Feodor Chaliapin

Biography

Born: February 13, 1873; Kazan, Russia   Died: April 12, 1938; Paris, France  
Feodor Chaliapin is perhaps the most legendary operatic bass in history. Possessed of a large and beautiful voice, he devoted himself to all aspects of his art -- most significantly his dramatic portrayals -- at a time when such things were not at all typical of singers. Chaliapin was born the son of Russian peasants and was apprenticed to a cobbler at the age of 10. However, a brief engagement with a touring opera and a fortuitous meeting with Read more his first voice teacher, Dimitri Usatov (both during his teen years), alerted the young singer to the true extent of his musical potential. Usatov was, in fact, so impressed with the young man that he agreed to teach him free of charge.

In 1894, Chaliapin sang in St. Petersburg and soon was accepted at the Imperial Opera. In 1896, he sang with a private opera company in Moscow, making his debut as Ivan Susanin in Glinka's A Life for the Tsar, for which he received excellent reviews. At the same time, he gave many successful solo concerts. His first appearance outside Russia was in Boito's Mefistofele at Teatro alla Scala in 1901. He sang nearly every season at Monte Carlo from 1905 to 1937. His first role there was King Philip in Don Carlo, and there he created the role of Don Quixote in Massenet's setting of that tale. In 1933 he starred in a film about the same idealistic knight (this project was ultimately left incomplete, but it resulted in the fine Don Quichotte songs of both Maurice Ravel and Jacques Ibert).

In 1907, the bass made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Boito's Mefistofele, and later that season sang both Gounod's Faust (Mefistophele) and Mozart's Don Giovanni (Leporello). His return to the United States was delayed until 1921 when he sang the title role in Boris Godunov. He sang with the Metropolitan Opera until 1929.

In 1908, Chaliapin began his close association with Diaghilev in Paris, where many famous productions of Russian operas were staged. He sang several Russian roles at Covent Garden, London in 1913. In 1914, he returned to Russia and stayed until after World War I and the Great Revolution. In 1922, he immigrated to France, which remained his home for the remainder of his life.

Chaliapin appeared in nearly all of the great opera houses of Europe, as well as those of England and the United States; in 1935-1936 he made a world tour, including performances in China and Japan.

Chaliapin was a large man with great dramatic flair, and he could portray any type of character. He was a master of makeup, and he used this skill to help create his characters. His voice was wide ranging, allowing him to sing baritone roles like Eugene Onegin as well as bass roles like Oroveso. In his recitals, he never revealed what he would sing; the printed program would simply say "Selections to be announced."

