Death of a great Gergiev tenor, aged 65

Death of a great Gergiev tenor, aged 65


norman lebrecht

March 23, 2016

We are receiving reports of the death in Yerevan, Armenia, of the tenor Gegham Grigoryan, a star of the Marinsky in the 1990s. He had been suffering from cancer.

Gegham Grigoryan, born in Yerevan, sang several Pinkertons for Abbado at La Scala in 1978 and seemed set for a shining future. But the Soviet authorities hit him with a punitive ten-year travel ban and he wound up in Lithuania. In 1989, Gergiev signed him for the Mariinsky and he soon became an international star, part of an outstanding team. He was a brilliant Lensky in Onegin and Herman in Queen of Spades.

In 2000 Gegham Grigoryan was appointed artistic director of the Yerevan Opera Theatre.

Gegham Grigoryan


  • Eddie Mars says:

    A real bedrock star of the Mariinsky in the 1990s, he excelled in big, dramatic roles. I’m glad he found a later career as an Intendant, after retiring from the stage. A fine singer and all-round artist. R.I.P.

  • Olassus says:

    Norman, I don’t think anyone sang Pinkertons for Abbado.

    • ganymede says:

      Indeed, he has never conducted Butterfly. After hearing Grigoryan in his Debut of Butterfly (not at La Scala), Abbado wanted to hire him to sing in Boris Godunov in 1979 but that never happened due to the travel ban.

  • Fernando says:

    R.I.P. Unforgettable his interpretation of Don Alvaro in Verdi’s La forza del destino and Herman in Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame.