Cher Public

Glücklich zu sehen, je suis enchanté!

Tenor Nikolai Schukoff (recently Parsifal in the Lyon production) displays so much furry semi-nudity on his web site that the page should be called “Otter Space.”

  • ianw2

    The private photo album was sadly not what I had expected.

    • bluecabochon


      The lederhosen picture is truly adorable.

  • Clita del Toro

    Anyway, he is totally yummy!

    • And he can sing, too!

      • ianw2

        He also seems to look quite decent in a pair of fitted boxers (just the thing to perk up The Merry Widow). Or he has friends in Wardrobe.

      • Regina delle fate

        How anyone can prefer Klaus Florian Vogt to this in the more lyrical Wagner absolutely beats me. Vogt’s reviews in the new Berlin Lohengrin consistently refer to the “weltbester Lohengrin” and even “weltbester Heldentenor” which is stretching the meaning of Heldentenor somewhat. Why don’t we hear more of Mr Schukoff? He’s a better actor than KFV too.

      • papopera

        Wow, he would make an ideal Siegfried.

  • Krunoslav

    He is well deployed as Steva in a recent DVD of JENUFA from Madrid with (sorry, Nerva) the very creditable Amanda Roocroft and an outstanding Deborah Polaski.

  • Talk of the Town

    “I like hairy men.”

    --Bette Davis (possibly apocryphal)
    --Talk of the Town (confirmed)

  • baumgaje

    He looks and sounds pretty delicious.

    • Clita del Toro


  • armerjacquino

    Everyone is being very restrained about his surname. I’m not going to be the first one to make the obvious childish pun.

    • Krunoslav

      That would be “SHOO -- kuhff”, actually…

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Joyce in his skivies:

  • oedipe

    He will be Don José in next season’s new production of Carmen at the Paris Opera, alongside Antonacci. Hmm…we shall see…

  • mercadante

    That Parsifal seems an intetesting, well sung interpretation and production from whst little I can see/ hear. Would be nice if tne whole thing was available.

  • Will

    I Googled Mr. Schukoff and found several articles and some bio material but no date of birth anywhere; does anyone know how old he might be?

    His full middle and lower voice is explained by his starting his studies as a baritone. At one point in his career he was awarded the Lilli Lehmann medal. He aso appears in some pictures with a red AIDS ribbon on his shirt.

    This is a cutting from one of his interviews:

    He has some beautiful words for Maria Callas: “she is absolutely unique and sublime! Her secret wasn’t her timbre. Many sopranos have tried to copy this diva with catastrophic results! Her secret was the discipline she had to say and express everything”.

    His plans for the future are: Next to Munich, Jenufa in Madrid, Pollione in Norma at the opera in Paris, Mahagonny in Toulouse, the prince in Rusalka in Göteborg, etc.

    Nikolai wanted to end this friendly interview with an advice to all young singers that are débuting: “DO NOT SING IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SAY! When you have plenty of emotions you want to express, you will find the possibility to express these!”

    • armerjacquino

      Debut 1996- so, at a guess, fortyish?

      • Regina delle fate

        He was supposed to have sung Parsifal in next year’s Salzburg Easter Festival production when Rattle was conducting it, but he seems to have been bumped out by Thielemann who apparently prefers Johan Botha for this role. Weird, if you ask me.

        • MontyNostry

          Well, at least no-one will be able to accuse Thielemann of making his judgements on the basis of looks. Though Botha probably conforms more closely to a Northern European thoroughbred than Mr Schukoff does — which might suit the maestro’s ideology, from what I’ve heard about him.

          • Clita del Toro

            Botha as Parsifal--OY! he can’t act or move well on the stage and he’s BIG. His singing is good--saw his Lohengrin at LOC—but not that fabulous.

            Maybe Thielemann is into bears?

          • Regina delle fate

            Well Mrs Botha certainly is, and she rarely lets Johan out of her sight. I’m glad to hear your views of JB’s voice, Clita. When he sang Tannhäuser in London last season, most people seemed to think the title-role could not be better sung, which compensated for him having to spend most of the opera sitting down on strategically placed chairs. A very distinguished German opera director turned this production down knowing that Botha was already contracted. I just can’t imagine how you begin to stage Act II of Parsifal with a singer of JB’s dimensions. Apologies if this seems fattist -- but there are big singers who can move and act: Latonia Moore looked majestic in Aida.

