As a child, Fyodor Chaliapin could not even imagine that he would someday become a great singer. His father, Ivan Yakovlevich, persistently convinced his son that the best way to earn his living was not to sing songs, but to get a job as a janitor.
Parents baptized their son Fyodor the very next day after birth. The child was so frail that his mother and father feared his imminent death.
As a child, Fedya sang in the church of the city of Kazan, where he was hired by a familiar choir director. When the boy was presented with the first fee (one and a half rubles), he was very surprised to learn that you can also get money for singing!
At the age of fifteen, young Fedya Chaliapin tried to enter the choir of the Kazan Theater. But, the audition did not pass. Instead, they took some tall, thin guy. Years later, Fyodor Ivanovich told the writer Maxim Gorky about his failure. He laughed, and remembered that it was he who was Chaliapin's competitor. True, the future writer did not last long in the theater, he was expelled from the choir, since he did not know how to sing at all.
Once Fyodor Ivanovich hired a cabman in Moscow. In the conversation, the man asked what Chaliapin was doing.
- Yes, I sing.
- And I sing when I'm bored. What is your job?
Chaliapin was an avid weapons collector. The walls of his house were decorated with guns, pistols, sabers. After the revolution, the collection was confiscated, but soon, at the direction of the Cheka, it was returned.
It was the passion for weapons that helped Chaliapin defend himself from the robber. One night, a criminal climbed into Chaliapin's dacha in Sochi. The artist drew his revolver and killed him with a shot in the heart. The attacker was a local beggar. In his hands was a stick, but Chaliapin insisted that in the dark he took it for a gun.
In 1922, Chaliapin decided to leave Soviet Russia. But, the title of People's Artist for him remained for another 5 years. Only in 1927 did the USSR government deprive him of the opportunity to return to the country. The thing is that the singer gave his fee for one of the concerts to the children of Russian emigrants. Chaliapin was accused of supporting the enemies of the Soviet Union.
While touring the United States, Chaliapin underwent inspection at the New York customs. One of the fans, standing in line, shouted loudly: “This is Chaliapin! He has a golden throat! " Customs officials interpreted this "compliment" in their own way: they forced the singer to take an X-ray of his throat.
They say that it is largely thanks to Chaliapin that caviar has become popular in Europe. He liked to drink a shot of vodka and eat it with a caviar sandwich. Many admirers of Chaliapin's talent began to do the same.
Chaliapin was not only a great singer, but also a talented painter and sculptor. Many of his paintings and several sculptures have survived.
On April 12, 1938 Fyodor Ivanovich Chaliapin died in Paris and was buried at the local Batignolles cemetery. Only in 1984, the singer's reburial ceremony took place at the Moscow Novodevichy cemetery.