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Pavel Khokhlov


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(b Spassky, Tambov, 21 July/2 Aug 1854; d Moscow, 20 Sept 1919). Russian baritone. He studied law in Moscow, also taking lessons in violin and piano, and in singing first with Yury Arnol᾽d (who upset Khokhlov's voice by making him study bass parts) and later with Aleksandra Aleksandrova-Kochetova. He made his début at the Moscow Bol'shoy as Valentin (19 Feb/3 March 1879), remaining with the company until his retirement in 1900; he also appeared at the Mariinsky in St Petersburg (1881, 1887–8), and sang in concerts in the provinces. His rich, warm voice and generous artistry quickly made an impression, and he was particularly successful as Yevgeny Onegin (singing the role at the first Bol'shoy performance, 11/23 January 1881, and thereafter 138 times in Moscow alone) and as Anton Rubinstein's Demon; he also appeared in Prague (1889) in these two roles, which he virtually made his own. A scrupulous stylist, conscientious in his constantly refreshed study of a role, he was a master both of bel canto and of a more flexible declamatory style, and moreover had a fine stage presence. Various factors, including overwork and drink, led to an early vocal decline, as noted by P. I. Tchaikovsky, who liked and admired Khokhlov, in a letter to Yuuliya Shpazhinskaya of 23 September/5 October 1886. His other roles included Don Giovanni, Giuseppe Verdi's Renato, Di Luna and Giorgio Germont, Richard Wagner's Wolfram and Telramund, Giacomo Meyerbeer's Nélusko and Nevers, Carl Maria von Weber's Ottokar, and many Russian roles including Boris Godunov and Prince Igor.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.


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