In 2015, at a time when his vocal maturity allowed him to take on the great theatrical roles such as Falstaff, Scarpia, Gianni Schicchi, Rigoletto, Grémine, and Père Germond, the Russian baritone who was suffering from an inoperable brain tumor was forced to cancel all his engagements for the stage. His last public appearance was at a Gala on the 7th May 2017, for the fifth anniversary of the Metropolitan Opera at the Lincoln Center in New York. He sparked the crowd’s enthusiasm by performing "Cortigiani, vil razza", the famous monologue from Rigoletto. Hoping that the best therapy was continuing to sing, Dmitri Hvorostovsky continued his art every day, dreaming that he would one day be able to get back up onto the stage, a hope that fate tragically refused him on the 22nd November 2017.
With fairies having brought both a beautiful voice and a beautiful physique to his cradle, Dmitri Hvorostovsky learned from an early age how to use these attributes to become one of the greatest baritones of recent years. Since making his international breakthrough in 1989, he has left his mark on some of the main opera stages all over the planet. Born in Krasnoïarsk (Siberia), he graduated with a music degree in just 4 years and soon after began to win competitions, first in the Soviet Union and then in Toulouse. But it was the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 1989 that hugely boosted his career.
The beginning of his career was a dazzling success. His ease on stage, his deep and generous voice and his warm timbre that’s perfectly homogenous with his full range allowed him to make his characters truly convincing. The major record companies latched on, with PHILIPS in the lead, instantly allowing him to record numerous operas and recitals. Never short of risky comparisons, the tabloids called him the "Elvis of Opera", which helped spread his image beyond musical circles.
As he aged, his voice transformed, gaining power and becoming more flexible. Aware of his worth, the singer knew that he had conquered the world. Proud, warm and obstinate, he admits that he had his life together: "It must be said, I became a saint: I stopped smoking and drinking alcohol". Dmitri Hvorostovsky has also readily performed French song, for which he managed to perfect the accent thanks to his wife who comes from Geneva, an ex-singer herself. He is not afraid of making crossovers, with many of his albums being devoted to Russian folk songs.
Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s discography is enormous. Scouted right from the start by the major record companies, he has recorded numerous operas: Eugene Onegin, of course, as well as The Queen of Spades, Iolanta, La Traviata, Don Carlo, Cavalleria Rusticana, and Rigoletto. The latter was released in November 2017 and had been eagerly awaited as it was one of his biggest roles ever. The work was recorded in Kaunas, Lithuania, with Francesco Demuro and Nadine Sierra, conducted by Constantine Orbellian.
© François Hudry/QOBUZ
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released November 9, 2018 | Delos
In 2015, when his vocal maturity was allowing him to take on the big theatrical roles such as Falstaff, Scarpia, Gianni Schicchi, Rigoletto, Gremin and old Germond, our Russian baritone, stricken by an inoperable brain tumour, was forced to cancel all his big stage dates. His last public appearance was on the great gala night of May 7th 2017, thrown for the fiftieth anniversary of the Metropolitan Opera in New York's Lincoln Centre. He delighted the audience with his Cortigiani, vil razza, Rigoletto's famous soliloquy. In the belief that the best medicine was to carry on singing, Dmitri Hvorostovsky worked at his art every day, dreaming of being able to return to the stage. Sadly this dream was taken away from him on 22 November 2017. Blessed from birth with a beautiful voice and good looks, Dmitri Hvorostovsky learned early on how to put these gifts to work, becoming one of the great baritones of recent years. From his international debuts in 1989 his tall figure became a fixture on the great operatic stages of the world. Conceived as a memorial album to mark a year since the early death that shook all lovers of great voices, this new work is a compilation of ten different albums that showcase the full extent of Dmitri Hvorostovsky's talent, from the Russian folk songs that he loved from his youth all the way to his great operatic roles. It's an opportunity to carefully listen again and really take measure of the gaping hole that he has left in the world of lyrical art. © François Hudry/Qobuz
Opera - Released January 1, 2007 | Delos
Classical - Released September 21, 2018 | Orfeo
Classical - Released July 22, 2011 | Delos
Dmitri Hvorostovsky's Pushkin Romances can be seen as a companion to his 2009 Delos release Tchaikovsky Romances, which also features pianist Ivari Ilja. A remarkably versatile poet, Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) provided the source material for the vast majority of significant 19th century Russian operas, including Glinka's Ruslan and Lyudmila, Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and The Queen of Spades, and Rimsky-Korsakov's The Golden Cockerel, as well as texts that have served as the basis for hundreds of song settings. The 17 songs Hvorostovsky sings here are the work of 10 composers and span nearly a century, from the mid-1830s to the mid-'30s. Most of the major 19th century Russian composers have works included, except for Mussorgsky, and the 20th century is represented by Nicolay Medtner and the more obscure Alexander Vlasov and Georgy Sviridov. The songs are warmly Romantic and unabashedly expressive, and those by Rimsky-Korsakov, Cui, Medtner, and Rachmaninov are especially attractive and memorable. With his large, dramatic baritone, interpretive sensitivity, and long familiarity with these songs, Hvorostovsky is the ideal interpreter for this passionate repertoire. If there is any critique of the album it's that, with a few exceptions, the songs tend to be on emotional overdrive, and taken all together they can be a little overwhelming, particularly when Hvorostovsky brings to them the expressive heat and fervor they call for. Pianist Ilja likewise pulls out all the stops and plays with dramatic intensity. Listeners might appreciate the recital best when it is taken in several smaller portions. Delos' sound is clean, warmly ambient, and very present.
Classical - Released June 9, 2017 | Delos
When taken literally, the title Russia Cast Adrift can sound like a vast endeavour for this “vocal poem” by Russian, Soviet and then Russian again composer Georgy Sviridov (1915-1998), a work both glittering and dark, initially written in 1956 for tenor and piano. Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who knew the composer well, was aware of the fact that he had expressed the wish to direct his work, but ran out of time and then… Here is an orchestration by Evgeny Stetsyuk, for whom it is a world premiere recording. Not limiting himself to a “normal” orchestra, Stetsyuk added a Russian traditional music ensemble, with instruments such as the domra (a sort of very ancient mandolin), the balalaika (which everyone knows), the bayan – the ultimate Russian accordion – and the gusli, a psaltery dating back to the Middle Age. Sviridov, a fierce defender of Russian music, was deeply inspired in his work by tradition, in the way it was developed by Mussorgsky for instance, without giving unduly influence to his professor Shostakovich, and even less to the various currents of 20th-century Russia. A “simple” but never simplistic music, deeply moving, strongly defended by Hvorostovsky with undeniable admiration for the composer. Let us hope this album will give the composer an international exposure, as he’s been so far mostly restricted to Russian-speaking spheres. © SM/Qobuz
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