Feodor Chaliapin
Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin (Russian: Фёдор Ива́нович Шаля́пин, Fyodor Ivanovich Shalyapin; April 12, 1938) was a Russian opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 singer. The possessor of a large and expressive bass voice, he enjoyed an important international career at major opera houses and is often credited with establishing the tradition of naturalistic acting in his chosen art form.

During the first phase of his career, Chaliapin endured direct competition from three other great basses: the powerful Lev Sibiriakov (1869–1942), the more lyrical Vladimir Kastorsky (1871–1948), and Dmitri Buchtoyarov (1866–1918), whose voice lay between the extremes exemplified by Sibiriakov and Kastorsky. The fact that Chaliapin is far and away the best remembered of this magnificent quartet of rival basses testifies to the magnetic power of his personality, the acuteness of his musical interpretations and the vividness of his performances.

Spelling note

He himself spelled his surname Chaliapine in the West, and his name even appeared on early HMV 78s as Theodore Chaliapine. However, the given name is most usually rendered as Feodor or Fyodor, and the surname is most usually seen as Chaliapin. It is sometimes given a strict romanisation as "Shalyapin" in reference books.

Early life

Feodor Chaliapin was born into a peasant family on February 1 (OS) 1873 in Kazan
Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,143,546 , it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the...

, in the wing of merchant Lisitzin's house on Rybnoryadskaya Street (now Pushkin Street
Pushkin Street, Kazan
Pushkina Street is the main street of Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. The street runs from the Qaban lake to the south-west, to Kazanka River in the north. The street is one of the busiest in Kazan and is a major shopping area....

) 10. This wing no longer exists, but the house with the yard where the wing was situated is still there. The next day, Candlemas (The Meeting of Our Lord), he was baptized in Epiphany (Bogoyavlenskaya) Church on Bolshaya Prolomnaya street (now Bauman Street). His godparents were the neighbors: the shoemaker Nikolay Tonkov and 12-year-old girl Ludmila Kharitonova. The dwelling was expensive for his father, Ivan Yakovlevich, who served as a clerk in the Zemskaya Uprava (District Council or Zemstvo Council or Zemstvo), and in 1878 the Chaliapin family moved to the village Ametyevo (also Ometyevo, or the Ometyev settlements, now a settlement within Kazan) behind the area of Sukonnaya Sloboda, and settled in a small house.


Largely self-taught, he began his career at Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

 and the Imperial Opera, St. Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 in 1894. He was then invited to sing at the Mamontov Private Opera
Private Opera
The Private Opera , also known as:*The Russian Private Opera ;*Moscow Private Russian Opera, ;*Mamontov's Private Russian Opera in Moscow ;*Korotkov's Theatre ;*Vinter's Theatre ;*Private Opera Society ; and...

 (1896–1899); his first role there was as Mephistopheles
Mephistopheles is a demon featured in German folklore...

 in Faust
Faust (opera)
Faust is a drame lyrique in five acts by Charles Gounod to a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carré's play Faust et Marguerite, in turn loosely based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Part 1...

, in which he was a considerable success.

At Mamontov he also met Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music...

, who was serving as an assistant conductor there and with whom he remained friends for life. Rachmaninoff taught him much about musicianship, including how to analyze a music score, and insisted that Chaliapin learn not only his own roles but also all the other roles in the operas in which he was slated to appear. With Rachmaninoff he learned the role of Boris Godunov
Boris Godunov (opera)
Boris Godunov is an opera by Modest Mussorgsky . The work was composed between 1868 and 1873 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is Mussorgsky's only completed opera and is considered his masterpiece. Its subjects are the Russian ruler Boris Godunov, who reigned as Tsar during the Time of Troubles,...

, which became his signature character. Chaliapin returned the favor by showing Rachmaninoff how he built each of his interpretations around a culminating moment or "point." Regardless of where that point was or at which dynamic within that piece, the performer had to know how to approach it with absolute calculation and precision; otherwise, the whole construction of the piece could crumble and the piece could become disjointed. Rachmaninoff put this approach to considerable use when he became a full-time concert pianist after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...


