Ivan Rebroff

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Ivan Pavlovich Rebroff
Rebroff in 2006
Rebroff in 2006
Background information
Birth nameHans-Rolf Rippert
Born(1931-07-31)31 July 1931
Berlin, Germany
Died27 February 2008(2008-02-27) (aged 76)
Frankfurt, Germany
GenresInternational music, folk music
Years active1968–2008
Ivan Rebroff performing live in 2006

Ivan Rebroff (31 July 1931 – 27 February 2008) was a German-born vocalist, allegedly of Russian ancestry,[1] who rose to prominence for his distinct and extensive vocal range of four and a half octaves, ranging from the soprano to bass registers.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Rebroff was born in Berlin as Hans-Rolf Rippert to German parents. His parents were Paul Rippert, an engineer born in 1897 in Liebenwerda, and Luise Fenske, born in Bydgoszcz (then part of Prussian Bromberg). He claimed Russian-Jewish descent, and while often disputed, this has never been totally refuted. In a 1989 interview with Izvestia, he said "according to documents I am Ivan Pavlovich Rebroff" (Russian: Иван Павлович Ребров).[3]

He studied singing at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg. Although his knowledge and pronunciation of Russian was imperfect, he became famous for singing Russian folk songs, but also performed opera, light classics and folk songs from many other countries. He was known on stage for his gusto. He performed over 6,000 concerts in his career, including a two-year seven-day-a-week stint at the French opera, singing and acting, among other greats, the role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Rebroff still performed 12 shows in 14 days when he was well into his seventies, such as on an Australian tour.

Rebroff performing in 2006

Ivan Rebroff described himself as international, the "connection between East and West". He became a citizen of Greece and lived on the Greek island of Skopelos in the Sporades. Rebroff was homosexual.[4]

As well as being a phenomenal singer, videos such as this and photos such as this suggest that he was at least a reasonable violinist and keyboardist (he is pictured playing a church organ but may have also played the piano).

He died in Frankfurt after a long illness. Four days after his death, his brother Horst Rippert, who is nine years his senior (and by his own unsubstantiated accounts shot down Antoine de Saint Exupéry during World War II), claimed part of Rebroff's vast fortune.[5]

LP Discography[edit]


  • Folk Songs from Old Russia (Volksweisen aus dem alten Russland)


  • Folk Songs from Old Russia Volume II (Volksweisen aus dem alten Russland 2)
  • Original russische Liebeslieder
  • Na Sdarowje (Ivan sings about Vodka and Wine)
  • Slawische Seele (Compilation album shared with Tatjana Ivanow & Dunja Rajter)


  • Beim Klang der Balalaika, Au son des Balalaikas (French version of Beim Klang der Balalaika)
  • Favourites from Mother Russia
  • Abendglocken (Compilation)
  • Russische Weihnacht mit Ivan Rebroff
  • Ivan Rebroff (Includes Lara's Theme and other Popular Melodies)
  • A Russian Christmas (English version of Russische Weihnacht?)
  • Un Violon sur le toit (Soundtrack of French production of Fiddler on the Roof)
  • Russische Party ("Live" album)
  • Festliche Weihnacht (with Regensburger Domspatzen - Boys' Choir)
  • A Festive Christmas (Festliche Weihnacht re-issue)


  • Somewhere My Love (English-language versions)
  • Kosaken müssen reiten (German-language versions)
  • Ivan Rebroff (Compilation?)


  • The Best of Ivan Rebroff (Compilation)
  • Ivan Rebroff Sing vir Ons (South African Album-Gold Disk Award)
  • Vir Jou Suid-Afrika (South African album)
  • Ivan Rebroff (Opera)
  • Kalinka (Soundtrack from L'Homme qui vient de la Nuit)
  • Mein Russland, Du bist schön (German-language versions)
  • Starportrait (Compilation)
  • Zwischen Donau und Don (with Dunja Rajter)


  • Erinnerungen an Russland (Russian-language versions)
  • The Best of Ivan Rebroff Volume II (Compilation)


  • Lieder der Welt (Folk songs from around the world)
  • Mein Altes Russland (lushly arranged Russian folk songs)
  • 25 Greatest Russian Melodies (Compilation with Tatiana Ivanov (2 duets))
  • 20 Greatest Hits (Compilation)


  • Russische Party 2 ("Live" album)
  • Memories of Russia


  • Ivan Rebroff at Carnegie Hall (Live at Carnegie Hall)
  • Reich Mir Die Hand
  • Russische Lieder Von Liebe und Tod


  • Midnight in Moscow (Russian-language versions)
  • Komm mit nach Hellas (German-language versions of Greek songs)


  • Mitternacht in Moskau (German version of Midnight in Moscow)


  • Ave Maria
  • Die Ivan Rebroff Versameling (Compilation of South African tracks)


  • Zauber einer großen Stimme — 20 unvergängliche Welterfolge
  • Zauber einer großen Stimme — Seine größten Welterfolge
  • Die schönsten Lieder dieser Welt (Ivan Rebroff singt 20 unvergängliche Melodien)
  • Katharina und Potemkin (TV Musical/Operetta)

CD Discography[edit]



  • Meine Reise um die Welt
  • The Great Ivan Rebroff
  • Ach Natascha"


  • Seine Größten Welterfolge
  • Best of Ivan Rebroff
  • Golden Stars

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Festliche Weihnachten
  • The Art of Ivan Rebroff
  • The Best of Russian Folk Songs Vol. 1
  • The Best of Russian Folk Songs Vol. 2
  • Erinnerungen an das letzte Jahrhundert (Memories of the Last Century)
  • Der Zarewitsch
  • Die Fledermaus (As Prince Orlofsky, with Carlos Kleiber & Bavarian State Orchestra)
  • Weihnachten mit Ivan Rebroff
  • Die schönste Stimme Rußlands
  • Kosakenträume


  1. ^ "Obituary: Ivan Rebroff". 18 April 2008.
  2. ^ The Guinness book of records, 1993
  3. ^ Алимов Г., Чародеев Г. «ИВАН РЕБРОВ «ВСЕЙ ДУШОЙ Я РУССКИЙ» Известия 09.05.1989 [...] По документам я действительно Иван Павлович Ребров. [...]
  4. ^ Frankfurter Neue Presse:Heribert Daume erzählt: Mein Freund Ivan Rebroff (german), 27 February 2018
  5. ^ "Heimlicher Bruder will Millionen-Vermögen" (29/2/09) in Aktuelle Nachrichten - Bild.de

External links[edit]