Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings on with his arm in a sling

Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings on with his arm in a sling


norman lebrecht

June 18, 2017

News clips from a concert in Krasnoyarsk show the great baritone singing through injury.

The video was posted on June 3.

The following day, he was interviewed on Russia 24 television.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky is undergoing treatment for brain cancer.


  • V.Lind says:

    Well, he looks good, which must augur well after all he has been through. All the best to him.

    • Ungeheuer says:

      You are in denial. No, he doesn’t look good. Or rather, well. I am sorry to say and I say it with a heavy heart. I sincerely wish DH all the very best but I sense what is coming. I have been utterly heartbroken and shattered since seeing these videos yesterday. My heart goes out to him and his loved ones.

      • V.Lind says:

        I know the odds are hugely against him, and every time I see his name on a SD post I have a frisson till I read all of it. But I thought the interview was conducted with energy and verve (I don’t speak Russian so am not clear as to the content, though some of it was guessable). I thought the performance was also energetic. Yes, he looks drawn, and much older than when I first met him over 20 years ago (and often since). But he has obviously had an accident, and Krasnoyarsk is a long way to travel, even if it is home.

        You can’t tell much form video clips, but I saw them differently — perhaps too optimistically, but I saw someone cheerful and still vivacious on stage. I prefer to hope for the best/

        • Petros Linardos says:

          Hvorostovsky made a surprise appearance at a MET Opera House gala last month. There is a moving report and clip in the NYT:

          I was surprised it was not reported on Slipped Disc.

          • Zelda Macnamara says:

            I too was shocked by the videos of the Krasnoyarsk concert, and the interview. He had been looking fairly well in his recent concerts but in these videos he looks as if he has really taken a battering – which he has, given that the pneumonia over Christmas and New Year apparently nearly killed him and must have damaged his lungs; and a dislocated shoulder is very painful. I am hoping that his drawn and tired look here is a response to pain and discomfort, rather than anything more significant about his brain tumour. But I too have a heavy heart especially when I contrast these videos with the strong and powerful performer I was fortunate to see live in Barcelona in November last year. And it is especially heart-breaking to see it all so publicly, for such a proud and private man.

    • Kristina Pax says:

      This is a belated comment on V. LIND opinion. Which by the way is so uplifting, because it speaks of an intelligent mind’s thoughts. Also, a truly intelligent mind molds the writing hand. As it is always mindful of projecting decency to others in its message. After all we live on the planet where peaceful coexistence has roots in a common decency. Going back to the topic, I totally agree with you, that considering the fact of a unimaginable brutality inflicted on Mr. Hvorostovsky’s body and mind by the necessary medical treatments, he indeed looks well. Furthermore, the geography, the time zone, the travel, the birth place associated emotions, the climate. All this adds on to an already stressed out, individualistic reactions of a human body, ravaged by the illness to the limits of its endurance.

  • Alexander says:

    Pace mio Dio …..

  • Furzwängler says:

    I agree with Ungeheuer. He doesn’t look well at all. One can only hope and pray for the best. Very sad, such a wonderful artist.

  • Joe Giovanni says:

    Did they explain in the video why his arm was in a sling? I hope the cancer has non spread to his bones.

    • Jessie Compton says:

      He fell and dislocated his shoulder. The brain tumour is causing balance problems, which is why he is not performing in staged operas. He looks ok singing when he stands still, but if you watch video of him walking on and off stage he is unsteady and dragging his right leg. I would like to hope for the best, but he seems to look much worse recently.

      • Sue says:

        Oh, this is just dreadful. The poor man; I’m sure our thoughts are all with him at this time. Brain cancer is a most terrifying disease and it is far more prevalent that we would think.
        Dmitri, we all love you and want you well. Beautiful man.

  • It's That Steve Again (ITSA) says:

    Hi folks,

    Well I hope someone who speaks Russian can translate for us. I agree that Dmitri doesn’t look well. My assumption, from watching him in previous videos, including the Met surprise, was that his balance issues had resulted in a fall, and a broken arm or dislocated shoulder: that sort of thing.

    He does look drawn, but unbroken in spirit.
    P.s., I worked with a Sue once, and her style was not dissimilar to that which I read above . She was very bright, hardworking, and had an incredibly good sense of humour: one of the best I’ve seen. I wrote her a reference for an overseas job, and she not only got the job, but told me that the glowing reference was commented on. But it was all true; she was one of the best.


    • Sue says:

      I am a retired high-school teacher from Australia.

      • ITSA (It's That Steve Again) says:

        Hi Sue,
        Thanks for replying. I didn’t think you were the same Sue (there’s enough clues in my comment to cue her in), but I’d have been remiss not to check.

