Nicolai Ghiaurov

Biography

Born: September 13, 1929   Died: June 2, 2004  
Ghiaurov excelled in both the Slavic and the Italian and French operatic repertoire, and he also moved with ease from serious to comic roles, though the serious roles played a greater part in his career. At times, he even took on some of the lower baritone roles, Mozart's Don Giovanni and Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen. He was also noted for his acting and compelling stage presence. During his prime, his voice was among the richest and most sonorous Read more basses of the twentieth century, and even as much of its freshness and bloom was gone toward the end of his career, it retained its expressiveness and technical excellence.

Though his family was quite poor, they encouraged him to explore his interest in singing, and when he entered adolescence, he borrowed instruments so he could learn clarinet, violin, and trombone. He also began to take acting lessons, briefly considering a career as an actor rather than a musician. When he entered the army, where he was a clarinetist and conducted the chorus, his singing talents came to the attention of the authorities, who enabled him to study with Christo Brambarov, and later at the Moscow Conservatory. His studies were conservative -- for the first year, he did nothing but vocal exercises over one octave -- a fact to which he attributed his spectacular vocal longevity. Brambarov introduced him to Italian style, a rarity for Russian singers during that time. He made his stage debut as Don Basilio in Rossini's The Barber of Seville at the Sofia Opera in 1955 and made his Bolshoi debut as Pimen in Boris Godunov in 1957. His Italian debut was as Méphistophélès in Gounod's Faust at the Teatro Communale in Rome the next year. His Covent Garden debut came in 1962 as the Padre Guardiano in Verdi's La forza del destino. At the 1965 Salzburg Festival, he first sang the title role of Boris Godunov, a role generally considered the greatest challenge in the Russian bass repertoire. Aside from opera, he frequently performed and recorded Russian songs. Ghiaurov has established a place in musical history through his recorded legacy. His Boris was recorded commercially twice, once each in the "original" and Rimsky-Korsakov versions. He recorded Don Carlos in the studio three times, twice as Filippo and once (in the original French version) as the Grand Inquisitor. His early London/Decca aria recitals accurately document the size and beauty of his voice. He is also heard in Giulini's recording of Verdi's Requiem.

