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a family of Soviet singers.
Aleksandr Stepanovich Pirogov. Born June 22 (July 4), 1899, in Riazan’; died June 26, 1964, on the island of Medvezh’ia Golova (the Oka River). Buried in Moscow. Soviet singer (bass). People’s Artist of the USSR (1937).
From 1917 to 1918, Pirogov studied in the history and philology department at Moscow University. At the same time, he took V. S. Tiutiunnik’s voice course at the School of Musical Drama of the Moscow Philharmonic Society. From 1919 to 1922 he was an artist in the choir of the Traveling Theater of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic. He was a soloist at the Free Opera (formerly Zimin’s Opera) in Moscow from 1922 to 1924 and a soloist with the Bolshoi Theater from 1924 to 1954.
An outstanding singer and a very talented actor, Pirogov had a beautiful, expressive, and exceptionally powerful voice and a lively, spirited temperament. He created a gallery of vocal dramatic roles that became part of the history of Soviet operatic theater. Among his most famous roles were Susanin in Ivan Susanin and Ruslan in Ruslan and Liudmila (both by Glinka), Dositheus in Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina, and Mephistopheles in Gounod’s Faust. His skill as an actor and as a singer reached its peak in his performance in the title role in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, for which he was awarded the State Prize of the USSR in 1949. He was the first to perform a number of roles at the Bolshoi Theater: the magician in Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, Vakulenchuk in Chishko’s The Battleship “Potemkin,” and Pestel’ in Shaporin’s The Decembrists. Pirogov also performed as a concert singer and went on tour.
In 1943, Pirogov was awarded the State Prize of the USSR. A deputy to the fourth convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR, he was awarded two Orders of Lenin and various medals.
Grigorii Stepanovich Pirogov. Born Jan. 12 (24), 1885, in the village of Novoselki, present-day Riazan’ Oblast; died Feb. 20, 1931, in Leningrad. Soviet singer (bass). Brother of Aleksandr Stepanovich Pirogov.
Grigorii Stepanovich Pirogov graduated in 1908 from the School of Musical Drama of the Moscow Philharmonic Society, where he studied with M. E. Medvedev and L. D. Donskoi. In the same year he sang in a private theater in Rostov-on-Don. In 1909 he appeared at the Mariinskii Theater in St. Petersburg, and from 1910 to 1920 he was a soloist with the Bolshoi Theater. Subsequently, he performed in many cities in the USSR, as well as abroad. He was one of the most popular Russian concert singers. Endowed with a powerful voice of great range and extraordinarily beautiful timbre, he performed diverse parts, ranging from low bass to baritone. His singing was distinguished by a rare flexibility and range of cantilena, boldly expressive articulation, and subtle dynamic nuances. A brilliant actor endowed with a lively temperament, he imparted great vitality to his roles, which included Ruslan in Glinka’s Ruslan and Liudmila, the title role in Boris Godunov and Dositheus in Khovanshchina (both by Mussorgsky), the miller in Dargomyzhskii’s The Mermaid, Mephistopheles in Gounod’s Faust, and Wotan in Wagner’s Die Walküre. A school in Riazan’ is named after Grigorii Stepanovich Pirogov and his brother Aleksandr.
Aleksei Stepanovich Pirogov (stage name, Aleksei Pirogov-Okskii). Born Feb. 9 (21), 1895. Singer. Brother of Aleksandr Stepanovich Pirogov and Grigorii Stepanovich Pirogov.
Mikhail Stepanovich Pirogov. Born Dec. 17 (29), 1887; died 1933. Singer. Brother of Aleksandr, Grigorii, and Aleksei Pirogov.
REFERENCESRemezov, I. G. S. Pirogov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951.
A. S. Pirogov. Moscow, 1953.
Katul’skaia, E. “O druge i soratnike.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1964, no. 10.
L’vov, M. Russkie pevtsy. Moscow, 1965. Pages 196–203.