I am greatly saddened by the death of the Siberian baritone, Dmitri Hvorostovsky. He was just 55.
No, I never met him; but I didn’t meet Claudio Abbado or Seve either, and their deaths had a similar effect. Heroes to me, all of them. It is a sadness compounded by the fact that my impression of Hvorostovsky has been endorsed by all who knew and worked with him. He was blessed with an astonishing, rich, out-of-this-world voice, and a life-affirming personality to go with it.
Ah, that smile. I saw him ‘live’ a few times at Covent Garden, and it was impossible not to be totally captivated by his presence.
I am no obituary writer. His career and roles are covered fully in the press. I was just a mere fan, one of his biggest, and it is desperate to know that I shall not see him perform again.
So forgive me if I am brief. If I take up less of your time in today’s text, listen to these two clips and you’ll see in an instant what I’m finding hard to express. Both show different qualities of the man. One is a Russian folk song, Dark Eyes, which has a cabaret feel to it, by the looks of it an encore to an adoring audience after a concert in Red Square. It gives you some idea of why he was known as ‘the Elvis of the opera world.’ Bit of a hunk behind that lovely sound.
The other is the closing scene of my favourite opera, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. I wrote about this last year, just scroll down to October 2016 in the archives for more background to this piece. The final curtain now adds an extra poignancy.
If there is a better Onegin, I don’t want to know.What a voice. What a voice! What an actor. What a horribly sad and premature loss.