On the strength of his Mamontov appearances, the Bolshoi Theatre
Bolshoi Theatre
The Bolshoi Theatre is a historic theatre in Moscow, Russia, designed by architect Joseph Bové, which holds performances of ballet and opera. The Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera are amongst the oldest and most renowned ballet and opera companies in the world...

 in Moscow engaged Chaliapin, where he appeared regularly from 1899 until 1914. During the First World War, Chaliapin also appeared regularly at the Zimin Private Opera
Zimin Opera
The Zimin Opera was founded by the Russian entrepreneur Sergei Zimin in Moscow, Russia in 1903.The company staged the premieres of such operas as Rimsky-Korsakov's Golden Cockerel, Gretchaninoff's Beatris Sister and Ippolitov-Ivanov's Izmena...

 in Moscow. In addition, from 1901, Chaliapin began appearing the West, making a sensational debut at La Scala
La Scala
La Scala , is a world renowned opera house in Milan, Italy. The theatre was inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and was originally known as the New Royal-Ducal Theatre at La Scala...

 that year as the devil in a production of Boito's
Arrigo Boito
Arrigo Boito , aka Enrico Giuseppe Giovanni Boito, pseudonym Tobia Gorrio, was an Italian poet, journalist, novelist and composer, best known today for his libretti, especially those for Giuseppe Verdi's operas Otello and Falstaff, and his own opera Mefistofele...

Mefistofele is an opera in a prologue, four acts and an epilogue, the only completed opera by the Italian composer-librettist Arrigo Boito.-Composition history:...

, under the baton of one of the 20th century's most dynamic opera conductor, Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini was an Italian conductor. One of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and 20th century, he was renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, and his photographic memory...

. At the end of his career, Toscanini observed that the Russian bass was the greatest operatic talent with whom he had ever worked. The singer's Metropolitan Opera
Metropolitan Opera
The Metropolitan Opera is an opera company, located in New York City. Originally founded in 1880, the company gave its first performance on October 22, 1883. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager...

 debut in the 1907 season was disappointing due to the unprecedented frankness of his stage acting; but he returned to the Met in 1921 and sang there with immense success for eight seasons, New York's audiences having grown more broad-minded since 1907. In 1913, Chaliapin was introduced to London and Paris by the brilliant entrepreneur Sergei Diaghilev
Sergei Diaghilev
Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev , usually referred to outside of Russia as Serge, was a Russian art critic, patron, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes, from which many famous dancers and choreographers would arise.-Early life and career:...

, at which point he began giving well-received solo recitals in which he sang traditional Russian folk songs as well as more serious fare. Among these folk songs were Along Peterskaya, which he recorded with a British-based Russian folk-instruments' orchestra, and the song which he made famous throughout the world: The Song of the Volga Boatmen.

Later life

Chaliapin toured Australia in 1926, giving a series of recitals which were highly acclaimed.
Privately, Chaliapin's personal arrangements were in a state of disruption as a consequence of the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

. At first he was treated as a revered artist of the newly-emerged Soviet Russia. However, the harsh realities of everyday life under the new regime, and the unstable climate which became manifest during the ensuing Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

, combined with, reportedly, the encroachment on some of his property by the Communist authorities, caused him to remain perpetually outside Russia after 1921. He still maintained, however, that he was not anti-Soviet. Chaliapin initially moved to Finland and later lived in France. Cosmopolitan Paris, with its significant Russian émigré population, became his base, and ultimately, the city of his death. He was renowned for his larger-than-life carousing during this period - but he never sacrificed his dedication to his art.

Chaliapin's attachment to Paris did not prevent him from pursuing an international operatic and concert career in England, United States and further afield. His most famous part was the title role of Boris Godunov
Boris Godunov (opera)
Boris Godunov is an opera by Modest Mussorgsky . The work was composed between 1868 and 1873 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is Mussorgsky's only completed opera and is considered his masterpiece. Its subjects are the Russian ruler Boris Godunov, who reigned as Tsar during the Time of Troubles,...

(excerpts of which he recorded 1929-31 and earlier). He is remembered also for his impersonations of Ivan the Terrible in Rimsky-Korsakov
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov was a Russian composer, and a member of the group of composers known as The Five.The Five, also known as The Mighty Handful or The Mighty Coterie, refers to a circle of composers who met in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in the years 1856–1870: Mily Balakirev , César...

's The Maid of Pskov
The Maid of Pskov
The Maid of Pskov , is an opera in three acts and six scenes by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The libretto was written by the composer, and is based on the drama of the same name by Lev Mei. The story concerns the Tsar Ivan the Terrible and his efforts to subject the cities of Pskov and Novgorod to his...

, Mephistopheles
Mephistopheles is a demon featured in German folklore...

 in Gounod
Charles Gounod
Charles-François Gounod was a French composer, known for his Ave Maria as well as his operas Faust and Roméo et Juliette.-Biography:...

's Faust
Faust (opera)
Faust is a drame lyrique in five acts by Charles Gounod to a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carré's play Faust et Marguerite, in turn loosely based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Part 1...

, Don Quixote in Massenet
Jules Massenet
Jules Émile Frédéric Massenet was a French composer best known for his operas. His compositions were very popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and he ranks as one of the greatest melodists of his era. Soon after his death, Massenet's style went out of fashion, and many of his operas...

's Don Quichotte
Don Quichotte
Don Quichotte is an opera in five acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Henri Caïn.Massenet's comédie-héroïque, like so many other dramatized versions of the story of Don Quixote, relates only indirectly to the great novel by Miguel de Cervantes...

, King Philip in Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera. He was one of the most influential composers of the 19th century...

's Don Carlos
Don Carlos
Don Carlos is a five-act grand opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi to a French language libretto by Camille du Locle and Joseph Méry, based on the dramatic play Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien by Friedrich Schiller...

and Bertram in Meyerbeer
Giacomo Meyerbeer
Giacomo Meyerbeer was a noted German opera composer, and the first great exponent of "grand opera." At his peak in the 1830s and 1840s, he was the most famous and successful composer of opera in Europe, yet he is rarely performed today.-Early years:He was born to a Jewish family in Tasdorf , near...

's Robert le Diable.

Largely owing to his advocacy, Russian operas such as Mussorgsky
Modest Mussorgsky
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky was a Russian composer, one of the group known as 'The Five'. He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period...

's Boris Godunov
Boris Godunov (opera)
Boris Godunov is an opera by Modest Mussorgsky . The work was composed between 1868 and 1873 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is Mussorgsky's only completed opera and is considered his masterpiece. Its subjects are the Russian ruler Boris Godunov, who reigned as Tsar during the Time of Troubles,...

and Khovanshchina
Khovanshchina is an opera in five acts by Modest Mussorgsky. The work was written between 1872 and 1880 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The composer wrote the libretto based on historical sources...

, Glinka
Mikhail Glinka
Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka , was the first Russian composer to gain wide recognition within his own country, and is often regarded as the father of Russian classical music...

's Ivan Susanin
A Life for the Tsar
A Life for the Tsar , as it is known in English, although its original name was Ivan Susanin is a "patriotic-heroic tragic opera" in four acts with an epilogue by Mikhail Glinka. The original Russian libretto, based on historical events, was written by Nestor Kukolnik, Georgy Fyodorovich Rozen,...

, Borodin
Alexander Borodin
Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin was a Russian Romantic composer and chemist of Georgian–Russian parentage. He was a member of the group of composers called The Five , who were dedicated to producing a specifically Russian kind of art music...

's Prince Igor
Prince Igor
Prince Igor is an opera in four acts with a prologue. It was composed by Alexander Borodin. The composer adapted the libretto from the East Slavic epic The Lay of Igor's Host, which recounts the campaign of Russian prince Igor Svyatoslavich against the invading Polovtsian tribes in 1185...

and Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride
The Tsar's Bride (opera)
The Tsar's Bride is an opera in four acts by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, the composer's tenth opera. The libretto, by Il’ya Tyumenev, is based on the drama of the same name by Lev Mey. Mey's play was first suggested to the composer as an opera subject in 1868 by Mily Balakirev...

and Sadko
Sadko (opera)
Sadko is an opera in seven scenes by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The libretto was written by the composer, with assistance from Vladimir Belsky, Vladimir Stasov, and others. Rimsky-Korsakov was first inspired by the bylina of Sadko in 1867, when he completed a tone poem on the subject, his Op. 5...

, became well known in the West.

Chaliapin made one sound film for the director G. W. Pabst, the 1933 Adventures of Don Quixote
Adventures of Don Quixote (film)
Adventures of Don Quixote is the English title of a film adaptation of the classic Miguel de Cervantes novel, directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst, starring the famous operatic bass Feodor Chaliapin. Although the film stars Chaliapin, it is not an opera; however, he does sing three songs in it. It is...

