Dmitri Hvorostovsky

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Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Дмитрий Хворостовский
Dmitry Hvorostovsky singing aria from The Queen of Spades during reopening gala of the Bolshoi Theatre, 28 October 2011
Dmitri Aleksandrovich Hvorostovsky

16 October 1962
Krasnoyarsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Died22 November 2017 (aged 55)
London, United Kingdom
OccupationOpera singer (baritone)
Title People's Artist of Russia (1995)
External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Rodrigo's aria from Don Carlos by Giuseppe Verdi on YouTube
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg "Ja vas lyublyu", Yeletsky's aria from The Queen of Spades by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky on YouTube
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg "Eri tu che macchiavi quell'anima", Renato's aria from Un ballo in maschera by Giuseppe Verdi on YouTube

Dmitri Aleksandrovich Hvorostovsky (Russian : Дми́трий Алекса́ндрович Хворосто́вский, pronounced  [xvərɐˈstofskʲɪj] ; 16 October 1962 – 22 November 2017) was a Russian operatic baritone.


Early life and education

Hvorostovsky was born in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia during a time when the city was mostly closed to foreigners. An only child, he was raised mostly by his grandmother and a grandfather who, according to Dmitri, was a war veteran suffering from alcoholism. [1] His father, an engineer, and his mother, a gynecologist, both had extremely time-consuming careers and were often only around on the weekends and holidays. [2] He studied at the Krasnoyarsk School of Arts under Yekaterina Yofel  [ ru ], which, in turn, was brought up by M.N. Rioli-Slovtsova - wife of an outstanding Russian tenor P.I. Slovtsov and made his debut at Krasnoyarsk Opera House, in the role of Marullo in Rigoletto .


Hvorostovsky came to international prominence in 1989 when he won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, beating local favourite Bryn Terfel in the final round. His performance included Handel's "Ombra mai fu" and "Per me giunto...O Carlo ascolta" from Verdi's Don Carlos . His international concert recitals began immediately (London debut, 1989; New York 1990).

His operatic debut in the West was at the Nice Opera in Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades (1989). In Italy he made his debut at La Fenice as Eugene Onegin, a success that sealed his reputation, and made his American operatic debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago (1993) in La traviata . [3] In 1992 he made his debut at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden as Riccardo in Bellini’s I puritani . [4]

He subsequently sang at virtually every major opera house, including the Metropolitan Opera (debut 1995), the Berlin State Opera, La Scala and the Vienna State Opera. He was especially renowned for his portrayal of the title character in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin ; The New York Times described him as "born to play the role." [5]

In 2002, Hvorostovsky performed at the Russian Children's Welfare Society's major fund raiser, the "Petrushka Ball". He was an Honorary Director of the charity. [6] [7] A tall man with a striking head of prematurely silver hair, Hvorostovsky achieved international acclaim as an opera performer as well as a concert artist. He was one of People magazine's 50 most beautiful people, a rare occurrence for a classical musician. His high, medium-weight voice had the typical liquid timbre of Russian baritones.

A recital programme of new arrangements of songs from the World War II era, Where Are You My Brothers? , was given in the spring of 2003 in front of an audience of 6,000 at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow, and seen on Russian Television by over 90 million viewers. The same programme was performed with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra for survivors of the Siege of Leningrad on 16 January 2004.

In later years Hvorostovsky's stage repertoire almost entirely consisted of Verdi operas such as Un ballo in maschera , La traviata and Simon Boccanegra . In 2009 he appeared in Il trovatore in a David McVicar production at the Metropolitan Opera with Sondra Radvanovsky. [8]


He won First Prizes at both the Glinka Vocal Competition in 1987 and the Toulouse Singing Competition in 1988. Winning the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 1989 brought him international prominence.

His highest awards in Russia include the Glinka State Prize in 1991 and the People's Artist of Russia honorary title in 1995. [9]

Personal life

In 1989 Hvorostovsky married a ballerina, Svetlana. [10] He adopted her daughter Maria, and they had two children, Daniel and Alexandra. They split up in 1999. His second wife was the Swiss soprano Florence Illi. They had two children, Nina and Maxim. [11]

In June 2015 Hvorostovsky announced that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumour and cancelled all his performances through August. Family representatives said that he would be treated at London's cancer hospital Royal Marsden. In spite of his illness, Hvorostovsky returned to the stage at the Metropolitan Opera in September as Count di Luna in Il trovatore for a run of three performances opposite Anna Netrebko. [12] He received strong reviews from both critics and audiences for his performance. [12] [13]


Hvorostovsky died on 22 November 2017 in London of brain cancer, which had been diagnosed over two years earlier. [14] A service was held in Moscow on 27 November. Hvorostovsky was cremated and some of his ashes were buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, and the rest in his hometown of Krasnoyarsk.


Hvorostovsky made many CD recordings, first with Valery Gergiev for Philips and then with Constantine Orbelian for Delos, and a number of his performances were filmed. Recordings of complete operas with Dmitri Hvorostovsky, audio or audio-video, legitimately made (often for broadcast) but not necessarily legitimately released:

asterisk = label unknown, or recording exists but has not been made commercially available

Light music

Hvorostovsky's interest in Russian and other light classical and traditional song led to several recordings including:

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  1. Francine du Plessix Gray (22 September 2003). "Out of Siberia". The New Yorker .
  2. Anthony Tommasini (22 November 2017). "Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Silver-Maned Baritone From Siberia, Dies at 55". The New York Times .
  3. Associated Press (22 November 2017). "Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, familiar voice in Chicago, dies". Chicago Sun-Times .
  4. Barry Millington (22 November 2017). "Dmitri Hvorostovsky obituary". The Guardian .
  5. "Star Power, Charisma and Ardor in Onegin" by Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times (12 February 2007)
  6. Russian Children's Welfare Society: Board of Directors
  7. "RCWS News" Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine , Vol. 7, Fall 2002
  8. Tommasini, Anthony (18 February 2009). "Verdi's Foundlings, Nobles and Gypsies, Transported to the Age of Goya". The New York Times . Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  9. "Знаменитый оперный певец Дмитрий Хворостовский отметит 55-летие (Dmitri Hvorostovsky will celebrate 55th birthday)" (in Russian). 16 October 2017. За свою карьеру Хворостовский удостоен целого ряда почетных наград, включая Государственную премию РСФСР имени Глинки (1991) и звание «Народный артист России» (1995).
  10. Barry Millington (22 November 2017). "Dmitri Hvorostovsky obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  11. Jeremy Gerard (22 November 2017). "Dmitri Hvorostovsky Has Died; Charismatic Siberian Baritone Was 55". Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  12. 1 2 Jorden, James (30 September 2015). "The Met's Triumphant 'Il Trovatore' Is a Return to Opera's Golden Age". New York Observer . Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  13. Tommasini, Anthony (28 September 2015). "Review: Il Trovatore and Anna Bolena Showcase Courage and Command at the Met". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  14. "Baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky dies aged 55", Classic FM (UK), 22 November 2017