Friday, 19 September 2014

Photos: Boris Christoff (1965) by Olga Deikova

This post includes all 55 photos reproduced in the book, plus the front cover (which is the only one in colour) and the frontispiece portrait. The captions are literal translations of the information given in the List of Illustrations. My own additions appear in square brackets.

[Cover: Boris Christoff as Boris Godunov, detail from a portrait by Leonard Boden.]
[See also photo No. 42.]

[Frontispiece: photo portrait, probably late 1950s. See also this cover.]

1. Boris Christoff's parents at their home [in Sofia].

2. Boris Christoff at the age of four.

3. Boris Christoff and his teacher, the baritone Riccardo Stracciari, Rome, 1942.

4. Puccini, La Boheme, Colline; debut in Reggio, 1946.
[March 12, 1946, Teatro Cilea, Reggio Calabria, Boris' debut on the opera stage.]

5. Mussorgsky, Boris Godunov, Act II, 
Boris addresses Shuisky: "Достойный коновод толпы безмозглой..."

6. Mussorgsky, Khovanshtina, Dosifey, Bologna [1955].
[Boris sang Dosifey on 53 occasions (including one concert performance)
between February 1948 and April 1978 in Trieste, Florence, Milan, Venice, Cagliari, 
Bologna, Lisbon, Rome, Turin, Budapest and Catania.]

7. Borodine, Prince Igor, Act II, Khan Konchak, Chicago [October 1962].
[Boris always doubled the roles of Galitsky and Konchak.
He sang them 24 times (including two concert performances) between
February 1951 and September 1964 in Rome, Milan, Trieste, Turin and Chicago.]

8. Borodine, Prince Igor, Act I, Scene 1, 
Prince Galitsky: "Не выдам девки...", Naples.
[Charming painting based on this photo was used on the cover of 
Boris' LP with Russian romances recorded in 1975 for DG.]

9. Mussorgsky, Boris Godunov, Act II,
Boris Godunov: "А там донос боярь крамольных...",
debut, London, [November/December] 1949.
[Boris had already debuted as Boris in Cagliari under Serafin, March 1948.]
[The total number of performances is debatable. 153 are documented (at least one of them a concert performance in Italian; 1952, Rome, Rodzinsky) between March 1948 and November 1974 in Cagliari, London, Milan, Turin, Antwerp, Barcelona, Reggio Emilia, Rome, Modena, Venice, Paris, Nice, Toulouse, Lyon, Bologna, Lisbon, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Pittsburg, Nancy, Chicago, Geneva, Florence, Boston, Stockholm, Madrid, Copenhagen and Naples.]

10. Monteverdi, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Seneca.
[Boris sang this role eight times in three different productions
between September 1949 and December 1967 in Venice, Florence and Naples.]

11. Verdi, Don Carlo, Scene 5, Philip II: "Ella giammai m'amo...",
debut, Florence, 1950.
[In March 1950, Boris debuted as Philip II in Florence.]
[The total number of performances is debatable. 147 are documented 
(including at least one concert performance) between March 1950 and January 1982 
in Florence, Cagliari, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Bologna, Venice, Lisbon, Chicago, London, Salzburg, Milan, Turin, Naples, Vienna, Trieste, Hamburg, Gand, Paris, San Remo, Copenhagen, Budapest, Wiesbaden, Turin, Frankfurt, Madrid, Bari, Monaco, Zurich and Parma.]

12. Gounod, Faust, Act IV, Scene 3,
Mephistopheles: "Vous qui faites l'endormie",
Buenos Aires, 1956.
[Boris sang Gounod's Mephisto five times in Teatro Colon in June/July, 1956, and 
altogether 24 times in Venice, Genoa, Rimini, Milan, Naples Pistoia, Buenos Aires and Geneva between January 1950 and May 1963.]

13. Verdi, I Vespri Siciliani, Giovanni da Procida.
[1951, May/June in Florence or December in Milan, 10 performances overall. 
Boris never sang the role onstage again, though he did once on-air in 1955.]

