|Year of Birth:||1918|
|Year of Death:||1979|
Tony Poncet (December 23, 1918 - November 13, 1979) was a Spanish-born, French-raised opera tenor. The peak of his career spanned the 1956-to-1966 period, during which time he made a number of recordings and enjoyed a nationwide reputation as an exciting exponent of dramatic roles in the French and Italian operatic repertoires.
Born Antonio Poncé Miron in María, Spain, he came to France with his financially strapped family in 1922 and settled in Bagnères-de-Bigorre. He left school at 13, did manual work and found labouring jobs but, more importantly, began singing as an amateur in 1933 in a travelling choir called Les chanteurs montagnards d'Alfred Roland.
Poncet served with the French army in World War Two, was captured by the Germans and imprisoned. Following his liberation by American forces he returned to France and was awarded a military veterans' scholarship in 1947 to study voice at the Paris Conservatory. At the conservatory, he received lessons from Fernand Francell, Gabriel Dubois and Louise Vuillermoz.
He won first prize in the dramatic tenor category at a singing competition held in Cannes in 1954 and embarked on a concert tour that took him to the United States, Mexico and Canada. Upon his return, he was engaged to sing at several provincial opera theatres in France (Lyon, Avignon, Toulouse and so on), but it was in Belgium that he scored his first big successes, notably at Liège, Ghent and Brussels.