Russian opera star Dmitri Hvorostovsky has died in London after struggling with a long illness, the singer’s agent in Russia told TASS on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, this is true,” she said.
Dmitry Hvorostovsky singing aria from Queen of Spades during reopening gala of the Bolshoi 2011, photo Wikipedia
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dmitri Hvorostovsky – beloved operatic baritone, husband, father, son, and friend – at age 55. After a two and a half year battle with brain cancer, he died peacefully at 3:20am GMT on Wednesday, November 22 surrounded by his family at a hospice facility near their home in London, UK,” Sean Michael Gross, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of 21C Media Group (publicity and consulting company that represents the singer), told TASS.
Born in 1962 in Krasnoyark, Siberia, Hvorostovsky graduated from the Krasnoyarsk Teacher’s Training School and the Krasnoyarsk Arts Institute and performed as a solo artist at the Krasnoyarsk State Theater of Opera and Ballet. In 1987, he won the First Prize at the Glinka Singers Competition and in 1988 – the Grand Prix at the International Singers Competition in Toulouse.
In 1989, Khvorostovsky was victorious at the International Opera Singers Competition in Cardiff that brought him world fame.
He performed at Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg and other prestigious opera theaters.
“Dmitri is a person of natural gifts. Whatever he sings, you always realize that this is Hvorostovsky, because the pitch of his voice cannot be compared to anybody. His insight into any image, whether it is arias, romantic songs or wartime songs is so deep that you cannot remain indifferent to that,” said pianist Denis Matsuev.
“For me, this is one of the forms of modern patriotism,” composer Igor Krutoy noted sharing his impression of Hvorostovsky’s performances. “When I came to the Metropolitan Opera hall in New York, which can accommodate 4,500 viewers, every aria sung by him caused a storm of applause, when every his appearance was accompanied by an ovation, when at the end of the performance no one was greeted with such a long applause like him, I felt proud for our country.”
Il Trovatore with Anna Netrebko in MET
Hvorostovsky has a number of honorary awards for his talent and achievements, among them the Glinka State Prize and the title of the People’s Artist of Russia.
In the summer of 2015, Hvorostovsky was diagnosed with a brain tumor. In late September 2016, the singer had to cancel his performance on the Vienna State Opera stage in Giuseppe Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. In December, the Bolshoi Theatre officially canceled Hvorostovsky’s debut in Verdi’s Don Carlos. In late June it was reported that the singer would not take part in the new 2017/2018 season of the Vienna State Opera for health reasons.
That said, the famous baritone successfully performed in late April on the Toronto stage and also made a surprise appearance at the Metropolitan Opera due to the theater’s 50th anniversary. On May 27, Hvorostovsky performed at the City Day celebration in St. Petersburg and on June 2, in Krasnoyarsk, his hometown.
Artistic Director of the Moscow-based Helikon Opera musical theater Dmitry Bertman expressed the hope that Hvorostovsky would return to the stage as soon as possible. “I want to tell our great contemporary, singer, artist, a handsome man and my friend that his fans all over the world are waiting for him to return to the stage and sing, and I am certain this is going to happen someday,” Bertman said.
Dmitri retains a strong musical and personal contact with Russia. He became the first opera singer to give a solo concert with orchestra and chorus on Red Square in Moscow; this concert was televised in over 25 countries. Dmitri has gone on to sing a number of prestigious concerts in Moscow as a part of his own special series, ‘Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Friends’. He has invited such celebrated artists as Renée Fleming, Barbara Frittoli, Elina Garanča, Sumi Jo, Sondra Radvanovsky, Jonas Kaufmann, Marcello Giordani and Ildar Abdrazakov. In 2005 he gave a historic tour throughout the cities of Russia at the invitation of President Putin, singing to crowds of hundreds of thousands of people to commemorate the soldiers of the Second World War. Dmitri has major annual tours throughout Russia and C.I.S. countries.
Dmitri has established great collaboration with the Russian popular composer Igor Krutoi, with very successful concerts in Moscow, St Petersburg, Sochi, Kiev and New York.
The singer is survived by his wife, Florence Hvorostovsky, and their two children, Maxim (14) and Nina (10); his twin children, Alexandra and Daniel (21), from a previous marriage; and his parents, Alexander and Lyudmila.
In September, Hvorostovsky was awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland of the IV degree, one of the highest non-military honors in Russia, for his great contribution to his country’s art and culture.