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 141 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Claudio Abbado – The Decca Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001847802 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  James King,  Leslie Fyson,  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Ambrosian Chorus  ... 
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  • 27.
    Borodin: Prince Igor / Tchakarov, Ghiaurov
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94608 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin
    Performer:  Kaludi Kaludov,  Boris Martinovich,  Nicolai Ghiuselev,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Emil Tchakarov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sofia National Opera Chorus,  Sofia Festival Orchestra
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  • 28.
    The Art Of Verdi / Placido Domingo
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001809102 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Piero Cappuccilli,  Placido Domingo,  Eduardo Valdés  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Claudio Abbado,  Valery Gergiev,  Lorin Maazel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Kirov Theater Orchestra  ... 
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  • 29.
    Mozart: Operas / Otto Klemperer [11-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 43782 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Yvonne Minton,  Sir Geraint Evans,  Luigi Alva  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Chorus  ... 
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  • 30.
    The Verdi Opera Selection Vol 2 - Nabucco, Simon Boccanegra, Aida
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 107526 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Paata Burchuladze,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Maria Chiara,  Ghena Dimitrova  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Fabio Luisi,  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
    DVD: $58.99
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  • 31.
    60 Jahre Munchner Rundfunkorchester: Great Singers Live
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900309 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Lucia Popp,  Hermann Prey  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ghiaurov,  Kurt Eichhorn,  Georges Prêtre,  Alfredo Antonini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
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  • 32.
    Verdi: The Great Operas [35-CDs]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 167452 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Anne Edwards,  Matteo Manuguerra,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Renata Scotto  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  James Levine,  Tullio Serafin,  Antonio Pappano  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus  ... 
    CD: $88.99
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  • 33.
    Forever Domingo
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001784502 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Agustín Lara,  Nicholas Brodszky,  Salvatore Cardillo,  Ernesto Lecuona  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes,  Piero Cappuccilli,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Marcel Peeters,  Karl-Heinz Loges,  Herbert von Karajan,  Giuseppe Sinopoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 34.
    Borodin Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94410 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Franz Liszt,  Anatole Liadov,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander Gotthelf,  Alexander Mndoiantz,  Marco Rapetti,  Giampaolo Nuti  ... 
    Conductor:  Mark Ermler,  Emil Tchakarov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra,  Moscow String Quartet,  Moscow Trio  ... 
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  • 35.
    Mozart: Don Giovanni / Klemperer, Ghiaurov, Gedda, Watson, Freni, Ludwig
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 4483 Release Date: 10/22/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Walter Berry,  Mirella Freni,  Nicolai Gedda,  Christa Ludwig  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Chorus
    CD: $18.99
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  • 36.
    Solti conducts the Verdi Operas
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001746202 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Jon Vickers,  Robert Merrill,  Rita Gorr,  Leontyne Price  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus  ... 
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  • 37.
    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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  • 38.
    Verdi: Ernani
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 19264 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Jolanda Michieli,  Renato Bruson,  Placido Domingo,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
    CD: $24.99
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  • 39.
    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
    CD: $21.99
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  • 40.
    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: $85.99
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  • 41.
    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  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 42.
    Verdi: Messa Da Requiem, Quattro Pezzi Sacri / Giulini
    Label: Warner 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
    On sale! $27.98
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  • 43.
    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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  • 44.
    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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  • 45.
    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
    CD: $12.99
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  • 46.
    Verdi: Aida (Highlights)
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94824 Release Date: 06/21/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Unspecified
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Luigi [Bass Vocals] Roni,  Montserrat Caballé  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trumpeters of the Royal Military School of Music,
    CD: $12.99
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  • 47.
    Verdi: Nabucco [highlights]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94890 Release Date: 06/21/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Unspecified
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Robert [Bass Vocal] Lloyd,  Renata Scotto,  Matteo Manguguerra  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
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  • 48.
    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 [Bass-Baritone Vocal] Terfel,  Anna Netrebko,  Andrea Bocelli,  Jonas Kaufmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth,  Gianandrea Noseda,  Zubin Mehta,  Antonio Pappano  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 49.
    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
    CD: $12.99
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  • 50.
    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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