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Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin (Russian: Фёдор Ива́нович Шаля́пин, tr. Fyodor Ivanovich Shalyapin, IPA: ; February 13 1873 – April 12, 1938) was a Russian opera singer. Possessing a deep and expressive bass voice, he enjoyed an important international career at major opera houses and is often credited with establishing the tradition of naturalistic acting in his chosen art form.
During the first phase of his career, Chaliapin endured direct competition from three other great basses: the powerful Lev Sibiriakov (1869–1942), the more lyrical Vladimir Kastorsky (1871–1948), and Dmitri Buchtoyarov (1866–1918), whose voice was intermediate between those of Sibiriakov and Kastorsky. The fact that Chaliapin is far and away the best remembered of this magnificent quartet of rival basses is a testament to the power of his personality, the acuteness of his musical interpretations, and the vividness of his performances.
He himself spelled his surname, French-style, Chaliapine in the West, and his name even appeared on early HMV 78s as Theodore Chaliapine. In English texts, his given name is most usually rendered as Feodor or Fyodor, and his surname is most usually seen as Chaliapin. However, in the Russian pronunciation the initial consonant Ш is pronounced like sh in shop, not as ch in chop, and in reference books the surname is sometimes given a strict romanization as Shalyapin.This spelling also better reflects the fact that the name is pronounced with three syllables (Shal-YA-pin), not four.