When he immigrated to Paris, he fell out of favor with the Russian government, but his native country's official posture toward him warmed when it became apparent that he was bringing Russian opera to people all over the world. Besides the Russian operas already mentioned, Chaliapin also sang Khovanchina, Prince Igor, Dargomyzhsky's Rusalka, Sadko, Mozart and Salieri (which he premiered), Rubinstein's The Demon, Serov's Judith, and Gretchaninov's Dobrinya Nikititsch. His art is preserved on his many recordings made between 1901 and 1935 which document his wide ranging repertoire. Without his performances of Boris Godunov, the opera would probably not have had the enduring popularity that it has subsequently enjoyed. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 38 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Voices of Russian Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 280342 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Mikhail Glinka,  Alexander Dargomizhsky,  Alexander Borodin,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Feodor Chaliapin,  Marianne Tcherkasskaya,  Boris Christoff,  Mela Bougarinovitch  ... 
    Conductor:  Max Steimann,  Igor Markevitch,  Georgi Pozemkovsky,  Jerzy Semkow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra,  Belgrade Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 2.
    Schubert: Lieder On Record (1898-2012) [17-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 27575 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Peter Schreier,  Steven Zehr,  Thomas Hampson,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 3.
    The Art of Singing - Golden Voices of the Century
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4733 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Various
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Tito Schipa,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Enrico Caruso  ... 
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  • 4.
    Joseph Hislop - Recordings 1923-1929
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10109 Release Date: 12/03/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Jules Massenet,  Ambroise Thomas,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Hislop,  Lotte Schöne,  Feodor Chaliapin
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  • 5.
    Brahms Lieder 1926-1950 Vol 8
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 40008 Release Date: 11/22/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Gustav Walter,  Edyth Walker,  Anton Sistermans,  Felix Senius  ... 
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  • 6.
    Recording Pioneers (1898-1924)
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 459000 Release Date: 07/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emile Berliner,  Charles Gounod,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Mapelli  ... 
    Performer:  Emile Berliner,  Alessandro Moreschi,  Francesco Tamagno,  Nellie Melba  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter,  Arthur Nikisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Band of the Coldstream Guards,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Municipal Military Band
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  • 7.
    La Scala Edition, Volume 1 - 1878-1914
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64860 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Jacques Halévy  ... 
    Performer:  Adelina Patti,  Alfredo Barili,  Giuseppe Kaschmann,  Salvatore Cottone  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Carlo Sabajno,  Edoardo Vitale
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Chorus
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  • 8.
    The Record of Singing - The Very Best of Vols 1-4
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 28956 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Arthur Sullivan,  Giacomo Puccini,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Marian Anderson,  Kosti Vehanen,  Dame Clara Butt,  Richard Crooks  ... 
    Conductor:  Clemens Schmalstich,  Clarence Raybould,  Georges Lauweryns,  Nat Finston  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Pasdeloup Concert Association Orchestra  ... 
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  • 9.
    Chaliapin The Enchanter - Memories Of The Great Russian Bass
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4439 Release Date: 01/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Feodor Chaliapin
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  • 10.
    The Art Of Feodor Chaliapin - Opera Scenes And Arias
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001345 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alexander Borodin,  Alexander Dargomizhsky  ... 
    Performer:  Feodor Chaliapin
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  • 11.
    The Art Of Feodor Chaliapin - Songs And Romances Vol 1
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001360 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  M. Sorokin,  Artemi Lukyanovich Vedel,  Alexander Arkhangelsky,  Alexander Grechaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Feodor Chaliapin
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  • 12.
    The Art Of Feodor Chaliapin - Songs And Romances Vol 2
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001384 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Anton Rubinstein,  Grigory A. Lishin  ... 
    Performer:  Feodor Chaliapin
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  • 13.
    Schubert Lied-Edition Vol 3
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 40028 Release Date: 10/22/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Elisabeth Schumann,  Josef von Manowarda,  Ninon Vallin,  Feodor Chaliapin  ... 
    Conductor:  Piero Coppola
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Vocal Rarities / D'Andrade, Chaliapin, Ershov, King, et al
    Label: Symposium   Catalog: 1350 Release Date: 10/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Ambroise Thomas,  Carl Maria von Weber  ... 
    Performer:  Feodor Chaliapin,  Roxy King,  Francis MacLennan,  Luise Perard-Petzl  ... 
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  • 15.
    Prima Voce - Great Singers Vol 2 (1903-1939)
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7812 Release Date: 02/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Mafalda Favero,  Jussi Björling,  Harry Ebert,  Kirsten Flagstad  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli,  Leo Blech
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin State Opera Orchestra
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  • 16.
    The Chaliapin Edition Vol 5 - 1921-1923 American & British Recordings
    Label: Arbiter   Catalog: 142 Release Date: 07/27/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Feodor Koeneman,  Mikhail Glinka,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Feodor Chaliapin
    Conductor:  Percy Pitt,  George W. Byng,  Josef Pasternack,  Sir Eugene Goossens
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  • 17.
    Great Singers Of Russia Volume 1 - Chaliapin To Reizen
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4257 Release Date: 12/02/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Various
    Performer:  Georgi Nelepp,  Maxim Mikhailov,  Pavel Lisitsian,  Paul Robeson  ... 
    DVD: $33.99
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  • 18.
    Great Voices Of The Past - Favorite French Excerpts
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 8016 Release Date: 07/01/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jacques Halévy,  Gustave Charpentier,  Edouard Lalo  ... 
    Performer:  Rosa Ponselle,  Emmy Destinn,  Lawrence Tibbett,  Enrico Caruso  ... 
    Conductor:  Erno Rapée,  Carlo Sabajno,  Alberto Erede,  Lorenzo Molajoli  ... 
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  • 19.
    Great Voices Of The Past - Verdi's Masterworks Vol 2
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 8014 Release Date: 07/01/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Tancredi Pasero,  Tito Schipa,  Nina Garelli,  Elvino Ventura  ... 
    Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon,  Vittorio Gui,  Carlo Sabajno,  Herbert Sandberg  ... 
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  • 20.
    The Chaliapin Edition, Vol. 4: 1913-21 (Song Repertoire)
    Label: Arbiter   Catalog: 132 Release Date: 06/18/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Lyapunov,  Traditional,  Michael Slonov,  Anton Rubinstein  ... 
    Performer:  Feodor Chaliapin
    Conductor:  Percy Pitt
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  • 21.
    Great Voices Of The Past - Opera's Super Villains
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 8008 Release Date: 05/07/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Lawrence Tibbett,  Emmy Destinn,  Jussi Björling,  Apollo Granforte  ... 
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  • 22.
    Moussorgsky: Boris Godounov (Highlights) / Chaliapin, Et Al
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2206 Release Date: 04/30/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Feodor Chaliapin,  Angelo Bada,  Nicola Moscona,  Aristide Baracchi  ... 
    Conductor:  Vincenzo Bellezza
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 23.
    Rca Red Seal Century - Vocalists
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63860 Release Date: 11/06/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Luisa Tetrazzini,  Titta Ruffo,  Giovanni Martinelli,  Alma Gluck  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Pasternack,  Rosario Bourdon,  Renato Cellini,  Marcello Viotti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $29.98
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  • 24.
    The Chaliapin Edition Vol 3 - 1911-13 La Scala Recordings
    Label: Arbiter   Catalog: 127 Release Date: 05/22/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Feodor Chaliapin
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  • 25.
    Prima Voce Vol 2 - Treasury Of Opera - Historic Recordings
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1738 Release Date: 11/28/2000   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Félicien César David,  Jacques Offenbach,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Nina Koshetz,  Feodor Chaliapin,  Clement Barone,  Amelita Galli-Curci  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Pasternack,  Franco Ghione,  Rosario Bourdon,  Hans Lange  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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