14. Mussorgsky, Boris Godunov, Pimen, drawing by Leonard Boden.
[Boris sang Pimen seven times in 1947,
February in Rome (4) and September in Milano (3).
This number does not include a 1971 performance for the Danish TV in Copenhagen which included all three bass parts from Godunov and was made under more or less studio conditions.]

15. Mussorgsky, Boris Godunov, Varlaam, drawing by Leonard Boden.
[Boris Christoff never sang Varlaam on the stage,
although he did, of course, record the part twice in the studio (1952, 1962).
There is also a 1971 performance for the Danish TV in Copenhagen which included all three bass parts from Godunov and was made under more or less studio conditions, but this has never been released and it's doubtful if it still exists.]

16. Mussorgsky, Boris Godunov, Act II,
Boris Godunov with Xenia: "Дитя мое! Моя голубка!", Barcelona.
[Teatro Liceo, February, 1951.]

17. Rossini, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act III, Scene 1, Don Basilio.
[15 performances between July 1956 and November 1963
in Rio de Janeiro, Edinburgh and Chicago.]

18. Tchaikovsky, Mazeppa, Kochubey.
[Eight performances, four in Florence (June 1954) and four in Catania (March 1975), one of the former, with Bastianini and Olivero (and in Italian) is preserved on record.]

19. Mussorgsky, Boris Godunov, Act IV, Scene 2, 
the death of Boris.

20. Verdi, Ernani, Don Gomez da Silva.
[Boris sang Silva only nine times, one of them a concert performance for the Milan RAI in 1968 with Prevedi, Glossop and Caballe. The other eight times were the Rome production in February 1951 (4) and the legendary one with Mitropoulos in May 1957 in Florence (4). The last two, from 1957 and 1968, have been preserved in decent sound and released on CD.]

21. Verdi, La Forza del Destino, Padre Guardiano, Milano, 1949.
[Boris sang Guardiano 18 times, at least three of them concert performances, 
between August 1947 and April 1973 in Sasari, Milan, Bern, Bologna, Rome, Naples, Chicago and Hamburg.  His last appearance as the Franciscan monk was in the Hamburg Staatsoper with Bruno Prevedi, Raina Kabaivanska and Renato Bruson.
The 1957 radio performance with Cerquetti has been released on CD.
The legendary 1958 production with Tebaldi, Corelli, Bastianini, Dominguez and Cappecchi is available on both CD and DVD.]

22. Rossini, Moses, Moses, Trieste [November/December 1955].
[Boris sang the most famous prophet 25 times, including at least one concert performance (Carnegie Hall, 1958), between November 1951 and July 1974 in Florence, Trieste, New York, Milan, Rome and Oranges.]

23. Glinka, Ivan Susanin, Act I, 
Ivan Susanin with Antonida (Renata Scotto) [La Scala, 1959].
[Nine performances overall: Milan 1959 (5), Naples 1967 (3), Turin 1974 (1, radio).]

24. Mussorgsky, Sorochinsky Fair, Cherevik, Rome.
[10 performances between October 1948 and April 1959, including one concert performance, all in Rome.]

25. Gluck, Iphigenia in Aulida, Agamemnon.
[11 performances: Florence 1950 (3), Rome 1954 (4), Milan 1959 (4).]

26. Wagner, Parsifal, Act III, Gurnemanz.
[10 performances: Rome 1950 (1, radio), Milan 1960 (5) and 1961 (4). 
Recording of the 1950 performance (in Italian) has become a classic.]

27. Verdi, Attila, Attila, debut, Florence, 1962.
[15 performances: Florence 1962 (4), Trieste 1966 (5), Venice 1976 (6).]

28. Mussorgsky, Boris Godunov, Act IV, Scene 2,
Boris Godunov: "Ой! Душно! Душно! Свету!...", Bologna [October/December 1954].

