Nikolaj Figner

Picture of Nikolaï Figner

Nikolaj Figner sings Otello: Ora e per sempre addio, in Russian
In RA format

Nikolaj Figner sings Oprichnik: Kak pered bogom i toboj
In RA format

Picture of Nikolaj Figner

Picture of Nikolaj Figner in Pique Dame
Figner in Pikovaja dama

Picture of Nikolaj Figner with Ruffo and Giraldoni
Figner with Ruffo and Giraldoni

Nikolaj Figner singsLes huguenots: Plus blanche que la blanche hermine, in Russian
In RA format

Biographical notes

Nikolaj Figner was born on February 9th, 1857 in the small town of Mamadish in the Kazan province. Nikolaj Figner studied in Kazan, and then at the Petersburg military school (1874–78). Nikolaj Figner served in the navy. During his youth, he sang in the local church choir, took part in student concerts, where he was heard by Tsar Aleksandr III. From 1879, Nikolaj Figner studied singing at the Petersburg conservatory with Prjanishnikov and Everardi.

However, Nikolaj Figner was deemed to have no voice suited to opera. Figner nonetheless believed in his own capabilities. He went to Italy, where he further studied with Lamperti and Deroxas. In 1882, Figner made his successful debut in Italy as Faust. Until 1887, he sang in Italy (Siena, Ferrara, Turin, Milan, etc). He went on tour in Spain, South America, England, and Romania.

Figner gained notoriety in Europe, singing in 38 operas. In South America, he met Medea Mei, a fine singer who became his wife.

From 1887, Nikolaj Figner triumphed in Russia, where he became the first tenor at the Mariinskij, where he made his debut as Radames. He remained at the Mariinskij until 1904. After that and until 1915, he sang in the province.

Nikolaj Figner was the creator of German in Pikovaja dama, Vodemon in Iolanta and Vladimir in Dubrovskij. The voice of the singer was very small, but well projected. His technique allowed him to sing a variety of roles from Otello and Raoul to Fra Diavolo and Lohengrin.

Figner recorded more than 40 sides (1901 to 1910). They are all very or even extremely rare.

To make ends meet in his last years, Figner gave singing lessons. He died on December 13th, 1918 in Kiev in poverty.

Picture of Nikolaj Figner as Fra Diavolo
Nikolaj Figner as Fra Diavolo

Picture of Nikolaj Figner as Roméo
Nikolaj Figner as Roméo


1. I remember an evening (Cui) 1901 1532B 22601 2. In my soul (Wrangel) 1901 1533B 22602 3. You are my morning & They loved one another (Wrangel) 1901 293x 22547 4. In the garden shadows (Balabanov) 1901 294x 22548 5. Oprichnik (Chajkovskij): I swear before God 1901 295x 22549 6. Fra Diavolo (Auber) 1901 1588B 22605 7. Pique Dame (Chajkovskij): Prosti, nebesnoe sozdanye 1901 1589B 22618 8. The fateful moment (Chajkovskij) 1901 325x 22554 9. Dubrovskij (Nápravník): O give me oblivion 1901 326x 22555 10. Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Vesti la giubba 1901 327x 22556 11. Le crucifix (Faure) with Medea Mei 1902 369x 24057 in French 12. Do not tempt me needlessly (Glinka) with M. Mei 1902 370x 24058 13. Seagull's cry (Grodskij) with M. Mei 1902 371x 24059 14. Mefistofele (Boito): Lontano with M. Mei 1902 372x 24060 15. Dubrovskij (Nápravník): Ne jamais la voir with M. Mei 1902 373x 24061 in French 16. Ich hab' im Traum geweinet (Schumann) 1902 1716B 22667 17. Les huguenots (Meyerbeer): Plus blanche 1902 444x 22594 18. La bohème (Puccini): Chi son? 1902 445x 22595 19. Otello (Verdi): Ora e per sempre 1902 447x 22597 20. Dubrovskij (Nápravník): O give me oblivion 1902 367x 22555x 21. Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Vesti la giubba 1902 260x 22556x 22. Les huguenots (Meyerbeer): Plus blanche 1902/03 1y 022000 23. North star (Glinka) 1902 6409L 3-22716 24. I love (Taskin) & Dream of love (Wrangel) 1902 6410L 3-22717 25. The birches rustle gently (Verderevskij) 1902 6411L 3-22718 26. Ich hab' im Traum geweinet (Schumann) 1907/08 6412L 3-22719 27. Today for the last time (Folk) 1907/08 6413L 3-22720 28. Oprichnik (Chajkovskij): It seems that I dream 1907/08 6421L X-2-63027 29. Si vous I'aviez compris (Denza) 1907/08 6422L 3-22704 30. Tosca (Puccini): E lucevan with orchestra 1907/08 6427L 3-22705 31. Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Vesti la giubba w. orchestra 1907/08 6428L 3-22706 32. Roméo et Juliette (Gounod): Cavatine w. orchestra 1907/08 6430L 3-22707 33. In the garden shadows (Balabanov) 25.11.09 6977r X-2-62481 34. Why? (Chajkovskij) 25.11.09 6978r 2-62482
I wish to thank Vladimir Efimenko for the pictures, biographical notes, discography and recording (Huguenots).
I would like to thank Thomas Silverbörg for the recording (Oprichnik).

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