Nicolai Ghiaurov

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Nicolai Ghiaurov
Born(1929-09-13)September 13, 1929
DiedJune 2, 2004(2004-06-02) (aged 74)
OccupationOpera singer (bass)
Spouse(s) Zlatina Mishakova Mirella Freni

Nicolai Ghiaurov (or Nikolai Gjaurov, Nikolay Gyaurov, Bulgarian : Николай Гяуров) (September 13, 1929 June 2, 2004) was a Bulgarian opera singer and one of the most famous basses of the postwar period. [1] He was admired for his powerful, sumptuous voice, and was particularly associated with roles of Mussorgsky and Verdi. [2] Ghiaurov married the Bulgarian pianist Zlatina Mishakova in 1956 and Italian soprano Mirella Freni in 1978, and the two singers frequently performed together. They lived in Modena until Ghiaurov's death in 2004 of a heart attack.

Bulgarian language South Slavic language

Bulgarian, is an Indo-European language and a member of the Southern branch of the Slavic language family.

Opera artform combining sung text and musical score in a theatrical setting

Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.

Modest Mussorgsky Russian composer (1839-1881)

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky was a Russian composer, one of the group known as "The Five". He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period. He strove to achieve a uniquely Russian musical identity, often in deliberate defiance of the established conventions of Western music.

Contents

Biography

Ghiaurov monument in Velingrad Nicolai Ghiaurov monument Velingrad Iz1.jpg
Ghiaurov monument in Velingrad

Ghiaurov was born in the small mountain town of Velingrad in southern Bulgaria. As a child, he learned to play the violin, piano and clarinet. He began his musical studies at the Bulgarian State Conservatory in 1949 under Prof. Hristo Brambarov. From 1950 until 1955, he studied at the Moscow Conservatory.

Velingrad Place in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria

Velingrad is a town in Pazardzhik Province, Southern Bulgaria, located at the western end of Chepino Valley, part of the Rhodope Mountains. It is the administrative center of the homonymous Velingrad Municipality and one of the most popular Bulgarian balneological resorts. As of December 2009, the town has a population of 22,500 inhabitants.

Moscow Conservatory Musical educational institution with major performance venue

The Moscow Conservatory, also officially Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory is an educational music institution located in Moscow, Russia. It grants undergraduate and graduate diplomas in musical performance and musical research. The conservatory offers various degrees including Bachelor of Music Performance, Master of Music and PhD in research.

Ghiaurov's career was launched in 1955, when he won the Grand Prix at the International Vocal Competition in Paris and the First Prize and a gold medal at the Fifth World Youth Festival in Prague. Ghiaurov made his operatic debut in 1955 as Don Basilio in Rossini's The Barber of Seville in Sofia. He made his Italian operatic debut in 1957 in Teatro Comunale Bologna, before starting an international career with his rendition of Varlaam in the opera Boris Godunov at La Scala in 1959. 1962 marked Ghiaurov's Covent Garden debut as Padre Guardiano in Verdi's La forza del destino as well as his first appearance in Salzburg in Verdi's Requiem , conducted by Herbert von Karajan. [3]

Gioachino Rossini 19th-century Italian opera composer

Gioachino Antonio Rossini was an Italian composer who gained fame for his 39 operas, although he also wrote many songs, some chamber music and piano pieces, and some sacred music. He set new standards for both comic and serious opera before retiring from large-scale composition while still in his thirties, at the height of his popularity.

<i>The Barber of Seville</i> 1816 opera by Gioachino Rossini

The Barber of Seville, or The Useless Precaution is an opera buffa in two acts by Gioachino Rossini with an Italian libretto by Cesare Sterbini. The libretto was based on Pierre Beaumarchais's French comedy Le Barbier de Séville (1775). The première of Rossini's opera took place on 20 February 1816 at the Teatro Argentina, Rome, with designs by Angelo Toselli.

Sofia Capital and largest city of Bulgaria

Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria. The city is at the foot of Vitosha Mountain in the western part of the country. Being in the centre of the Balkan peninsula, it is midway between the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea, and closest to the Aegean Sea.

Ghiaurov first shared a stage with Mirella Freni in 1961 in Genoa. She was Marguerite, he was Mephistopheles in Faust . Married in 1978, they lived in her hometown, Modena. They sang together frequently.

Mirella Freni singer

Mirella Freni is an Italian soprano whose repertoire includes Verdi, Puccini, Mozart and Tchaikovsky. Freni was married for many years to the Bulgarian bass Nicolai Ghiaurov, with whom she performed and recorded.