        The translation re Dmitri’s comments gives some hope, although the odds are against him. I gather that one of my favourite science writers, the late Stephen Jay Gould, succumbed in the end to a brain tumour. Like Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Gould doggedly pursued his goals, including lecturing, and writing. Like Dmitri, those who came to know of Gould and his works came to admire him greatly.

        E.g. Oliver Sacks, the famous neurologist.

        • Kristina Pax says:

          It is so distasteful to find the comparison of Steve here to another person who supposedly succumbed to his illness. How, on earth can a thinking person (Steve) appoint himself God and speculate in such a cruel manner?
          Half of the world is fervently praying to our Almighty God for our beloved Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s recovery from this illness. And in comes Steve, sits in a high chair reserved only for God, unloads himself by passing a judgment, mandatory for God only. One thing that makes adult an adult is a filter between human brain and writing hand and or mouth. Decency to other humans is a learned phenomenon, Steve. Why not putting your best energy in learning this?

    • Zelda Macnamara says:

      This is not my translation, but is taken from another website. My Russian is nowhere near good enough (yet!). He talks about having to come back to perform in Krasnoyarsk as it is his home town. “And I was able to meet my fellow countrymen, whose love for me is incredible and very dear to my heart. Such a shock, such huge feelings, on the verge of human capabilities, I have not experienced for a long time.” He then says that the concert in St Petersburg went well, but then he fell and hurt his shoulder – but says that “all bad things” happen to him in St Petersburg including his hospitalisation there in December and January with very serious pneumonia, he didn’t even let his parents visit him as he didn’t want them to see him like that, and he had to use a wheelchair. He says that he is still not fully recovered. He has spent a lot of time at home in London sitting in the garden drinking tea. He practises and works out and does yoga. His lungs were seriously damaged by the pneumonia. “But recovery depends primarily on a positive attitude and on the readiness to fight every day through pain, laziness and anything else! If you do not force yourself, the disease will win over you. I must daily, hourly pull myself out in all possible ways: exercises, children, smiles, love … And grumbling a little bit is also not forbidden … I have, of course, become a little used to the domestic way of life. But it’s better not to get used to it.”
      He speaks about how happy his children make him and that he has plans for a private concert in London, then Grafenegg, then Sochi. ” I am preparing and very much looking forward to these performances. Now, after every concert that I give in my condition, I’m really happy. The human voice works wonders with us, our souls. When you sing beautifully, in your heart you float above reality.”
      He had signed up for a lot of operas but is now only going to sing concerts including in Moscow and at the Carnegie Hall in the winter.
      “I had an amazing career. I continue it. My voice is part of me, part of the work that I serve. A huge business that saves me today, without which I cannot live. But in any case, I understand that the best is over: youth, the best voice … What can you do? But I continue to fight with illness and to hope. “Hope” for me now is the most vital word!/…..Now I live not in the past and not in the future, as I have always been accustomed to. I’m focused on today’s day, tomorrow’s day, so as not to deceive either myself or others. To enjoy life every day and hour, and, like a rainbow, to be ready for everything.”

  • Nick says:

    Please let us not speculate. Best just to send our fondest love and all our best wishes for a full recovery to one of the finest artists we will ever have the pleasure to see and hear.

    • Kristina Pax says:

      + (plus) 1 for your comment Nick. More good, sensible, beautifully balanced individuals like you Nick, on this earth and life would be so much easier, better for others to live.

  • Terrie Tackett says:

    I was deeply shaken, shocked, and heartbroken to see this brilliant man looking so poorly. Especially in the short time since last seen at the Met Gala. My thoughts go out to him….

  • ITSA (It's That Steve Again) says:

    Here is Dmitri, still recovering re the arm, but singing with Aida Garifullina. He is clearly enjoying himself, and has some fun at the end.

    As for Aida Garifullina, I find her one of the most captivating contemporary performers. Just captivating….

  • maria luisa jimenez salvatierra says:

    Deseo lo mejor para este adorable hombre, tus fans siempre te amaremos y estaremos contigo en todos los momentos de tu vida .

  • Donna Huxford says:

    My heart breaks for this outstanding artiste, whose courage and determination are powerful examples of his strength.

