Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin (1873-1938) is a Great Russian bass singer. At various times he was the leading singer at the Mariinsky and the Bolshoi Theatres as well as at the “Metropolitan Opera”.
Feodor Ivanovich was born in Kazan. As a child, he sang at a cantorial. He obtained his preliminary education at the private school of Vedernikova. In 1885, he graduated from the Kazan laity school. In the spring of 1890, the singer performed solo for the first time. In the autumn of the same year, Feodor Ivanovich moved to Ufa. At the age of 18, he became a chorister of the Little Russian music and drama troupe of Derkach. July 9, 1891 the troupe along with the orchestra and the choir came to Buzuluk. They had been on the tour since 11 to 18 of July at the civic theatre (today the Drama Theatre named after M. Gorki). Back then the thorough restoration of the building was conducted based on the instruction of the Governor Nikolay Kryzhanovsky. They extended the stage, protected the foyer and the corridors from the cold, and erected the third circle and the loges. In 1893, Chaliapin moved to Tiflis together with the troupe of Derkach and performed his first bass parts. Two years later, he became a part of the St. Petersburg Opera Troupe and performed at the stage of the Mariinsky Theatre in the roles of Mephisto and Ruslan. He took the Bolshoi stage in 1899 for the first time, and in 1901, he sang the Mephisto part at the Milan theatre “La Scala”. During the first Russian Revolution, the singer performed the folk songs, donating his fees to workpeople. In 1907-1908, his tour over the United States of America and Argentina began. In 1915, he made his first appearance in a film, playing the lead role in “Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich Grozny”. In 1918, Chaliapin headed the former Mariinsky Theatre. The same year he was granted with the title of people’s artist.
In July of 1922, Chaliapin went on tour to the USA and when in 1927 he donated his fees to the children of political exiles it was perceived as a betrayal of the Soviet vision. Feodor Ivanovich was stripped of the title of the people’s artist and banned from returning to his homeland. The Great Artist was withdrawn all the accusations only in 1991.
Feodor Chaliapin passed away in 1938. October 29, 1984 the Great Artist was ceremoniously reburied at the Novodevichy cemetery.