. Rather than going out in one version with subtitles, the film was made in three different versions - French, English, and German, as was sometimes the prevailing custom. Chaliapin starred in all three versions, each of which used the same script, sets and costumes, but different supporting casts. The English and the French versions are the most often seen, and both were released in May 2006 on a DVD. Pabst's film was not a version of the Massenet opera but a dramatic adaptation of Cervantes
-People:*Alfonso J. Cervantes , mayor of St. Louis, Missouri*Francisco Cervantes de Salazar, 16th-century man of letters*Ignacio Cervantes, Cuban composer*Jorge Cervantes, a world-renowned expert on indoor, outdoor, and greenhouse cannabis cultivation...

' novel, with music and songs by Jacques Ibert
Jacques Ibert
Jacques François Antoine Ibert was a French composer. Having studied music from an early age, he studied at the Paris Conservatoire and won its top prize, the Prix de Rome at his first attempt, despite studies interrupted by his service in World War I.Ibert pursued a successful composing career,...


In 1932, Chaliapin published a memoir, Man and Mask: Forty Years in the Life of a Singer. Chaliapin's last stage performance took place at the Monte Carlo Opera in 1937, as Boris. He died the following year of leukemia
Leukemia or leukaemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called "blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases...

, aged 65, in Paris, where he was interred. In 1984, his remains were transferred from Paris to Moscow with elaborate ceremony. They were re-buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery
Novodevichy Cemetery
Novodevichy Cemetery is the most famous cemetery in Moscow, Russia. It is next to the 16th-century Novodevichy Convent, which is the city's third most popular tourist site. It should not be confused with the Novodevichy Cemetery in Saint Petersburg....


One of his sons, Feodor Chaliapin, Jr.
Feodor Chaliapin, Jr.
Feodor Chaliapin, Jr. was the son and namesake of operatic bass Feodor Chaliapin. He was born in Moscow, Russia, and had a distinguished career in acting throughout Europe, mainly in Italy. His mother was Iola Tornagi, a noted ballerina who quit ballet and acting to take care of Feodor and his...

 (1905–1992), had a notable career in Western motion pictures as a character actor, appearing most famously in Moonstruck
Moonstruck is a 1987 American romantic comedy film directed by Norman Jewison. It stars Cher, Nicolas Cage, Danny Aiello, Vincent Gardenia, and Olympia Dukakis....

and in The Name of the Rose
The Name of the Rose (film)
The Name of the Rose is a 1986 film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, based on the book of the same name by Umberto Eco. Sean Connery is the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and Christian Slater is his apprentice Adso of Melk, who are called upon to solve a deadly mystery in a medieval...

opposite Sean Connery
Sean Connery
Sir Thomas Sean Connery , better known as Sean Connery, is a Scottish actor and producer who has won an Academy Award, two BAFTA Awards and three Golden Globes Sir Thomas Sean Connery (born 25 August 1930), better known as Sean Connery, is a Scottish actor and producer who has won an Academy...

. Another son, Boris Chaliapin
Boris Chaliapin
Boris Chaliapin was the son of Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin and brother of The Name of the Rose actor Feodor Chaliapin, Jr..He worked as an artist for TIME Magazine, for which he had made more than 400 covers, from 1942 to 1970 .-References:...

, was a well-known artist, having painted the portraits used on 414 covers of the mass-circulation news magazine Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

between 1942 and 1970.

Honours and awards

  • 1902 - Order of the Golden Star of Bukhara, 3rd class
  • 1907 - Golden Cross of the Prussian eagle
  • 1908 - Commander of the officer's rank
  • 1910 - Soloist
    Kammersänger , abbreviation: "Ks.", literally means "Chamber singer." It is a German honorific title for distinguished singers...

     of His Majesty (Russia)
  • 1912 - Soloist of His Majesty the King of Italy
  • 1913 - Soloist of His Majesty the King of England
  • 1914 - British award for special achievements in the arts
  • 1914 - Order of St. Stanislaus, 3rd class (Russia)
  • 1916 - The title of the officer
  • 1918 - People's Artist of the Republic
  • 1934 - Commander of the Legion of Honour (France)

Autobiographical works

Chaliapin's autobiographical collaboration with Maxim Gorky
Maxim Gorky
Alexei Maximovich Peshkov , primarily known as Maxim Gorky , was a Russian and Soviet author, a founder of the Socialist Realism literary method and a political activist.-Early years:...

 occurred in 1917. He had already begun writing his autobiography long before, in the Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

. In 1917, while he was in the south of France, he was urged to write such a work by a French journalist who hoped to ghost-write it. Gorky, who was his intimate friend and was then living in Capri
Capri is an Italian island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula, on the south side of the Gulf of Naples, in the Campania region of Southern Italy...