29. Verdi, Don Carlo, Scene 5, Philip II: "Ella giammai m'amo...", Milan [1960/61].

30. Verdi, Don Carlo, Act I, Scene 2, 
Philip II: "La mia Reggia l'affanno la circonda", Vienna [1962/63/64].

31. Boris Christoff, Paris, 1958.

32. Boito, Mefistofele, Mefistofele.
[11 performances: Naples 1952 (4), Venice 1955 (4), Chicago 1961 (3).]

33. Verdi, Simon Boccanegra, Fiesco, Bologna [November, 1952].
[Boris sang Fiesco on 25 occasions, including at least one concert performance, between October 1948 and May 1980 in Rome, Venice, Bologna, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Lisbon and London.]

34. Boris Christoff as Boris Godunov with conductor Issay Dobrowen,
debut in La Scala, Milan, [December] 1949.
[This means debut in this role in La Scala. Boris had already sung the part in Cagliari and London as well as a number of other parts in La Scala, including Pimen, Rocco, Dosifey and Guardiano.]

35. Cimarosa, Il matrimonio segreto, Conte Robinson,
debut in La Scala, Milan, 1949.
[Six performances in 1949 (La Scala, 4) and 1950 (Cagliari, 2).]
[One of his rare ventures into the comic repertoire, Conte Robinson is the only part (apart from Basilio) which Boris played onstage without beard and/or moustache. Incidentally, he never had either offstage.]

36. Boris Christoff with his parents, Venice, 1954.

37. Boris Christoff with his wife, 1960.

38. Boris Christoff as Boris Godunov,
with his wife before going on the stage, London, 1949.

39. Boris Christoff with his mother at their home, Sofia, 1963.

40. Boris Christoff as Gomez da Silva with conductor [Dimitri] Mitropoulos, 
Florence [1957].

41. The Italian ambassador in London awards Boris Christoff
the Order of the Italian Republic after a charity concert.

42. Boris Christoff and painter Leonard Boden
before the portrait of the singer as Boris Godunov, London.

43. Mussorsgky, Boris Godunov, Act IV, Scene 2,
Boris Godunov: "Я созвал вас бояре...", Florence [December 1963].

44. Mussorgsky, Boris GodunovBoris Godunov, Prologue, Scene 2, Milan.

45. Mussorgsky, Boris GodunovBoris Godunov, Prologue, Scene 2, Milan.

46. Glinka, Ivan Susanin, Ivan Susanin, Milan [March/April 1959].

47. Borodine, Prince Igor, Prince Galitsky, 
debut in La Scala, Milan, [April/May] 1951.

48. Tchaikovsky, Mazeppa, Kochubey, Florence [June 1954].

49. Verdi, Don Carlo, Philip II, debut in the Rome Opera, 1953.
[This means debut in this role in the Rome Opera. Boris had already sung Philip in Florence, Cagliari and Rio de Janeiro as well as a number of parts in the Rome Opera, including Pimen, Gomez da Silva and Boris Godunov.]

50. Verdi, Don Carlo, Philip II, Scene 4, La Scala, Milan [1960/61].

51. Verdi, Don Carlo, Philip II, Scene 2, La Scala, Milan [1960/61].

52. Verdi, Nabucco, Zaccaria, Act I, Scene 1, Chicago [Lyric Opera, 1963].

53. Rossini, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II, Don Basilio: "La calunnia e un venticello",
with Bartolo (Fernando Corena), Chicago [November, 1961/63].

54. Beethoven, Fidelio, Pizarro, debut in Chicago [October 1963].
[Seven performances: Chicago 1963 (4) and Rome 1964 (3).]

55. Boito, Mefistofele, Mefistofele.

A couple of personal favourites not included in the book.




 Boito's Mefistofele:

Gounod's Mephistopheles:

 Padre Guardiano:

Boris Godunov:

Philip II:

Philip II on the cover.

Philip II, with Ettore Bastianini as Posa:

Procida, with Maria Callas as Elena, Florence, May 1951.

The legendary Ernani in Florence, June 1957.
From left to right (excluding the guys in the white jackets):  Mario Del Monaco, Anita Cerquetti, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Boris Christoff, Ettore Bastianini:

Mario del Monaco congratulates Boris Christoff backstage. Role and year unknown.

Various portraits:

Sailing for the US (Boris is on the right, with dark glasses):

With conductor Andre Cluytens during recording sessions, September 1962.

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