A series of seven celebrity recitals at London's Barbican Hall gets under way this week with one of the most sought-after singers of today stepping onto the platform, in the shape of the young Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky (left). Since winning the 1989 Cardiff Voice of the World Competition, Hvorostovsky's career has soared, and he is now regarded as one of the pre-eminent voices of his generation. Born in the central Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, the dynamic Hvorostovsky is equally at home in both the opera house and the concert hall. Aside from his richly resonant and ringing tone, what he brings to his singing is always an acute sense of interpretation, in which the shortest phrases can be instilled with a wealth of emotional meaning. Versatility is another of his great strengths, as his recital programme demonstrates. He sings five songs each by compatriots Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, which he should certainly endow with his innate lyrical gifts. But he also includes settings by Caldara and Carissimi, as well as blockbuster arias from Handel's Serse and Gluck's Orfeo. Yet whether he is vocally translating the glories of the Baroque or the most heartfelt of Russian folksongs, Hvorostovsky's full-bodied engagement with the music is always paramount; and it gives him the charisma to elevate his powerful and glorious baritone among the elite.
Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings at the Barbican Hall, London EC2 (0171-638 8891) 23 Jan at 7.30pm