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  • Very Best of Boris Christoff
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Very Best of Boris Christoff

6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 26, 2005
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$23.81 $9.94

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Editorial Reviews

Details TBA. EMI. 2005.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 26, 2005)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B0006VYEIC
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418,867 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rosomax on February 9, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The great Boris Christoff was a post World War II reigning bass. Bulgarian by birth, Christoff was able to quickly become popular all over the world due to his beautiful robust voice and what can probably be called "method-acting" for the opera. While his voice was not as huge as his fellow-Bulgarian's Nicolai Ghiaurov's, it was still a "force of nature", sometimes causing Christoff to literately "eschew the scene". His skill at clear delivery, making sure that every word is distinguishable and meaningful, is a rare quality in bassos (some even sound like they have their mouths full of kashi), and it allowed him to take on very nuanced art-song repertoire, including Mussorgsky's "Songs and Dances of Death", alas not included in its entirety here (I kept wondering why was it necessary to cut The Lullaby and Serenade from this cycle, and still present "The Nursery", somewhat of an oddity where Christoff lightened his voice to sound entirely un-basso :)).
In addition to his celebrated Russian roles, such as Boris Godunov or Khan Konchak, Christoff was a superb interpreter of Italian and French repertoire. Heard here as Philip II and Mephistopheles, Christoff is at the height of his powers, injecting so much sorrow to the king's lament and such verve to the devil, these characters become very real and three-dimensional.
As to the CD set layout itself, it boasts a large selection from "Boris Godunov", including a spectacular Varlaam's song, several Italian, Russian, and French "greatest hits" (there's also a Chaliapin favorite "Mephistopheles' Song of a Flea", punctuated by chuckles and other "evil" noises; Christoff clearly had a grand time recording it), but it does leave one hungry for more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Kind on October 3, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you have always been a Christoff fan you should have this marvellous anthology.
If you never heard him before: meet one of the greatest singers ever. His sound is unique and his interpretations wonderfull. Nobody has ever sung the Kings Aria from Don Carlos so moving as he! ( you can see him do it on You tube) He has been the most sinister Mefisto ( Faust) ever. His Godunov is wonderfull and frightening. What a voice! It is very good that these CD's exist to keep it alive!
Gerard Kind Amsterdam
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Arsov on November 4, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I really do like EMI's "The Very Best" series. Each volume concentrates on certain great singer and presents (on two very well filled CDs) the best of his/her recordings from EMI's vast vaults. So is the case with Boris Christoff who recorded almost exclusively for the company from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. Most of the selections here are stereo, but even the mono ones use the latest remasters and sound really fine. And what a voice, what an artist shines from these recordings!

To lay my cards on the table first, I should admit that I am an incorrigible Christoff buff. This means that for me this is by far the greatest voice and operatic artist (as opposed to mere singer). There are very, very few exceptions when I prefer other renditions to those of Boris, and these are always concerned with a most unusual repertoire for him: Wotan's Farewell (Thomas Stewart) or Schubert's songs (Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau), to name but two examples. But even in these isolated cases I wouldn't want to be without Boris' impressive live recordings (he never made any commercial ones) of these pieces.

Many have tried to describe in words Boris' voice. The unique, dark and menacing timbre, the baritonal agility, the ringing high notes, the perfect diction, the frightening intensity of his vocal acting: all this defies description. The beautiful thing is that you can experience it first hand through this wonderful selection.

One of the most remarkable things about Boris was his equal success on the opera stage and on the concert one as a lieder singer. This is something rare among great singers.
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