OP2597. DUBROVSKY (Napravnik), recorded 1961, w. Slavinsky Cond. Moscow Academian Theatre Ensemble; Sergei Lemeshev, Georgy Dudarev, Alexei Ivanov, Vera Kudryavtseva, etc.; DUBROVSKY – Excerpts - recorded 1949, incl.Samosud & Nebolsin Cond. Natalia Rozhdestvenskya, Nadezhda Tchubenko, Andrei Ivanov, Alexei Ivanov, Vsevolod Tyutyunnik, etc (Russia) 2-Aquarius AQVR 366. In addition to being a virtually unknown opera in the western world, this superb performance is worth its price if only for the transporting singing of 'Give me oblivion' by Lemeshev! - 4607123631287
“Eduard Nápravník, Russia's leading conductor, who handled the musical department at the Mariinsky Theater in St Petersburg, composed four of his own operas, some of them inspired by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky whom Nápravník admired very much. For DUBROVSKY he asked Modest Tchaikovsky to write a libretto after Alexander Pushkin, as Modest had done for his brother Pyotr (the best-known example of this is PIQUE DAME). The opera was completed in 1894 and successfully staged in 1895, at the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, conducted by the composer.
A year later it was staged at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Around this time, opera became a large part of the repertoire of the Russian theatrical scene. Only in 1897 there were seven premičres of DUBROVSKY in different Russian towns. It was also performed abroad: in Prague in (1896), Leipzig in (1897), and Plzeň and Brno in (1898).
In the 20th century the opera was performed less frequently, but nevertheless it remained in the repertoire of many theatres. It continued to enjoy success in 20th century Soviet Russia. The main rôle of Vladimir Dubrovsky was performed by Nikolai Figner, Leonid Sobinov, Sergei Lemeshev, and Ivan Kozlovsky, as well as various others. It exists in the above performance from 1961 with Sergei Lemeshev, with the Moskow Academian Theatre under the direction of Petr Slavinsky.”
“In Russia, Sergei Yakovlevich Lemeshev (1902-1977) is — along with Feodor Chaliapin — perhaps the most beloved opera singer in recent history. He was born into a very poor peasant family, in a small village, during the years of the Bolshevik revolution and the Civil war, and Lemeshev was required to become a cadet in the Red Army Cavalry School. It was, however, actually the Revolution that helped him make his dream of an operatic career come true, since the Bolsheviks gave the poorest peasants and proletarians a preferential right to free education. Sergei was assigned to study at the Moscow Conservatory where, after surviving a rigorous competition, he was accepted. (This determined his political views, for as he said many times, ‘the Soviets gave me everything’.) In 1931, he became a leading tenor of the Bolshoi, where he sang for the next 34 years, winning great acclaim. His audience grew, along with his fame, and he soon gained a veritable army of fans, called ‘lemeshevists’. His vocal and artistic qualities, evident to every listener, are beauty of timbre, musicality, effortlessness of vocal production, expressiveness, and very clear diction - qualities perhaps most commonly found in bel canto singers. An interesting comment on Lemeshev’s singing was made by the Bolshoi tenor Anatoly Orfenov: ‘He developed a mixed voice of incomparable beauty, which made it possible for him to take the highest notes with such beautiful richness that even specialists could not explain how it was done technically….His high C’s … sounded virile and full…His manner of lowering his larynx a bit on high notes allowed him to perform the parts which we ordinary lyric tenors did not sing’.”
- Natalie, "younglemeshevist"
“Everything about [Sergei Lemeshev] was artistic....On the stage, until the end of his career, he was a youth, beloved and vulnerable. Even at seventy he still drove his admirers into ecstasies every time he sang Lensky at the Bolshoi.”
- Galina Vishnevskaya, GALINA, p.324
“Vassili Vassilyevich Nebolsin (30 May 1898 – 29 October 1958) was a Russian conductor. He studied at the college of the Moscow Philharmonic and became conductor of the orchestra in 1918. He became choir master of the Bolshoi in 1920 and its conductor in 1922. He taught at the Moscow Conservatory from 1940 to 1945. The Stalin Prize was awarded him in 1950.”
-Zillah Dorset Akron