Wednesday, November 22, 2017

In Memoriam: Dmitri Hvorostovsky 1962-2017

The famously silver maned Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky died this morning in London of complications from brain cancer. He was 55 years old.

Hvorostovsky has been one of the most widely respected singers in the opera world since he burst onto the stage in 1989. It was at the Cardiff Singer of the World competition that Hvorostovsky sealed his stardom — beating out fellow baritone Bryn Terfel. Russian mezzo-soprano Irina Arkhipova, encouraged him to enter the Cardiff contest. It has been noted that after the performance at Cardiff, John Shirley-Quirk, the acclaimed bass-baritone, was said to have said, “Hvorostovsky looks like Nureyev and sings like God”.

Described by Elle magazine as the "Elvis of opera", Hvorostovsky became known for his roles in Verdi operas, including as Germont in La Traviata, the hunchbacked jester in Rigoletto, the Count di Luna in Il Trovatore, Rodrigo in Don Carlo and the title character of Simon Boccanegra. But, it was his portrayal of the title character in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin that became Hvorostovky's calling card.

In June 2015, the baritone announced that he was suffering from a brain tumor. 6 months later, Hvorostovsky shared with the world that he would be withdrawing from all future staged operas to focus on medical treatments - leaving some very big shoes to fill. However, he surprised the audience at the Metropolitan Opera Gala in May when he graced the stage for a poignant performance of the "Cortigiani vil razza dannata" from Verdi's Rigoletto.

Hvorostovsky is survived by his wife, Florence, and their two children, 14-year-old Maxim and 10-year-old Nina; his twin children, 21-year-old Alexandra and Daniel, from a previous marriage; and his parents, Alexander and Lyudmila.

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