Christoff, Boris (Kirilov)

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Christoff, Boris (Kirilov)

Christoff, Boris (Kirilov), celebrated Bulgarian bass; b. Plovdiv, May 18, 1914; d. Rome, June 28, 1993. He sang in the Gusla Choir in Sofia, where he was heard by King Boris, who made it possible for him to go to Rome to study with Stracciari; he later studied in Salzburg with Muratti. He made his debut in a concert in Rome in 1946; that same year he made his operatic debut there at the Teatro Argentina as Colline in La Bohème. He made his first appearance at La Scala in Milan in 1947, at Covent Garden in London in 1949, and his U.S. debut as Boris Godunov with the San Francisco Opera on Sept. 25, 1956. During his distinguished career, he appeared with many leading opera houses, singing most of the principal bass roles in the operas of Verdi, as well as such roles as Gurnemanz, Ivan Susanin, Hagen, Rocco, Konchak, and King Marke. He was most renowned for his dramatic portrayal of Boris Godunov, which recalled the interpretation of Chaliapin. His brother-in-law was Tito Gobbi.


E Barker, Voice of the Opera: B. C. (London, 1951); G. Lauri-Volpi, Voci parallele: B. C. (Milan, 1955); O. Dejkova, B. D. (Sofia, 1965); A. Bozhkov, B. Khristov (Sofia, 1985); V. Pravchanska-Ivanova and N. Pravchanski, Sreshti s B. Khristov (Sofia, 1990); C. Curami and M. Modugno, B. G: La vita, la voce, l’arte (Parma, 1996).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire