In honor of the much beloved Siberian Baritone, Dmitri Hvorostovsky. He will be missed.
Dmitri Hvorostovsky, the Russian baritone who died of brain cancer on Nov. 22 at 55, was beloved around the world for passionate performances in Verdi and Tchaikovsky operas and for emotionally direct song recitals. His voice dark and smoky, he sang with elegant relish through long, smooth phrases. He projected nobility and — an old-fashioned word for an old-fashioned talent — virility.
Listen to the Best of Dmitri Hvorostovsky By Zachary Woolfe, Nov. 22, 2017
Anthony Tommasini, Michael Cooper and I chose 10 of our favorite clips of Mr. Hvorostovsky, highlights from a career full of them.
Tchaikovsky, ‘Eugene Onegin’
Mr. Hvorostovsky was peerless in the title role of “Eugene Onegin.” Watch his heart break in the opera’s final scene, opposite the Tatiana of Renée Fleming, in the classic Robert Carsen production at the Metropolitan Opera.
Verdi, ‘Il Trovatore’
His singing here at the Met in 2011 in the Count di Luna’s aria “Il balen” beautifully demonstrates the qualities his admirers cherished: the burnished, russet-colored, slightly covered sound; the velvety legato phrasing; the uncanny breath control; and the way he could summon reserves of vocal power to send a climactic passage soaring over the orchestra.
Bizet, ‘Les Pêcheurs de Perles’
He had the charisma — and sex appeal — to hold his own against even the most glamorous colleagues. Here he teams up with the tenor Jonas Kaufmann in a concert performance of the great duet “Au fond du temple saint.”
In treatment for cancer, Mr. Hvorostovsky surprised the audience at the Met’s 50th-anniversary gala in May, singing Rigoletto’s monologue of rage and shame with impeccable style and booming tone. The ovation before the performance honored his career and courage; the one after was a genuine response to a still vital artist.
Here he is in a recital in Moscow a few years ago with his longtime pianist Ivari Ilja, singing Tchaikovsky’s setting of a Russian translation of a Heine poem. This performance is an example to all artists of what it means to blend refinement, directness and sensitivity.
Verdi, ‘Un Ballo in Maschera’
He brought his burnished sound, and powerful legato, to the role of Count Anckarstrom. Here he is, just last year, singing the character’s aria of betrayal, “Eri tu.”
Tchaikovsky, ‘The Queen of Spades’
Tchaikovsky’s Prince Yeletsky — and his intense love aria, “Ya vas lyublyu” — was an early calling card for Mr. Hvorostovsky, and was the role of his Met debut in 1995. Here, under the baton of Valery Gergiev, he is effortlessly intense, a wounded aristocrat in presence and sound.
Rachmaninoff, ‘She’s as Lovely as the Noon’
His voice steady and calm, yet full of feeling, Mr. Hvorostovsky could put across a love song with rare understatement and meaning.
Mozart, ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’
A noted Mozartian early in his career, Mr. Hvorostovsky is here, at the Salzburg Festival in 1995, a potent Count Almaviva, his anger blistering the polished exterior of a nobleman used to getting his way.
Rossini, ‘Il Barbiere di Siviglia’
This performance, from a Moscow concert in 1990, when Mr. Hvorostovsky was still in his 20s, gives a sense of the playful wit — though never overplayed here — that he is said to have displayed offstage. It also shows that his confidence and charisma were with him from the beginning.