Borys Hmyria
Borys Hmyria


Borys Hmyria (05.08.1903, Lebedyn, Sumy region – 01.08.1969, Kyiv), opera and chamber singer, bass cantante. In 1940–1969 he lived and worked in Kyiv.

Born into a poor family where even the bread was divided into pieces by a thread. His father was a mason, mother – a seamstress. From early childhood worked hard to support the family.

In 1933 his father and sister died of starvation, and Hmyria saved his mother by a miracle.

Only being 27 he received secondary education and the opportunity for further studies.

Graduated with honors from Kharkiv Institute of Civil Engineering (1935) and Kharkiv Conservatory (1939). Soloist of Kharkiv (1936) and Kyiv (1939–1957) Operas, winner of the All-Union competition of vocalists (1939) and the USSR State Prize (1952), People’s Artist of the USSR (1951), was awarded the Order of Lenin (1960)

He came in art being already a mature person (33 years). Like a sponge, he eagerly absorbed the knowledge that was necessary for him as a professional. And not only that. Throughout his brief but rich and fruitful life the singer reached the heights of worldwide fame and immortality.

He was buried in the Baikove cemetery.


  • In 1959, 1962 the name of Hmyria was entered into the International Encyclopedia Who’s is Who.
  • In the 1980s the Melodia Firm (Moscow) together with the French record company released a series of records under the title From the Treasury of the World Performing Arts, in which Ukraine was represented only by Hmyria.
  • On the Internet, musical pieces performed by B. Hmyria are included in most prestigious world catalogs and his CD recordings (unfortunately pirated) are distributed from Ecuador to the Kuriles.
  • “...Hmyria is known as Borys the Great and his magnificent bass is considered a unique property not only of Ukraine but also of world culture in general.... His philosophical and epistolary works are also of great value to world culture...”. UNESCO, 11.09.2003.
  • Seven cities of Greece competed for the right to be called the birthplace of Homer, and for Hmyria two states compete. Unfortunately, his beloved Ukraine does not win.


  • 44 operatic roles in Ukrainian, Russian and world classics (sung 75 arias)
  • 85 pieces from vocal, theatrical and symphonic works
  • 300 Ukrainian, 209 Russian folk songs and romances, and 104 works of Western classical music.


  • 150 manuscripts of articles on popular science and art items
  • 2.500 sheet music, letters, scores with corrections by Hmyria


  • 8 notebooks-diaries for 1936-1969, 1,625 pp. Published in 2010, 890 pp.
  • 7,000 letters by B. Hmyria and to him
  • 3,500 Hmyria’s official letters to the authorities


For 20 years of creative life gave over 3,000 concerts. In every performed from 30 to 40 pieces. In particular, on April 3, 1964 in the Hall of the Moscow Conservatory Hmyria sang 35 pieces and wrote in his diary: “was asked to perform 26 more pieces.” And all this without a microphone (the phonogram was out of the question).

Toured only in the cities of the former USSR and Soviet bloc countries: Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Poland, Bulgaria and China. In capitalist countries did not perform despite the fact that there were hundreds of invitations, but Soviet authorities never informed Hmyria about them.


During 1945–1970 the Melodia Firm (Moscow) released over 200 records with singing of Hmyria, the number of copies ranging from 100,000 to 600,000, and reissued them 120 times. The aggregate production reached 7 billion copies.


The heirs and Borys Hmyria Foundation released 15 diverse disks, have prepared for release another 5, and 50 can be made with the availability of means.


The lifetime interior of the singer’s apartment and his personal belongings have been completely saved. Also saved, systematized, organized and constantly updated are the rich archives of unique materials, his audio and video records. In total, more than 100,000 archival units. The apartment is in a catastrophic state – it badly needs urgent capital repairs and restoration work.
In 2008, a jury member of the Hmyria International competition of vocalists, the famous Russian bass A. Vedernikov visited the home of the singer, was shocked by its disastrous condition and stated: “The flat of Hmyria is the shame of Ukraine.”