Russia celebrates 140th birthday of its singer Feodor Chaliapin

"Song of the Volga Boatmen" record by Feodor Chaliapin (1902), photos of Ullsteinbild/Vostock-Photo; ITAR-TASS; Getty Images/Fotobank

Feb.13, 2013 marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of renowned Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin. The possessor of a large, deep and expressive bass voice, he enjoyed an important international career. 

Feodor Chaliapin was born in Kazan. As a small boy Shalyapin got elementary knowledge of music from his neighbor, and then he began to sing in a suburban church choir. Largely self-taught, he began his career at the Imperial Opera, St. Petersburg in 1894.

The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow engaged Chaliapin, where he appeared regularly from 1899 until 1914. In addition, from 1901, Chaliapin began touring in the West, making a sensational debut at La Scala that year. The singer's debut in New York Metropolitan Opera in the 1907 season was average; but he returned to the Met in 1921 and sang there with immense success for eight seasons. In 1913, Chaliapin was introduced to London and Paris. He toured Australia in 1926, giving a series of recitals which were highly acclaimed.

This week in Russia, apart from Moscow and Kazan, festivities also will be held in Ufa, where Feodor Chaliapin started his professional career. An exhibition dedicated to Chaliapin has opened at the Ufa National Museum earlier this week.

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