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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 151-175 of 208 Available Recordings
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  • 151.
    Rossini Gala / Sutherland, Pavarotti, Horne, Berganza, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 458247 Release Date: 02/13/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Fernando Corena,  Luigi Alva,  Rolando Panerai  ... 
    Conductor:  Silvio Varviso,  Alberto Erede,  Henry Lewis,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra  ... 
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  • 152.
    Grand Tier - Rossini: Mose / Sawallisch, Ghiaurov, Verrett, Petri, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1292 Release Date: 01/01/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Shirley Verrett,  Mario Petri,  Gloria Lane,  Teresa Zylis-Gara  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Chorus Rome,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome
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  • 153.
    Recitals - Gianni Raimondi Vol 2 - Arias & Scenes
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 2026 Release Date: 10/17/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Charles Gounod,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Gianni Raimondi,  Mirella Freni,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Margherita Carosio
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Georges Prêtre,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Alfredo Simonetto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 154.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Night On Bare Mountain / Karajan, Maazel
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469169 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Galina Vishnevskaya,  Alexei Maslennikov  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Lorin Maazel,  Neeme Järvi,  Mikhail Pletnev  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 155.
    Recitals - Giulietta Simionato Vol 1
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 2034 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Christoph W. Gluck
    Performer:  Giulietta Simionato,  Franco Corelli,  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Nino Sanzogno,  Herbert von Karajan,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Milan,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 156.
    Verdi: Highlights From Operas / Domingo, Scotto, Et Al
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469217 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Ivo Vinco,  Alfredo Giacomotti,  Renata Scotto,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Rafael Kubelik,  Carlos Kleiber,  Claudio Abbado  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 157.
    Joan Sutherland - Mad Scenes
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458243 Release Date: 08/08/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Ambroise Thomas,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giacomo Meyerbeer
    Performer:  Pier Francesco Poli,  Sherrill Milnes,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Welsh National Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 158.
    Verdi: Simon Boccanegra / Abbado, Cappuccilli, Freni, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1255 Release Date: 07/18/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Felice Schiavi,  Giovanni Foiani,  Gianfranco Manganotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 159.
    Cherubini: Medea / Schippers, Callas, Vickers, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1251 Release Date: 06/20/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Luigi Cherubini
    Performer:  Giulietta Simionato,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Jon Vickers,  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 160.
    Verdi: Don Carlo / Ghiaurov, Prevedi, Abbado, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1239 Release Date: 05/30/2000   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Gianfranco Maganotti,  Margherita Guglielmi,  Piero de Palma,  Antonio Zerbini  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 161.
    Meyerbeer: Les Huguenots / Sutherland, Corelli, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1217 Release Date: 05/23/2000   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giacomo Meyerbeer
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Giorgio Tozzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 162.
    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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  • 163.
    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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  • 164.
    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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  • 165.
    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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  • 166.
    Recitals - An Evening With Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 2000 Release Date: 04/20/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Charles Gounod,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov
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  • 167.
    Rossini: The Barber Of Seville / Varviso, Berganza, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 452591 Release Date: 03/09/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Dino Mantovani,  Manuel Ausensi,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Stefania Malagú  ... 
    Conductor:  Silvio Varviso
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Naples Rossini Chorus,  Naples Rossini Orchestra
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  • 168.
    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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  • 169.
    Donizetti: Arias / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458203 Release Date: 08/11/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Roger Soyer,  Eric Garrett
    Conductor:  Edward Downes,  Richard Bonynge,  Leone Magiera
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
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  • 170.
    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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  • 171.
    Grand Opera Choruses
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458205 Release Date: 05/12/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Hector Berlioz,  Otto Nicolai  ... 
    Performer:  James McCracken,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Samuel Ramey,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Charles Dutoit,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra  ... 
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  • 172.
    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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  • 173.
    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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  • 174.
    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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  • 175.
    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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