V2150. SERGEI LEMESHEV: Arias from Raphael, Demon, Rusalka (Dargomizhsky), May Night, Sadko,Prince Igor, Aleko, Dubrovsky, Eugen Onégin, Pique Dame, Askold’s Grave & Snegoroutchka; w.Tatiana Lavrova: Romeo and Juliet – Overture-Fantasia – Love Duet (Tschaikowsky-Taneyev). (Germany) Hamburger Archiv für Gesangskunst HAFG 10141, recorded 1940s 1950s. Final Sealed Copy! - 034062401871
“Rest assured that all of these selections are sung in Lemeshev’s most ravishingly beautiful manner….His astounding breath control in SADKO rivals Björling’s….The most compelling reason, in my opinion, to own this wonderful disk is its most unusual…its rarest selection: the 1954 vocal love duet-scena extracted from Tschaikowsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy….after Tschaikowsky’s death in 1893…Taneyev…began orchestrating it, adding transitions and a proper introduction, setting the mood for the lovely music that would follow. Lemeshev, and a wonderful soprano by the name of Tatiana Lavrova sing it with the most breathtaking display of enraptured passion that I have ever encountered from any singer(s)....Lavrova and Lemeshev partnered many times during their celebrated careers at the Bolshoi Opera. I was immediately taken by the lyric beauty of Lavrova's voice and her passionate delivery of the text [above]....Probably many Tschaikowsky opera lovers don’t even know of its existence – I certainly didn’t until I played this CD….The sound is clear and full-bodied….the transfers, from shellac and radio transcriptions, are quite excellent.”
- Patrick V. Casali, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2013
“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