, persuaded Chaliapin to stay with him there and with the help of a secretary a great deal of information was taken down which Gorky fashioned into a long manuscript, published in Russia in 1917 as a series of articles in the journal Letopis. Meanwhile, Chaliapin attempted to sell it to an American publisher, who refused it on learning that it had been published in Russian. There was a rift with Gorky, and Chaliapin worked with another editor to produce a 'new' version of his original text. This was published in America as Pages of My Life (Harper and Brothers, New York 1927), took the story only up to 1905, and lacked the depth, style and life of Gorky's version. Then, in 1932, Chaliapin published Man and Mask (Alfred A. Knopf, New York) to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of his first stage appearance. The original manuscript of the Gorky version was first translated and published in English in 1967, by Nina Froud and James Hanley, as Chaliapin: An autobiography as told to Maxim Gorky (Stein and Day, New York), and included an appendix of original correspondence including a section relating to Gorky.


Chaliapin possessed a high-lying bass voice with an unmistakable timbre which recorded clearly. He cut a prolific number of discs for His Master's Voice, beginning in Russia with acoustical recordings made at the dawn of the 20th Century, and continuing through the early electrical (microphone) era. Some of his performances at the Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House is an opera house and major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, central London. The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The...

, Covent Garden
Covent Garden
Covent Garden is a district in London on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St. Martin's Lane and Drury Lane. It is associated with the former fruit and vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and the Royal Opera House, which is also known as...

, in London were recorded live in the 1920s, including a haunting version of the "Death of Boris" from Boris Godunov. His last disc, made in Tokyo in 1936, was of the famous The Song of the Volga Boatmen. Many of his recordings were issued in the United States by RCA Victor. His legacy of recordings is available on CDs issued by EMI
The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major...

, Preiser, Naxos
Naxos Records
Naxos Records is a record label specializing in classical music. Through a number of imprints, Naxos also releases genres including Chinese music, jazz, world music, and early rock & roll. The company was founded in 1987 by Klaus Heymann, a German-born resident of Hong Kong.Naxos is the largest...

 and other commercial labels. They consist of songs as well as a range of arias from Italian, French and, naturally enough, Russian opera. He is at his idiomatic best when performing the musical compositions of his compatriots.


  • Opera commentator/historian Michael Scott avers that: "Chaliapin ranks with Caruso and Maria Callas
    Maria Callas
    Maria Callas was an American-born Greek soprano and one of the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century. She combined an impressive bel canto technique, a wide-ranging voice and great dramatic gifts...

     as one of the three greatest singers and most potent and influential artists of the twentieth century."
  • "At the Met he sang the role of Basilio in Rossini's The Barber of Seville
    The Barber of Seville
    The Barber of Seville, or The Futile Precaution is an opera buffa in two acts by Gioachino Rossini with a libretto by Cesare Sterbini. The libretto was based on Pierre Beaumarchais's comedy Le Barbier de Séville , which was originally an opéra comique, or a mixture of spoken play with music...

    as a vulgar, unctious, greasy priest, constantly picking his nose and wiping his fingers onto his cassock. Audiences were appalled. Defending himself, Chaliapin said in an interview that Basilio 'is a Spanish priest. It is a type I know well. He is not the modern American priest, clean and well-groomed; he is dirty and unkempt, he is a beast, and this is what I make him, a comic beast.' " (Harold C. Schonberg
    Harold C. Schonberg
    Harold Charles Schonberg was an American music critic and journalist, most notably for The New York Times. He was the first music critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism...

  • Some accused Chaliapin of brawling backstage. Rachmaninoff agreed. "Feodor is a brawler. They are all scared of his very spirit. He shouts suddenly or even hits someone! And Feodor's fist is powerful ... He can take care of himself. And how else should one behave? Backstage at our own theater it's just like a saloon. They shout, they drink, they swear in the foulest language."
  • Met diva Geraldine Farrar
    Geraldine Farrar
    Geraldine Farrar was an American soprano opera singer and film actress, noted for her beauty, acting ability, and "the intimate timbre of her voice." She had a large following among young women, who were nicknamed "Gerry-flappers".- Early life and opera career :Farrar was born in Melrose,...

    said Chaliapin had a voice like "melodious thunder" but warned of his unannounced antics to hog the limelight onstage. "Chaliapin was a wonderful opera partner, but one had to be watchful for sudden departures from the rehearsal plan, and the touches of originality favorable only for the aggrandizement of Chaliapin."

External links

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