This DVD program reveals many jewels in the Russian archives from the twenties to the seventies with the focus on the major singers of the period.
Male singers dominate the scene – as indeed they dominate Russian opera with mighty bass voices from Shalyapin to Reizen; tenors from Lemeshev to Kozlovsky; and baritones like Lisitzian, Krivchenia and Nortzov. But there were great sopranos and mezzos too. The surviving gems include Vishnevskaya as Lisa in Queen of Spades, Arkhipova in Khovanshchina and Obrastsova as Marina in Boris Godunov.
There was a ‘golden age’ for the arts during the worst years of Soviet rule. Producers and artists were hugely supported with generous state funds and patronage. Many of Russia’s talented singers such as Ivan Kozlovsky and Sergei Lemeshev would have been international stars if they had traveled abroad. Unfortunately, few of the top singers were allowed to perform outside the USSR.
Will still, audio recordings and archive footage, the program reveals the atmosphere at the theater, the friendly rivalry of the ‘two tenors’ Lemeshev and Kozlovsky. But most of all, this film is about great Russian voices, the mighty bass of Petrov, Piragov and Ognivtsev who have all played the leading role in Boris Godunov and Reizen and Mikhailov as Ivan Susanin. It includes wonderful archive footage of these great singers and their superb performances, capturing ‘The Vintage Years’ of Russian opera.
"Here is a magnificent treat for all lovers of Russian opera. If it is atmosphere the DVDs producers are after, they certainly succeed. The strength of this DVD - or one of them - is the opportunity to compare and contrast great singers. So it is that the third Glinka excerpt has Mikhailov giving way to Mark Reizen for the 'Forest Aria'. Reizen looks astonishingly severe in his prayer to God for strength – this is real Russian singing!" - Colin Clarke, Music Web International
FEATURED ARTISTS:Arkhipova • Bolshakov • Guesielnikova • Kozlovsky • Krivchenia • Lemeshev • Lisitzian • Maslennikova • Mikhailov • Nortzov • Obrastsova • Ognivtsev • Petrov • Petrova • Piavko • Pirogov • Preobrazhenskaya • Reizen • Shalyapin • Sokolov • Vishnevskaya
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