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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 176-200 of 209 Available Recordings
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  • 176.
    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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  • 177.
    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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  • 178.
    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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  • 179.
    Verdi: Macbeth / Abbado, Verrett, Cappuccilli, Domingo Et Al
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 449732 Release Date: 01/28/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Shirley Verrett,  Stefania Malagú,  Placido Domingo,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 180.
    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
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  • 181.
    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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  • 182.
    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: $8.99
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  • 183.
    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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  • 184.
    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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  • 185.
    Essential Opera - Bizet, Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 433822 Release Date: 02/11/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Leo Nucci,  Placido Domingo,  Piero de Palma,  Montserrat Caballé  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Patané,  Sir Georg Solti,  Zubin Mehta,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
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  • 186.
    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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  • 187.
    Gounod: Faust / Bonynge, Sutherland, Corelli, Ghiaurov
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 421240 Release Date: 10/11/1991   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Raymond Myers,  Franco Corelli,  Monica Sinclair,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
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  • 188.
    Klemperer Edition- Mozart: Don Giovanni / Ghiaurov, Gedda
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 63841 Release Date: 08/16/1991   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Franz Crass,  Paolo Montarsolo,  Walter Berry,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 189.
    Bellini: La Sonnambula / Bonynge, Sutherland, Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 417424 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Isobel Buchanan,  Della Jones,  John Tomlinson,  Piero de Palma  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Opera Chorus
    CD: $33.99
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  • 190.
    Gounod: Faust / Prêtre, Domingo, Freni, Ghiaurov, Paris
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 47493 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Michèle Command,  Thomas Allen,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opera Chorus,  Paris Opera Orchestra
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  • 191.
    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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  • 192.
    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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  • 193.
    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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  • 194.
    Rossini: William Tell / Milnes, Pavarotti, Freni, Chailly
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 417154 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  John Noble,  Elizabeth Connell,  Ferruccio Mazzoli,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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    On sale! $67.99
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  • 195.
    The Best Of Domingo
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415366 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jacques Offenbach,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Giovanni Foiani,  Ruggero Raimondi,  Edita Gruberova,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Richard Bonynge,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Lausanne Pro Arte Chorus  ... 
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  • 196.
    Verdi: Don Carlo / Karajan, Carreras, Freni, Ghiaurov, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 69304 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Agnes Baltsa,  Piero Cappuccilli,  Ruggero Raimondi,  Edita Gruberova  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus
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  • 197.
    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
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  • 198.
    Verdi: Il Trovatore / Bonynge, Pavarotti, Sutherland, Horne
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 417137 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Marilyn Horne,  Ingvar Wixell,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Opera Chorus,  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 199.
    Verdi: Nabucco / Muti, Manuguerra, Scotto, Ghiaurov
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 47488 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Matteo Manuguerra,  Renata Scotto,  Elena Obraztsova,  Veriano Luchetti  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 200.
    Donizetti: La Favorita / Bonynge, Cossotto, Pavarotti, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 430038 Release Date: 09/12/1990   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Gabriel Bacquier,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bologna Teatro Comunale Chorus,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra
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