An unusual interpretation of Gounod’s “Ave Maria”

We are used to listening to sopranos singing Gounod’s Ave Maria, but how about a basso version? I just came across this one sung by the legendary German basso profundo Ivan Rebroff (stage name), who was originally born in Berlin, with the name Hans Rolf Rippert.

His Biography:

    Date of birth 31.07.1931
    Study of music, Fullbright scholarship of the city of Hamburg at the State College of Music
    1st price of the German college competition 1958
    4½ octave voice
    Soloist of the Doncossack Choir – Sergej Jaroff, as well as the Black Sea- and Ural Mountains Cossack Choir
    Numerous theater engagements in Europe
    1968 breakthrough and beginning of his international career at the “Théâtre Marigny” in Paris, France, playing the part of “Tevje” in the musical “Fiddler on the roof” (1476 performances in a row)

Main roles in different productions and movies:

    “The Barber of Seville” by Gioacchino Rossini
    “Boris Godunov” by Modest Moussorgsky
    “The Gypsies’ Baron” and “Blood of Vienna” by Johann Strauß
    “The Rose Cavalier” by Richard Strauß
    “Der Bettelstudent” by Karl Millöcker

Permanent presence as star guest in most famous radio and TV-shows

    Presenter and host of his own TV-shows
    1985 order of the Federal Republic of Germany honouring his contribution of building understanding between the peoples of the East and the West
    Freeman of the Greek Sporadian island Skopelos, his domicile
    Meanwhile 49 golden LP’s worldwide in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific islands, USA, Canada, Iceland and almost every European country
    Worldwide tours with over 200 concerts per year (for instance in Europe, Russia, South Africa, Australia, Japan, USA, Philippine Islands, New Zealand … )

Source: Here.

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5 Responses to An unusual interpretation of Gounod’s “Ave Maria”

  1. Gertrude says:

    Basso profundo I think! Do you know which Church he is singing in – looks like a Russion Orthodox from the icons. A beautiful version of a much loved hymn to Our Blessed Lady.


  2. teresa says:

    Yes, Gertrude, exactly, I think I should do some correction above, as I just found out that he, though a member of a Russian choir, was a citizen of West Germany (before 1989) and had been a citizen of BRD until his death of 2008 in Frankfurt am Main. I am not sure about the place of the performance, it can be a stage which was arranged in Russian style, because Ivan Rebroff was specialized in interpreting Russian folk’s songs.


  3. teresa says:

    Here is a video of him singing a famous Christmas song in the Cathedral of Naumburg (which is now Lutheran, but keeps its medieval Catholic interior decorations):


  4. Gertrude says:

    I have to admit to never having heard of him, but he really has an exceptional voice. Also – what a lovely Cathedral at Naumberg. I remember once hearing the first Mass of the Christmas liturgy by Pretorius in a Lutheran church in Denmark – I have never forgotten it. Those pesky Lutherans!


  5. teresa says:

    I also heard about him only recently. I like his voice very much, I think he is certainly not a singer for classic operas or songs. But his interpretation of folk’s songs is in my opinion excellent, a very good entertainment and bare of sentimentality which prevails so much in folk’s music production of today.

    The Lutherans do have certainly good church music, in German speaking countries some of their church songs have become common goods of both Catholics and Lutherans.

    The song I linked to above is one example, which is sung in the parishes here in Mass, and another one “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunde”, which is also used by Bach in his Johannes-Passion, was originally a Lutheran Hymn, the text is written by the famous Lutheran poet Paul Gerhard. But this song is used in the Good Friday Liturgy by the Peter’s Brotherhood (FSSP) during the Tridentine Rite!


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