The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Charismatic Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky is dead at 55 | November 24, 2017

By Jacob Stockinger

The charismatic Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky (below, in a 2006 photo by Richard Termine of The New York Times) had it all.

Most importantly, the great opera singer, concert singer and recitalist possessed a superb voice with wonderful tone and breath control that allowed him to even beat out Bryn Terfel to win Singer of the World at a competition in Cardiff, Wales.

But he also had handsome face and fit beefcake body that made him a believable actor in so many roles and proved a pleasure to watch on stage.

And what about that fabulous mane of prematurely white hair that became his signature?

But on Wednesday, the acclaimed Siberian singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky — who was well on his way to becoming a superstar — lost a two-year bout with brain cancer.

He died at 55 – but not after winning plaudits for unexpected appearances at the Metropolitan Opera (below) and Carnegie Hall even while he was ill.

Here are two obituaries.

The first comes from the Deceptive Cadence blog of National Public Radio (NPR) and features three samples of his singing as well as some memorable interview quotes, including the renowned singer’s unapologetic take on his own sex appeal (below) that landed him in People magazine:

And here is a longer obituary, also with samples, from The New York Times. It includes a lot of background about the singer’s early life and career:

Did you ever see or hear Dmitri Hvorostovsky in person or perhaps in “Live From the Met in HD” broadcasts? (He sings two folk songs in the YouTube memorial video at the bottom.)

And for those of you can judge singers better than The Ear can, what was your opinion of the Russian baritone?

Did you have a favorite role or aria you liked him in?

The Ear wants to know.


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    Comment by B Corry — December 25, 2017 @ 2:42 pm

  2. Such very sad news. He was an incomparable Onegin and Renato. I feel very fortunate to have seen him several times.

    Barbara Furstenberg


    Comment by Barbara Furstenberg — November 24, 2017 @ 6:53 pm

  3. Wonderful singer, and by all accounts, a terrific person, who will be badly missed.

    I heard John Zeck announce his death on the radio a few days ago. Zeck played part of a performance by the great Russian singer singing “The Barber of Seville.” Not entirely shocking, since he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, but he gave a special performance at the Met just this past May.

    You don’t need to understand Russian to understand him either. He was a superstar, not on the way to becoming one. Not only did he have the voice, he had charisma and was a terrific actor: just perfect for opera. Fans loved him. He was so full of vitality and life, it is hard to imagine it without him.


    Comment by fflambeau — November 24, 2017 @ 12:50 am

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