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 26-50 of 221 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Verdi: 6 Great Operas / Claudio Abbado [14-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001725702 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Elena Obraztsova,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Leo Nucci  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 27.
    Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin / Weikl, Kubiak, Solti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001727402 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Stuart Burrows,  Teresa Kubiak,  Julia Hamari,  Bernd Weikl  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Massenet Edition [23-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001693202 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Régine Crespin,  Gabriel Bacquier,  Michèle Command,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Kazimierz Kord,  Richard Bonynge,  Julius Rudel,  Enrique Diemecke  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Radio Chorus,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $107.49
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  • 29.
    Great Voices Of The Century / Bartoli, Prey, Schock, Domingo, Wunderlich, Callas
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 9056 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Lucia Aliberti,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Piero Cappuccilli,  Rudolf Schock  ... 
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  • 30.
    Joan Sutherland - Legendary Performances
    Label: Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog: 9915 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Michael Tippett,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Dino Dondi,  Giuseppe Campora,  Raina Kabaivanska  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  John Pritchard,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 31.
    Verdi: Don Carlo (Highlights) / Karajan, Carreras, Freni, Ghiaurov, Raimondi
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 29037 Release Date: 02/07/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  José Carreras,  Mirella Freni,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Agnes Baltsa  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus
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  • 32.
    Verdi: Messa Da Requiem, Quattro Pezzi Sacri / Giulini
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85219 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Christa Ludwig,  Nicolai Gedda,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
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  • 33.
    Donizetti: Lucia Di Lammermoor / Bonynge, Sutherland, Milnes, Ghiaurov
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001616002 Release Date: 11/21/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Ryland Davies,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 34.
    Verdi: Rigoletto / Chailly, Pavarotti, Nucci, Anderson, Verrett, Ghiaurov
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001614902 Release Date: 11/21/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Natale de Carolis,  Roberto Scaltriti,  Vitalba Mosca  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bologna Teatro Comunale Chorus,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra
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  • 35.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   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: $175.49
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  • 36.
    Magic Moments Of Opera
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 107515 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Isobel Buchanan,  Placido Domingo,  Elena Obraztsova,  Yuri Mazurok  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlos Kleiber,  Theodor Guschlbauer,  Iván Fischer,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Paris National Opera Chorus  ... 
    DVD: $118.99
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  • 37.
    Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov / Ghiaurov, Karajan
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 7084 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Gertrude Jahn,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Najejda Dobrianova,  Gerhard Stolze  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Salzburg Festival Chamber Chorus  ... 
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  • 38.
    Gounod: Faust - Highlights / Pretre, Domingo, Freni
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94862 Release Date: 06/21/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Marc Vento,  Thomas Allen,  Michèle Command,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opera Chorus,  Paris Opera Orchestra
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  • 39.
    The Opera Album 2011
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001566102 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Bryn Terfel,  Anna Netrebko,  Andrea Bocelli,  Jonas Kaufmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth,  Gianandrea Noseda,  Zubin Mehta,  Antonio Pappano  ... 
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  • 40.
    Great Singers Live - Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900304 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Mikhail Glinka  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre,  Alfredo Antonini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Munich Radio Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Verdi: La Forza Del Destino / Patane, Carreras, Caballe, Cappuccilli, Ghiaurov
    Label: Hardy Classics   Catalog: 4046 Release Date: 03/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Luisa Nave,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Montserrat Caballé,  José Carreras  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Patané
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Mozart: Don Giovanni / Bruscantini, Ghiaurov, Kraus
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 7080 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Sesto Bruscantini,  Alfredo Kraus,  Walter Monachesi,  Olivera Miljakovic  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Italian Radio Chorus Rome
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  • 43.
    The Placido Domingo Story [3-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001515302 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Monserrat Aparici,  Pedro Di Proenza,  Tatiana Troyanos  ... 
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  Rafael Kubelik,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 44.
    Verdi: Aida / Muti, Domingo, Ghiaurev, Caballe, Roni
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40630 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Piero Cappuccilli,  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Montserrat Caballé,  Luigi Roni  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Trumpeters of the Royal Military School of Music,
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  • 45.
    Bravo Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001480402 Release Date: 10/19/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Tom Krause,  Montserrat Caballé,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Richard Bonynge,  Bruno Bartoletti,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus  ... 
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  • 46.
    Verdi: Messa Da Requiem, Quattro Pezzi Sacri / Giulini
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31821 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Christa Ludwig,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
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  • 47.
    Mussorgsky: Khovanshchina / Ghiaurov, Ghiuselev, Tchakarov
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 45831 Release Date: 10/03/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Zdravko Gadjev,  Kaloudi Kaloudov,  Stoyan Popov  ... 
    Conductor:  Emil Tchakarov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sofia National Opera Orchestra,  Sofia National Opera Chorus
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  • 48.
    Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg - 50 Years [25 CDs]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001469202 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Nelson Freire,  Alfred Brendel,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Claudio Abbado,  Sir Georg Solti,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 49.
    Massenet: Don Quichotte / Kord, Crespin, Ghiaurov, Bacquier
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 430636 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Gabriel Bacquier,  Michèle Command,  Régine Crespin,  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Kazimierz Kord,  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Radio Chorus,  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Metropolitan Opera Gala 1991 - 25th Anniversary At Lincoln Center
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001431609 Release Date: 06/22/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Francesco Cilèa,  Mitchell Leigh,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Placido Domingo,  Mirella Freni,  Samuel Ramey  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
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