Today marks the second anniversary of The O Word.

As I sat at school today, marking students’ assignments I began to consider what amazing things I could talk about in relation to the last two years of blogs; the people we’ve spoken to, our own experiences, the reviews of shows, and the composers we’ve paid homage to. As I arrived home, excited to write a celebratory blog, I opened Facebook only to find out that the famous baritone, Dmitri Hvorostovsky had passed away after a two and a half year battle with cancer.

So this blog takes on a different type of celebration. I would like to take this as an opportunity to marvel in the beauty and warmth of Hvorostovsky’s voice and celebrate a great voice that has touched so many hearts in the operatic world.

For who could look past his Eugene Onegin?

Or surpass his Largo al Factotum?

What singing enchants more than his Don Giovanni?

And who can entice opera audiences better than tenor Jonas Kaufmann and Hvorostovsky singing the Pearl Fishers duet?

Listening to Hvorostovsky is a rite of passage for many young singers. His charisma and charm make him mesmerising to watch on the stage and an integral part of an opera education for any young performer, as well as any listener. If you are a young performer who has not listened to Hvorostovsky, you have missed out on some of the finest singing you can hear. His performances are magical, enticing you with every note and intriguing you with the slightest movement on stage. Hvorostovsky brings opera into the 21st Century by connecting to his fans on Facebook and YouTube, participating in worldwide trends such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and answering questions. Not only do fans get the opportunity to watch this man with incredible craft and ability, but we were also given an opportunity to see the person he is behind the stage.

It is devastating news to find out that this operatic great has died so young at age 55. We offer our greatest condolences to Hvorostovsky’s family and friends and listen to the singing of a man who will be remembered as one of opera’s great performers. May he continue to warm our hearts and inspire young people all over the world to strive towards this beautiful music and The O Word take an opportunity today to celebrate the wonderful impact that he had, and will continue to have, on young performers everywhere.

RIP Dmitri Hvorostovsky (1962 – 2017)