OP0174. FIDELIO (in Russian), recorded 1957, w.Melik-Pashaev Cond. Bolshoi Opera Ensemble; Galina Vishnevskaya, Georgi Nelepp, Alexei Ivanov, Irina Maslennikova, etc.; Werther – Excerpts (in Russian), w.Khaikin Cond. USSR Radio Orch.; Galina Vishnevskaya & Sergei Lemeshev. (Portugal) 2-Gala 100.597. - 8712177042555
“Galina Vishnevskaya, an electrifying soprano who endured repression and exile as one of the postwar Soviet Union’s most prominent political dissidents, the wife of the celebrated cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, was renowned both as an emotional singer with a polished technique and as a charismatic actress. She had performed in operettas and music hall revues before joining the Bolshoi Theater of Russia, the country’s premier opera company.
At the Bolshoi she breathed new life into stodgy Soviet-era productions with dynamic interpretations of Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s EUGENE ONÉGIN, Marina in Mussorgsky’s BORIS GODUNOV and Natasha Rostova in Prokofiev’s WAR AND PEACE. In 23 years at the Bolshoi, from 1952 through 1974, she performed more than 30 roles.
Though Ms. Vishnevskaya was rarely allowed to sing in the West at the height of her powers in the 1960s and ’70s, she drew rave reviews when she did. ‘Galina Vishnevskaya’s appearances at the Metropolitan Opera are like a comet’s, sudden, infrequent, capable of lighting up the sky’, Raymond Ericson wrote in The New York Times, reviewing her performance in the title role of Puccini’s TOSCA in 1975.”
- Jonathan Kandell, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 11 Dec., 2012
“The Bolshoi had a remarkable dramatic tenor, Georgi Mikhailovich Nelepp, an artist of impeccable taste, with a beautiful, youthfully resonant voice. I have yet to hear a better Hermann in THE QUEEN OF SPADES. When I first joined the Bolshoi, we worked on FIDELIO together; that time ranks among the best memories of my career.”
- Galina Vishnevskaya, GALINA, pp.185-86
“From 1960 through 1968 I was the record librarian with the Decca Record Company in London. In addition to hearing Vishnevskaya in concert with her husband Mstislav Rostropovich as pianist, and Alexander Melik-Pashayev and Igor Markevitch conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, I saw her in AÏDA three times at Covent Garden 1962, 1963 and 1964. One memory of Vishnevskaya on stage in AÏDA is that she wore her own costumes, one in particular was a black sheath dress with a red top. A times she would pose dramatically and out from the dress would come a leg, one of the finest on the operatic stage. The most memorable moments though was my being able to attend a number of Decca recording sessions in Kingsway Hall of Britten's WAR REQUIEM. When I attended such sessions it was necessary that I had a reason for being there as some artists could be somewhat suspicious of people they didn't know. The hat I would often wear was to be ‘The Tea Boy’. At that time Vishnevskaya spoke rather fractured English and had a Russian interpreter with her. This gentleman asked me to make tea for Madam Vishnevskaya and that it had to be very strong, black and sweet. This I duly did as requested, and first time added four teaspoons of sugar. On being given the nod on the tea two more spoonfuls of sugar were requested. At subsequent sessions she looked directly at me and said: ‘You make tea’, and I dutifully obeyed. In August 1983 I attended a Rostropovich Festival at the Snape Maltings (Aldeburgh) where he was both playing the cello and conducting the Britten - Pears Orchestra. Vishnevskaya was also there, so I took the opportunity to speak with her. Her English by then was very good. I explained that I had attended the WAR REQUIEM session but there was no reason for her to remember me. She gave me a staring look and said ‘Tea Boy’. It was a magical moment I will never forget. We ended up having a very pleasant chat and I regret not having had a camera with me.”
- Leslie Austin, New Zealand
"The bass-baritone Viktor Nechipailo was born on 1 May, 1926, in Borislav in Lviv(Poland). He studied violin at the music school in Nikolaev and during the war he served in the ensemble of the Baltic Fleet , where he performed as a soloist. It was whilst a member that he started taking lessons from the head of the ensemble M. Krasovsky. In 1945-46 he studied at the Tallinn Conservatory, and between 1948 and 1952 he was engaged as a soloist with the Leningrad Academic Choir. During this time he resumed his studies with M. Krasovsky. He joined the Bolshoi as a soloist in 1953 and remained there until 1975. Amongst the roles that he performed were Prince Igor, Boris Godunov, Pimen, Ruslan, Gremin, Zaretsky, Shaklovity (recorded on Melodiya in 1971), Don Fernando (above) Amonasro, and Falstaff (which he recorded in 1963 with a cast that included Vishnevskaya and Arkhipova)."
- Mike Weston