          • Clita del Toro

            Well Monty, Schukoff looks more Spanish than Botha--Parsifal takes place in Spain. Or if you want a Christ-like image, Schukoff is closer to that as well. Jesus was not a fat, blonde, northern european type?? lol

          • Regina delle fate

            Monty -- Mr Schukoff is Austrian, although presumably with some kind of Balkan ancestry. He has only sung in concert in London so far, I think. I’d rather have him as Parsifal than Simon O’Neill (in the new 13/14 RO production). I actually think they are sort of casting by looks because Thielemann and co seem to think these hefty guys MUST have heroic Wagnerian voices because they have a vaguely Melchior-like physique. But Schukoff’s voice sounds darker and more baritonal, than either O’Neill’s or Botha’s.

    • 43, according to this interview ( Also says his ancestry is ‘Russian, Czech and Transylvanian, or as he puts it, a true k. und k. mixture’.

      I’ve seen him a few times in Vienna and always been impressed. As far as I know he hadn’t sung Quint before, but he sounded fairly seasoned in the role at the Theater an der Wien last September. All the dark, enigmatic qualities down and excellent English too. And yes, he bared the fur. Carsen also threw in a steamy video that left very little of the hirsute treasure trail to the imagination.

  • MontyNostry

    I’ve only heard Botha live once -- as Calaf. His voice is too soft-grained for the role, but he did sing quite beautifully.

    • Regina delle fate

      Yes -- no-one disputes he is a very good singer. But the voice has insufficient squillo for Calaf, Radames and Otello -- to me he always sounds like a German tenor in Italian opera. His best role is the Kaiser -- a character so wooden -- “Er ist ein Jäger und ein Verliebter -- sonst ist er nichts!” as the Nurse says -- it hardly matters whether he can act or not.

      • MontyNostry

        But how can anyone tell when he wirds zu Stein?

        • Camille

          “Wehe, mein Mann!”!!!!!!!!!!

    • Camille

      Consider yourself lucky not to have heard his phlegmatic Canio or totally inert Otello, as have I. He is the kind, like, e.g., Leo Slezak before him, that can get away with these roles sung auf Deutsch for the German Publikum, but in italiano before international audiences, it just doesn’t add up. The Florestan I heard over radio from Met sounded excellent. Too bad I didn’t get a chance to see it The Otello I saw in San Francisco was ludicrous. I’m sorry I saw that.

      • SF Guy


        I don’t remember Schukoff doing Otello here, and I can’t find any mention of him in the Performance Archive doing that or anything else at SFO. Another town, perhaps?

        • CruzSF

          I think Camille is complaining about Botha’s Otello at SFO.

        • Camille

          Oh dear, you see this message was in response to Monty Nostry’s comment about BOTHA. His Otello was in the Autumn 2009 Period. I’m afraid I found Botha very inappropriate in the role of Otello. As he will sing it for the Met in their Hd series thIs season, you be the judge.

          • MontyNostry

            Aha, dear Camille, unlike Ariadne you are not good with the thread …

          • Camille

            Indeed, my dear sir, I am not a good woman as I never learned to handle a needle and the only threads I can follow are here on parterre box.

  • operaassport

    Wasn’t he one of Eschenbach’s “bonking” discoveries? Like Lang Lang or Tzimon Barto? Or am I thinking of someone else?

    Nice voice but I can’t imagine anyone preferring his voice to that of Klaus Florian Vogt.

  • Buster

    Dagmar Schellenberger and Schukoff:

    • Camille

      If Dagmar doesn’t “Sag JA!”, well then, I shall be happy to say JA!
      I want more!

      Thanks for posting, as I love this duet.

  • Buster

    The dancing duet is fun too, Camille. Love Schellenberger!

  • On Superconductor, a review of the 1992 Berlin performance of ‘Parsifal’ with a cast of young hopefuls: Waltraud Meier, Poul Elming, John Tomlinson and on the podium, Daniel Barenboim.