Lev Sibiryakov


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Fyodor Chaliapin (1873—1938) Russian operatic bass


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(b St Petersburg, 1869; d Antwerp, Oct 1942). Russian bass. He studied in Milan and made some guest appearances in Italy before returning to Russia, where he made his début in 1895. Singing first in the provinces, he established himself as a leading bass at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, where his roles included Wotan, made remarkable by his ability to ‘penetrate any orchestral forte without forcing, becoming an element of the orchestral sound’ (Sergei Levik, Memoirs). He sang Don Basilio in Barbiere (in Russian) with the Boston Opera Company in 1910 and Marcel in Les Huguenots at Covent Garden in 1911. Back in Russia, he continued for some years, leaving for Western Europe after the Revolution. In 1932 he sang in Aida and La favorite at Monte Carlo and made a final appearance in the title role of Boris Godunov at Brussels in 1938. At 6’ 6” tall and with a voice of proportionate volume, he was often compared with Chaliapin. Recordings show a deep-toned voice with an extensive upper range and remarkable control throughout, though for power of vocal characterization he can hardly approach his great contemporary.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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