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 51-75 of 224 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Berlioz: Romeo Et Juliette, Harold En Italie / Lorin Maazel
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425053 Release Date: 06/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Michel Sénéchal,  Christa Ludwig
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  ORTF Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 52.
    Heroes & Villains - Opera's Leading Men
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001433902 Release Date: 06/01/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Rolando Villazón,  Boaz Daniel,  Bryn Terfel  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Riccardo Chailly,  Bertrand De Billy,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 53.
    Verdi: Nabucco / Muti, Scotto, Obraztsova, Luchetti
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 56447 Release Date: 04/20/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Veriano Luchetti,  Elena Obraztsova,  Matteo Manuguerra,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 54.
    Donizetti: Lucia Di Lammermoor Highlights / Sutherland, Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 421885 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 55.
    Gounod: Faust Highlights / Bonynge, Sutherland, Corelli
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 421861 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Franco Corelli,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Robert Massard  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 56.
    Nicolai Ghiaurov - Opera Gala
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 421872 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Alexander Borodin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Arrigo Boito  ... 
    Performer:  Olivera Miljakovic,  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Edward Downes,  Sir Georg Solti,  Silvio Varviso  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
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  • 57.
    Verdi: Macbeth Highlights / Gardelli, Ghiaurov, Suliotis, Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 421889 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Elena Suliotis,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Ricardo Cassinelli,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
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  • 58.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 880008 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Giacomo Puccini,  Jules Massenet,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Katja Popova,  Ilija Jossifov,  Georgi Genov,  Nikolai Vassiliev  ... 
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  • 59.
    Gounod: Faust;  Verdi, Etc / Margaritov, Ghiaurov, Et Al
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 880008 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Katja Popova,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Ilija Jossifov,  Georgi Genov  ... 
    Conductor:  Atanas Margaritov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sofia National Opera Orchestra,  Sofia National Opera Chorus
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  • 60.
    Italian Operas [4 DVDs]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2057928 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Francesco Cilèa
    Performer:  Silvestro Sammaritano,  Salvatore Licitra,  Giovanni Battista Parodi,  Leo Nucci  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Ernst Marzendorfer,  Nello Santi,  Roberto Rizzi Brignoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Slovak Philharmonic Chorus  ... 
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  • 61.
    Metropolitan Opera Centennial Gala (1983)
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001326309 Release Date: 09/15/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry,  Renato Bruson,  Ileana Cotrubas,  Montserrat Caballé  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 62.
    Rossini: Il Barbier Di Siviglia / Gabriele Santini, Luigi Alva, Sesto Bruscatini, Carlo Badioli
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 7072 Release Date: 09/08/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Luigi Alva,  Stefania Malagú,  Sesto Bruscantini,  Carlo Forti  ... 
    Conductor:  Gabriele Santini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 63.
    Pearlfishers Duet / Bastianini, Carreras, Del Monaco, Fischer-dieskau
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4802614 Release Date: 08/04/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Gregory Cross,  Gino Quilico,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Piero Cappuccilli
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  • 64.
    Donizetti: Lucia Di Lammermoor / Bonynge, Sutherland, Pavarotti [Deluxe Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001305602 Release Date: 07/28/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Ryland Davies,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Sherrill Milnes,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
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  • 65.
    Verdi: Great Operas From La Scala [21 CDs]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4778121 Release Date: 06/30/2009   Number of Discs: 21
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Elena Obraztsova,  Katia Ricciarelli,  Ruggero Raimondi,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Gabriele Santini,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Antonino Votto  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 66.
    Mussorgsky: Khovanshchina / Abbado, Ghiaurov, Atlantov, Marusin
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 42 Release Date: 05/26/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Yuri Marusin,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Vladimir Atlantov,  Anatoly Kocherga  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Boys' Choir,  Slovak Philharmonic Chorus Bratislava,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 67.
    Verdi: Aida / Chiara, Pavarotti, Maazel
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 100059 Release Date: 04/28/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Paata Burchuladze,  Maria Chiara,  Ghena Dimitrova  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 68.
    Verdi: Simon Boccanegra / De Fabritiis, Cappuccilli, Ricciarelli
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4484 Release Date: 04/07/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Piero Cappuccilli,  Katia Ricciarelli,  Giorgio Merighi,  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
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  • 69.
    The Record of Singing Vol 5 - From the LP to the Digital Era
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 28949 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Jacques Offenbach,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk,  Luciana Serra,  Neil Shicoff,  Alain Vanzo  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Sylvain Cambreling,  Georges Prêtre,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie Orchestra,  Paris Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 70.
    Grand Tier - Rossini: Mose / Sawallisch, Ghiaurov, Verrett, Petri, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 7063 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Ottavio Garaventa,  Franco Ventriglia,  Fernando Jacopucci,  Teresa Zylis-Gara  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Chorus Rome,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome
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  • 71.
    Puccini - The Definitive Collection / Pavarotti, Freni, Sutherland, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001181302 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Dwayne Croft,  Ramón Vargas,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Nicola Rescigno,  Herbert von Karajan,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $107.49
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  • 72.
    Icon - Mirella Freni - The Opera Singer
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 06253 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Gustave Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Agnes Baltsa,  Mirella Freni,  José Carreras,  Katia Ricciarelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Franco Ferraris,  Alain Lombard,  Leone Magiera  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 73.
    The World Of Borodin
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 444389 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Zlatina Ghiaurov,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon,  Ernest Ansermet,  Sir Georg Solti,  Edward Downes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 74.
    The World of Puccini / Freni, Pavarotti, Sutherland, Tebaldi
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 433865 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Virginia Zeani,  Bruno Prevedi,  Maria Chiara  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Patané,  Edward Downes,  Nello Santi,  Tullio Serafin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra  ... 
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  • 75.
    Verdi: Opera Choruses / Abbado, Teatro Alla Scala Chorus & Orchestra
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 469681 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Giovanni Foiani,  Ruggero Raimondi
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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