Pirogov Alexander

The artist does not dare to rely only on his own talent. Without daily hard work, there is no talent and there can never be. A talent is like a knife: as long as it is sharp, everything can be cut with it. However, if you stop sharpening, grinding, cleaning it, it will become dull, tarnished, rusty, and then it is worthless.

Alexander Pirogov


Alexander Pirogov came from the famous dynasty of long line Russian basses. The youngest of the Pirogovs - Alexander Stepanovich - became the most famous singer in the family, nicknamed the Bell for the strength of his voice.

Although his singing talent had in store for him an excellent career, at the behest of his parents, the Alexander got classical humanitarian education. The Moscow University Faculty of History and Philology was chosen and the boy entered the university in 1917. Hence in parallel, he studied at the music school of the Moscow Philharmonic Society, under the tutelage of Vasily Tyutyunnik. His working career as an opera singer began in 1919. During the Civil War, the singer performed at the Theater of the Revolutionary Military Council, in peacetime he changed over to the Theatre of Free Opera, where he sang in performances and chamber concerts until 1924.

His career was successful, it was shaping well. After a while, the singer was invited to join the Bolshoi Theatre troupe. The famous stage of the leading theater in the USSR  became permanent place of work for Pirogov for almost 30 years. He entirely mastered the operatic repertoire, where bass parts were presented. During the years of stage activity at various theaters’ stages, Alexander Stepanovich Pirogov performed more than forty opera parts. Pirogov starred in the performances of classical operas by Russian composers and foreign authors. Among his roles were - Boris Godunov, Miller (in “Rusalka” by Alexander Dargomyzhsky), Ivan the Terrible (in “The Maid of Pskov” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov), Mephistopheles, Don Basilio (in “The Barber of Seville” by Gioacchino Rossini), Nilakantha, a Brahmin priest (in “Lakme” by Léo Delibes). 

Pirogov was awarded a title of People's Artist of the USSR (1937) and was laureate of two Stalin Prizes of the first class (1943, 1949).

The role of Tsar Boris Godunov in the eponymous opera by Modest Mussorgsky is considered the top creative work of the singer. Critics and audience noted his incredibly beautiful expressive voice that was remarkable for its range, richness and unique timbre. As time passed, Pirogov became actively involved in the social and political life of the USSR. He was a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR fourth convocation. 

The singer passed in 1964. It happened in his native place - the Ryazan region. Death overtook him on Bear Mountain Island. Alexander Stepanovich is buried in Moscow at the Novodevichy cemetery.

The memory of the artist has survived to our days. The memorial plaque is mounted on the house where he lived in Bryusov Lane in Moscow. Moreover, on the island Bear's head, where his heart stopped beating, a memorial monument was erected.