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 126-150 of 153 Available Recordings
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  • 126.
    Mussorgsky: Khovanshchina / Leskovich, Ghiaurov, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1247 Release Date: 05/23/2000   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Veriano Luchetti,  Siegmund Nimsgern,  Elena Suliotis,  Herbert Handt  ... 
    Conductor:  Bogo Leskovich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Italian Radio Chorus Rome
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  • 127.
    Puccini: La Bohème / Freni, Pavarotti
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 2 Release Date: 11/30/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Gino Quillico,  Mirella Freni,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Luciano Pavarotti
    Conductor:  Tiziano Severini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Opera Chorus,  San Francisco Opera Orchestra
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  • 128.
    Tu, Tu, Amore - Puccini's Greatest Love Songs
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 466775 Release Date: 09/14/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Elizabeth Harwood,  Rolando Panerai,  Mirella Freni,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Zubin Mehta,  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra  ... 
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  • 129.
    Verdi: Rigoletto / Giulini, Cappuccilli, Cotrubas, Domingo
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 457753 Release Date: 06/15/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Piero Cappuccilli,  Placido Domingo,  Elena Obraztsova,  Ileana Cotrubas  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 130.
    Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov / Karajan, Ghiaurov, Borg
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1170 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Gerhard Stolze,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Kim Borg,  Alexei Maslennikov  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Croatian National Opera Chorus,  Salzburg Festival Chamber Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 131.
    Puccini: Turandot - Highlights / Mehta, Sutherland, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458202 Release Date: 08/11/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Montserrat Caballé,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Sabin Markov  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir
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  • 132.
    Puccini Gala - Famous Arias / Caballé, Carreras, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458212 Release Date: 05/12/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Montserrat Caballé,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Tom Krause  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Lorin Maazel,  Nello Santi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra  ... 
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  • 133.
    Verdi: Simon Boccanegra / Abbado, Freni, Cappuccilli, Et Al
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 449752 Release Date: 01/27/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  José Van Dam,  Mirella Freni,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Piero Cappuccilli  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 134.
    Donizetti: Anna Bolena / Varviso, Souliotis, Ghiaurov
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 455069 Release Date: 11/11/1997   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Janet Coster,  Marilyn Horne,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  John Alexander  ... 
    Conductor:  Silvio Varviso
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Opera Orchestra
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  • 135.
    Mozart: Don Giovanni / Bruscantini, Ghiaurov, Kraus
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1144 Release Date: 09/16/1997   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Walter Monachesi,  Olivera Miljakovic,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Gundula Janowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Italian Radio Chorus Rome
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  • 136.
    Rossini: Il Barbiere Di Siviglia / Santini, Cossotto, Alva
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1133 Release Date: 09/16/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Sesto Bruscantini,  Luigi Alva,  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Gabriele Santini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 137.
    Verdi: Nabucco / Gavazzeni, Guelfi, Suliotis, Ghiaurov
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1130 Release Date: 09/16/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Elena Suliotis,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Gianni Raimondi,  Giovanni Foiani  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 138.
    Grosse Mozartsänger Vol 3 - Opernarien 1961-1982
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 394301 Release Date: 09/19/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  James Morris,  Francisco Araiza,  Margaret Marshall,  Kathleen Battle  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  James Levine,  Karl Böhm,  Seiji Ozawa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $19.99
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  • 139.
    Russian Songs - Tchaikovsky, Et Al / Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 443024 Release Date: 03/14/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Anonymous,  Alexander Dargomizhsky,  Anton Rubinstein  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Zlatina Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Atanas Margaritov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kaval Orchestra,  Kaval Chorus
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  • 140.
    Pavarotti's Opera Made Easy - My Favorite Opera For Everyone
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 443818 Release Date: 08/23/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Jacques Offenbach,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Huguette Tourangeau,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Silvio Varviso,  Giuseppe Patané,  Richard Bonynge,  Nicola Rescigno  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Radio Chorus  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 141.
    Ti Amo - Puccini's Greatest Love Songs
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425099 Release Date: 10/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Tom Krause,  Montserrat Caballé,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Herbert von Karajan,  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 142.
    Massenet: Le Roi De Lahore / Bonynge, Sutherland, Lima, Milnes, Morris
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 433851 Release Date: 01/19/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Gareth Morrell,  David Wilson-Johnson,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  John Tomlinson  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Opera Chorus,  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 143.
    Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov / Tchakarov, Ghiaurov, Ghiuselev
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 45763 Release Date: 11/15/1991   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Josef Frank,  Nicolai Ghiuselev,  Michael Svetlev,  Stefka Mineva  ... 
    Conductor:  Emil Tchakarov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sofia National Opera Chorus,  Sofia Festival Orchestra
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  • 144.
    Puccini: La Boheme - Highlights / Karajan, Pavarotti, Freni
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 421245 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Rolando Panerai,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Gianni Maffeo,  Elizabeth Harwood  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Schöneberg Boys Choir
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  • 145.
    Puccini: La Bohème / Karajan, Freni, Pavarotti, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 421049 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Elizabeth Harwood,  Mirella Freni,  Rolando Panerai  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Schöneberg Boys Choir,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 146.
    Puccini: Turandot / Mehta, Sutherland, Pavarotti, Caballé
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 414274 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Peter Pears,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir,  John Alldis Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 147.
    Verdi: Don Carlos / Abbado, Domingo, Ricciarelli, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415316 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Giuseppe Morresi,  Libero Bullo,  Sebastiano Gernone,  Ferdinando Meret  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    CD: $72.99
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  • 148.
    Verdi: Rigoletto / Chailly, Pavarotti, Nucci, Anderson
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425864 Release Date: 11/13/1989   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Leo Nucci,  Natale de Carolis,  June Anderson  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Chorus
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  • 149.
    Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin / Solti, Weikl, Burrows, Ghiaurov
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 417413 Release Date: 05/11/1987   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Stuart Burrows,  Julia Hamari,  Bernd Weikl,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir
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  • 150.
    Verdi: Requiem / Abbado, Ricciarelli, Domingo, Ghiaurov
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415976 Release Date: 05/12/1986   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Katia Ricciarelli,  Shirley Verrett,  Placido Domingo,  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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