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Russian bass VLADIMIR OGNOVENKO made his U.S. opera debut in San Francisco Opera's production of War and Peace, and has subsequently appeared there as Varlaam in Boris Godunov and as Ruslan and Farlaf in Ruslan and Ludmila.

Other important U.S. debuts followed quickly, such as at the Metropolitan Opera as the Police Chief in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, at the Chicago Lyric Opera as Varlaam, and at the Houston Grand Opera as Prince Galitsky in Prince Igor. Ognovenko has since returned to the Met as Dikoy in Katya Kabanova, the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo, Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Varlaam in Boris Godunov, Ivan Khovansky in Khovanshchina, Boris in Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk, and Old Prince Bolkonski and Matveev in War and Peace. He also participated in the Kirov Opera Festival at the Met, singing in productions of Prince Igor, Ruslan and Ludmila, and Betrothal in a Monastery.

Recent U.S. engagements for the bass have included a return to the Houston Opera for Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, as well as Prokofiev's Ivan the Terrible with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

This season Ognovenko makes his debut at La Scala for Cherevichki, followed by Dikoj in Katya Kabanova, returns to the Théâtre du Châtelet for Varlaam, and sings Shostakovich's Thirteenth Symphony ("Babi Yar") with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of James Conlon. Future engagements include Prince Khovansky in Khovanshchina at La Scala and at the Liceu in Barcelona, as well as the role of the Commendatore in Don Giovanni at Seattle Opera.

In Europe, he made his debut at the Paris Opera as Khovansky in Khovanshchina, and has since been a regular guest in roles including Varlaam and most recently Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Kutuzov in War and Peace, and Rangoni in Boris Godunov. Other Parisian appearances have included Iolanta at the Théâtre du Châtelet, and as bass soloist in Shostakovich's Symphony No. 14 with Maestro James Conlon.

At the Vienna Staatsoper, he made his debut as the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo, and at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari as Prince Vyazemsky in Oprichnick. Additional European engagements have taken him to the Teatro Comunale di Bologna and the Maggio Musicale di Firenze for Prince Khovansky in Khovanshchina.

A graduate of the Ural Conservatory, Ognovenko joined Maly Theatre of Saint Petersburg in 1984, and in 1989 became a principal bass with the Mariinsky Theatre (the Kirov Opera). In 1996 the bass portrayed Prince Ivan Khovansky in a new staging of Khovanshchina under the baton of Mstislav Rostropovich at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre and subsequently became the leading bass of the Bolshoi Theatre. He has also performed in Argentina, Chile, Italy, Finland, Scotland (Edinburgh Festival), Germany, Israel (Jerusalem Festival), France, Greece, Holland, and Japan.

The bass' recordings include Varlaam in Boris Godunov, Ivan the Terrible in The Maiden of Pskov, Ruslan in Ruslan and Ludmila, Galitsky in Prince Igor, and the Inquisitor in The Fiery Angel. He has two Grammys for the recordings of Prince Igor and Ruslan and Ludmila.

Ognovenko was awarded the title of "Artist of Merit of the Russian Federation" and the highest mark of achievement, the title of "People's Artist of Russia."