize in violin in 1849 and began his career as a professional violinist in the 1850s with concerts in Paris, Vienna, and Constantinople. He also travelled through Hungary, Greece, Wallachia, and the British Isles. In 1860 he appeared in London, and in 1861 Poussard and fedllow violinist René Douay toured Australia and New Zealand. During this period, their repertoire consisted mainly of more popular pieces, easily recognised by the inhabitants of the newly emerging country. To commemorate the exploration (and death) of Burke and Wills on their journey across Australia, Poussard wrote "The Dead Heroes," a musical poem of 17 stanzas incorporating well known existing tunes. The song was really well received.

In 1864, Douay having succumbed to mental illness in Melbourne Horace and joined forces with singer Florence Beverley ( performing as Florence Calzado), Robert Smythe and the latter's wife, the soprano Amelia Bailey, to found the Poussard-Bailey Opera Company, with which they undertook a 4-year tour of India and South Africa, giving more than 300 performances.

Poussard returned to France in December 1868 and continued performing in France and the British Isles, and marrying the Opera Comique singer Louise Felicie Jean (Lottie Montal) in London in 1874.

He returned to Australia in 1883 returned to Australia to perform and teach piano and violin. His last tour was to New Zealand in 1890, and he died in Sydney in 1898.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

He spent two years working in South Africa, having arrived at the Cape from Mauritius with the Poussard-Bailey Company. In that time they toured most of the country, making 150 appearances in all.

In November 1868, the company temporarily broke up when the two men, manager Robert Sparrow Smythe and violinist Horace Poussard left for England and France, while two singers, Amelia Bailey and Florence Calzado, stayed on at the Cape for a while.



D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 223, 243-6

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