<i>Faust</i> (opera) Grand opera in five acts by Charles Gounod

Faust is an opera in five acts by Charles Gounod to a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carré's play Faust et Marguerite, in turn loosely based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Part One. It debuted at the Théâtre Lyrique on the Boulevard du Temple in Paris on 19 March 1859, with influential sets designed by Charles-Antoine Cambon and Joseph Thierry, Jean Émile Daran, Édouard Desplechin, and Philippe Chaperon.

Modena Comune in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Modena is a city and comune (municipality) on the south side of the Po Valley, in the Province of Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy.

He made his US debut in Gounod's Faust in 1963 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and he went on to sing twelve roles with the company, including the title roles in Boris Godunov, Don Quichotte , and Mefistofele .

Charles Gounod French composer

Charles-François Gounod was a French composer, best known for his Ave Maria, based on a work by Bach, as well as his opera Faust. Another opera by Gounod still performed is Roméo et Juliette.

Lyric Opera of Chicago non-profit organisation in the USA

Lyric Opera of Chicago is one of the leading opera companies in the United States. It was founded in Chicago in 1954, under the name 'Lyric Theatre of Chicago' by Carol Fox, Nicolà Rescigno and Lawrence Kelly, with a season that included Maria Callas's American debut in Norma. The company was re-organized by Fox in 1956 under its present name and, after her 1981 departure, it has continued to be of one of the major opera companies in the United States. The Lyric is housed in the Civic Opera Building, which the company now owns.

<i>Don Quichotte</i> opera by Jules Massenet

Don Quichotte is an opera in five acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Henri Caïn. It was first performed on 19 February 1910 at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo.

Ghiaurov made his Metropolitan Opera debut on 8 November 1965 as Mefistofele. [4] He sang a total of 81 performances in ten roles there, last appearing there on October 26, 1996, as Sparafucile in Rigoletto . During the course of his career, he also performed at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre, the Vienna State Opera, Covent Garden, and Paris Opéra.

Metropolitan Opera opera company in Manhattan, New York City

The Metropolitan Opera is an opera company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager. As of 2018, the company's current music director is Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

<i>Rigoletto</i> opera by Giuseppe Verdi

Rigoletto is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi. The Italian libretto was written by Francesco Maria Piave based on the play Le roi s'amuse by Victor Hugo. Despite serious initial problems with the Austrian censors who had control over northern Italian theatres at the time, the opera had a triumphant premiere at La Fenice in Venice on 11 March 1851.

Bolshoi Theatre historic theatre in Moscow, Russia

The Bolshoi Theatre is a historic theatre in Moscow, Russia, originally designed by architect Joseph Bové, which holds ballet and opera performances. Before the October Revolution it was a part of the Imperial Theatres of the Russian Empire along with Maly Theatre in Moscow and a few theatres in Saint Petersburg.

In the late 1970s Ghiaurov sang the title role in the first complete stereo recording of Massenet's opera Don Quichotte. He was recorded frequently, and his discography includes complete recordings of many of his great stage roles, including Don Giovanni, Don Basilio, Ramfis, Colline, Banco, Gounod's and Boito's Mephistos and Boris Godunov, among many others.

In October 2000, at the age of 71, he gave an acclaimed performance at the 1st Herbert von Karajan Memorial concert under the baton of James Allen Gähres in Ulm, where he sang opera arias and duets by Cilea, Tchaikovsky and Verdi, together with Mirella Freni. [5]

In Ghiaurov's obituary in Opera News , Martin Bernheimer remarked: "He commanded a remarkable vocal instrument, strikingly generous in size, warm in timbre, dark in color. He rolled out the resonant tone at his command with generosity, and with special ease at the burnished top."

Honour

Ghiaurov Peak on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Nicolai Ghiaurov.

Notes

  1. Midgette, Anne (June 3, 2004). "Nicolai Ghiaurov, Operatic Bass, Dies at 74". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  2. Blyth, Alan (5 June 2004). "Nicolai Ghiaurov, Gifted operatic bass who commanded the international stage for 30 years". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  3. "Nicolai Ghiaurov - Obituary". The Telegraph. 5 June 2004. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  4. Midgette, Anne (June 3, 2004). "Nicolai Ghiaurov, Operatic Bass, Dies at 74". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  5. Official Herbert von Karajan - online archive 1. Herbert von Karajan Memorial concert Retrieved 25 May 2016

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