  • Wilma Reicher says:

    Dear Dmitri,

    I know you since 2013 (TV Moscow), I saw you three times live (2x Graz Musik Verein) and last Traviata at Vienna. My Family and I are following every step via Internet.
    We admire you for your strength and power even in heavy times. Grafenegg etc.
    were grate places of your voice and strength!
    Kisses and Kind regards from me and my family

  • Elizabeth tsuneko kumagai mooney says:

    Dmitri, you are exceptional human being, so wonderful to see you, hear you with my heart. I have been invalid but I am a survivor like you, I enjoy hearing your singing which keeps me going, Stay strong as you have been, sing for us all, we love you so much. You are the greatest. much love, Elizabeth

  • Elizabeth T.K.Mooney says:

    my greatest admired friend, You are sensational, you are the one & only person with such forward attitude with wonderful smile, you live, you success & you’ll surprise everyone. What a joy that’ll be, you made so many of us happy enjoying your formidable singing. I listen to you every night, oh, how I enjoy your singing, Stay well through my prayer, enjoy life. much love from Elizabeth.T.K.M.

  • Kristina Pax says:

    You have been Dmitri-THE MAGNIFICENT to me, throughout all these years of your stage performances. Somehow, as I pray daily, asking THE ALMIGHTY for your strength, for your endurance, there is this feeling of calm and peace that surrounds your celestial self. This tells me that you are going to win this “war”. You will overcome the worst and you will be well again. I draw positive circles for you daily, or do positive affirmations, so to help with your daily tasks in regaining strength. I know that this helps from afar. All the love and the warmth and positive energy is being send your way, daily.Your loving “family” world-wide is rooting for you.

  • John M. says:

    When OONY was doing Favorita maybe 15 years ago maybe more; I was entering the theater it had started to snow I held the door for the person behind me and it was the Siberian Lion , involuntarily I said in a whisper ;oh my , my favorite singer in the whole world … minutes later we ended up in the same packed elevator and he nodded politely across the car ; btw, this was the final rehearsal … Honestly as soon as he started singing the bar of the rehearsal went off the charts and it was very very exciting. I have seen him many times at his entrance as Prince Yeletsky on his Met debut for a split second I thought I saw fear maybe even terror but not the fear as most experience fear, but as an artist who knows what it takes and then he delivered G-do gift …What an artist and wonderful man, he once said ,” I am the complete package but one has to live with this package … ” … humor, honesty,artistry, nobility, generosity ; he continues to deliver …

    • john morariu says:

      G-d’s Gift ,, irritating type_o

    • Nona says:

      I love his interview I don’t know Russian but you can imagine the conversation about. Also the ones with inglish translation show a person very honest and humble how can’t we not love him? Rest In Peace beautiful soul we will never forget you and always in our heart.

  • J.T. Lillian Nissen says:

    Having read all the previous posts I cannot say that I know Dmitri Hvorostovsky, but I have followed his career a little, and have delighted in his joi de vivre displayed in his performances. His soul seems to shine through every song.
    Then, I read of his health struggles and I found myself crying and praying for him. Having been handicapped by a heart condition and a lung condition, plus a neurological condition I find myself unable to sing as I once did, and unable to walk unaided. So when I watch Dmitri struggle through his adversities, it gives me hope and courage to press on and not give up.
    I will believe that God is gracious and merciful, and that He will touch Dmitri
    and give him the perfect health He purchased for all of us.
    With respect,. J.T. Lillian Nissen

  • Kristina Pax says:

    Again and again sending warmest thoughts to Dmitri Alexandrovich Hvorostovsky and his entire family. All admirers of Dmitri Alexandrovich around globe have only one wish and that is to see him fully recovered from trials and tribulations of his ordeal.Our energy sent each and every day, our warmest thoughts are wrapping his noble being in a protective blanket. As an artist and a noble human being you have, Dmitri Alexandrovich, stamped each and every one of us, your fans, with your one and only magic. Please stay strong and tall we are rooting for you. You are in our prayers every single day.

  • Mielet says:

    Cher Dimitri❤️je me réjouis tous les jours de pouvoir vous écoutervotre timbre de voix cette incroyable douceur et en même temps cette force qui vous habite❤️je vous souhaite un bon rétablissement ! Revenez à Paris! Merci pour le bonheur que vous nous procurez à chaque momenttrès musicalement à vous JB et angelica mielet

  • Kristina Pax says:

    Just discovered on YouTube a phenomenal documentary. A tribute to our greatest baritone, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, celebrating his 55th birthday. It is compiled by a well known Russian artist Vitaly Tishtenko. It is called “A Love Story”. It runs for 12 minutes and it is a gem. The video is full of pictures, never seen before. Including the very recent, family picture. If anyone needs a text translated, please let me know. I shall do it with pleasure.

  • Luu Burgess says:

    this was lovely…thank you. remain bereft. where are the twins?

  • nat says:

    I just found he is not here anymore. Started to research and found this interview. He looks shockingly bad :'( and his speech and voice is so far from normal. Poor Dmitry. This videos made me cry. I am native Russian speaker and this is so sad and heartbreaking to hear and see his last interviews. :'( :'(

  • monika babienco says: