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 224 Available Recordings
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  • 151.
    Verdi: La Forza Del Destino / Solti, Bergonzi, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1325 Release Date: 01/08/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Josephine Veasey,  Floriana Cavalli,  Carlo Bergonzi,  Rhydderich Davis  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 152.
    The Pavarotti Edition
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470000 Release Date: 11/13/2001   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Antonio Caldara,  Vincenzo Ciampi,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Montserrat Caballé,  Jane Shaulis,  John Wustman  ... 
    Conductor:  István Kertész,  Piero Gamba,  Nicola Rescigno,  Peter Maag  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 153.
    Great Performances - Maria Callas
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 5001 Release Date: 11/06/2001   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Luigi Cherubini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Alfredo Giacomotti,  Ivana Tosini,  Edith Martelli,  Limbania Leoni  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers,  Guido Picco,  Umberto Mugnai,  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Mexico City Palacio de Bellas Artes Orchestra  ... 
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  • 154.
    Verdi: The Tenor Arias / Placido Domingo
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471335 Release Date: 10/09/2001   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Wladimiro Ganzarolli,  Gwynne Howell,  Leontyne Price  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Valery Gergiev,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Zubin Mehta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra  ... 
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  • 155.
    Domingo - The Verdi Tenor
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471478 Release Date: 09/25/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Rosalind Plowright,  Placido Domingo,  Walter Gullino,  Sergei Leiferkus  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Carlos Kleiber,  Claudio Abbado,  Myung-Whun Chung  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 156.
    A Portrait Of Pavarotti - Highlights From Pavarotti Edition
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470050 Release Date: 09/18/2001   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Eduardo Di Capua  ... 
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Robert Kerns,  Ida Bormida  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno,  Richard Bonynge,  Piero Gamba,  Giuseppe Patané  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 157.
    The Singers - Franco Corelli
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467918 Release Date: 09/18/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Riccardo Zandonai,  Giacomo Puccini,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Renata Tebaldi,  Alfredo Mariotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Anton Guadagno,  Lorin Maazel,  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Léman Chorus  ... 
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  • 158.
    Verdi: Aida / Muti, Caballé, Domingo, Cossotto, Ghiaurov
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 67617 Release Date: 09/11/2001   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Placido Domingo,  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Military School Fanfare Trumpeters,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 159.
    Essential Puccini - 36 of His Greatest Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 460969 Release Date: 08/14/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  José Carreras,  Mario Del Monaco,  Renata Tebaldi  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Franco Capuana,  Herbert von Karajan,  Zubin Mehta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra  ... 
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  • 160.
    Gounod: Faust / Pretre, Raimondi, Ghiaurov, Freni, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1294 Release Date: 05/01/2001   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Gianni Raimondi,  Luigi Alva,  Robert Massard,  Alfredo Giacomotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Scala Philharmonic Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 161.
    Verdi: Messa Da Requiem, Etc / Giulini, Schwarzkopf, Et Al
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 67563 Release Date: 04/10/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Christa Ludwig,  Nicolai Gedda,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
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  • 162.
    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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  • 163.
    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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  • 164.
    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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  • 165.
    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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  • 166.
    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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  • 167.
    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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  • 168.
    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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  • 169.
    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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  • 170.
    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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  • 171.
    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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  • 172.
    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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  • 173.
    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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  • 174.
    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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  • 175.
    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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