He was married to Italian soprano Mirella Freni and participated in guiding her into her forays into the Russian repertoire, notably Tatiana in Eugene Onegin and Lisa in Pique Dame. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 149 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Opera Gold: 100 Great Tracks
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002503602 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Marilyn Horne,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Henry Lewis,  Richard Bonynge,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 2.
    Verdi: Nabucco / Muti, Manuguerra, Philharmonia
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555536 Release Date: 05/20/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Matteo Manuguerra,  Veriano Luchetti,  Elena Obraztsova  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Verdi: The Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002459302 Release Date: 03/25/2016   Number of Discs: 75
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Violeta Urmana,  Stuart Neill,  Maria Guleghina,  Samuel Ramey  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Lamberto Gardelli,  James Levine,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Voices,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $220.99
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  • 4.
    The Decca Sound [Repackaged Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434502 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 5.
    Verdi: Aida / Muti, Domingo, Ghiaurov, Caballe, Cossotto, Roni
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 554005 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Placido Domingo,  Piero Cappuccilli,  Luigi Roni  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Trumpeters of the Royal Military School of Music,
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 6.
    Karajan - The Opera Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002328102 Release Date: 07/31/2015   Number of Discs: 70
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Franz Lehár,  Franz von Suppé  ... 
    Performer:  Heinz Zednik,  Christine Barbaux,  Katia Ricciarelli,  José Van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Paris Opera Chorus,  Schöneberg Boys Choir  ... 
    CD: $279.49
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  • 7.
    Verdi: Aida / Maazel, Chiara, Pavarotti,  Dimitrova, Pons
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109086 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Paata Burchuladze,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Maria Chiara,  Ghena Dimitrova  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    DVD: $18.99
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  • 8.
    Verdi: Aida / Maazel, Chiara, Pavarotti,  Dimitrova, Pons [blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109087 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Paata Burchuladze,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Maria Chiara,  Ghena Dimitrova  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    Blu-ray Video: $18.99
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  • 9.
    Voce D'Angelo - The Complete Decca Recordings / Renata Tebaldi
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4781535 Release Date: 01/20/2015   Number of Discs: 66
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Umberto Giordano,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Giovanni Inghilleri,  Giacinto Prandelli,  Melchiorre Luise,  Fernando Corena  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Tullio Serafin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 10.
    Classic Duets / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002232209 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  June Anderson,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti,  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir Georg Solti,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    DVD: $11.99
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  • 11.
    Puccini: Turandot / Mehta, Sutherland, Pavarotti, Caballe [2 Cds & 1 Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002220946 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Peter Pears,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir
    CD: $57.49
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  • 12.
    Classic Duets / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002200802 Release Date: 11/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  June Anderson,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti,  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir Georg Solti,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 13.
    Cherubini: Medea / Schippers, Callas, Vickers, Ghiaurov
    Label: Myto Records   Catalog: 292 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Luigi Cherubini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Jon Vickers,  Giulietta Simionato,  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    CD: $12.99
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  • 14.
    The Verdi Tenor / Carlo Bergonzi
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002089202 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Performer:  Giulietta Simionato,  Cornell MacNeil,  Carlo Bergonzi,  Piero de Palma  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Georg Solti,  John Pritchard,  Rafael Kubelik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Friends of Music Society,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 15.
    Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, L'italiana in Algeri, La Donna del Lago, Mose
    Label: Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog: 9920 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Ornella Rovero,  Nicola Monti,  Mario Petri  ... 
    Conductor:  Mario Rossi,  Piero Bellugi,  Claudio Abbado,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Naples Teatro San Carlo Chorus,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin  ... 
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  • 16.
    Verdi: Rigoletto; La Traviata; Un Ballo En Maschera; Don Carlo; Falstaff
    Label: Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog: 9922 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Rita Bezzi,  Arturo La Porta,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Renata Scotto  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Nino Verchi,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Horst Stein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Florence Teatro Comunale Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
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  • 17.
    Giulini In Vienna
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002037702 Release Date: 05/19/2014   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli,  Andreas Schmidt,  Barbara Bonney,  Lazar Berman  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 18.
    Luciano Pavarotti Edition 1 - The First Decade
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002051802 Release Date: 05/19/2014   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Josephine Veasey,  Cornelius Opthof  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Zubin Mehta,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $157.49
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  • 19.
    Leonard Bernstein Collection Vol 1 [59 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 2027800 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Leonard Bernstein,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Kurt Moll,  Hanna Schwarz  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Concert Choir,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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    CD: $259.49
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  • 20.
    Verdi: Don Carlos / Abbado, Domingo, Ricciarelli, Raimondi
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001930502 Release Date: 11/11/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Tibère Raffalli,  Aldo Bramante,  Bruno Grella,  Paolo Mazzotta  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    CD: $39.99
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  • 21.
    The 50 Greatest Tracks / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001922802 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Malcolm King,  Robert Lloyd  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Richard Bonynge,  Edward Downes  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 22.
    Claudio Abbado – The Decca Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001847802 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  James King,  Leslie Fyson,  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Ambrosian Chorus  ... 
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  • 23.
    Borodin: Prince Igor / Tchakarov, Ghiaurov
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94608 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin
    Performer:  Kaludi Kaludov,  Boris Martinovich,  Nicolai Ghiuselev,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Emil Tchakarov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sofia National Opera Chorus,  Sofia Festival Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Mozart: Operas / Otto Klemperer [11-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 43782 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Yvonne Minton,  Sir Geraint Evans,  Luigi Alva  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Chorus  ... 
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  • 25.
    The Verdi Opera Selection Vol 2 - Nabucco, Simon Boccanegra, Aida
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 107526 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Paata Burchuladze,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Maria Chiara,  Ghena Dimitrova  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Fabio Luisi,  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
    DVD: $58.99
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