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July 30, 2020

Feodor Chaliapin: One of the Greatest Opera Singers and Most Influential Artists of the 20th Century

Born 1873 in Kazan, Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin began his career at Tbilisi and the Imperial Opera, St. Petersburg in 1894. He was then invited to sing at the Mamontov Private Opera (1896–1899); his first role there was as Mephistopheles in Gounod’s Faust, in which he was a considerable success.

Portrait of Feodor Chaliapin in the early 20th century

During the first phase of his career, Chaliapin endured direct competition from three other great basses: the powerful Lev Sibiriakov, the more lyrical Vladimir Kastorsky, and Dmitri Buchtoyarov, whose voice was intermediate between those of Sibiriakov and Kastorsky.

The fact that Chaliapin is far and away the best remembered of this magnificent quartet of rival basses is a testament to the power of his personality, the acuteness of his musical interpretations, and the vividness of his performances.

Possessing a deep and expressive bass voice, he enjoyed an important international career at major opera houses and is often credited with establishing the tradition of naturalistic acting in his chosen art form.

Chaliapin’s last stage performance took place at the Monte Carlo Opera in 1937, as Boris. He died the following year of leukemia, aged 65, in Paris.

Here below is a collection of amazing photos that shows portraits of Feodor Chaliapin during his career.

Feodor Chaliapin, circa 1890s

Feodor Chaliapin as Holofernes, Nebuchadnezzar’s general, in Nikolaevich’s opera Judith, 1898

Feodor Chaliapin as Holofernes, Nebuchadnezzar’s general, in Nikolaevich’s opera Judith, 1898

Feodor Chaliapin as Prince Vyazminsky in The Oprichnik (The Guardsman) by Tchaikovsky, 1901

Feodor Chaliapin in the title role of Modest Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godenov, 1904

Feodor Chaliapin as Mephistopheles in Arrigo Boito’s opera of that title, 1908

Feodor Chaliapin as Mephistopheles in Arrigo Boito’s opera of that title, 1908

Feodor Chaliapin as Méphistophélès in Gounod’s opera Faust, 1908

Feodor Chaliapin as Méphistophélès in Gounod’s opera Faust, 1908

Feodor Chaliapin as Méphistophélès in Gounod’s opera Faust, 1908

Feodor Chaliapin as Méphistophélès in Gounod’s opera Faust, 1908

Feodor Chaliapin as Méphistophélès in Gounod’s opera Faust, 1908

Feodor Chaliapin as Don Quixote, 1910

Feodor Chaliapin as Don Quixote, 1910

Feodor Chaliapin as Don Quixote, 1910

Feodor Chaliapin as Don Quixote, 1910

Feodor Chaliapin, 1910

Feodor Chaliapin as as Biron in Koryeshchenko’s opera The House of Ice, 1912

Feodor Chaliapin in the title role of Moussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov, 1913

Feodor Chaliapin as Boris Godunov, 1915

Feodor Chaliapin as Boris Godunov, 1915

Feodor Chaliapin as Mephisto, 1915

Feodor Chaliapin in The Barber of Seville, 1926

Portrait of Feodor Chaliapin, circa 1920s

Feodor Chaliapin from 1927 Brooklyn advertisement that he will appear on 14th Feb 1928 at the Academy of Music




3 comments:

  1. Influential in his home town maybe.
    Nobody else has ever heard of him.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Don't know why you publish this anonyous guy's comments. Everyday is the same rubish. Anyway I like what you publish on this blog :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. What's hard to understand is why anyone would announce pride in his stupidity.

    ReplyDelete

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