V2497. ZARA DOLUKHANOVA, w.Nina Svetlanova (Pf.): Songs by Glinka, Tschaikowsky, Komitas, Poulenc, etc.; Armenian Songs; Arias from Nozze and Tosca. [A rare recital which features Dolukhanova after her successful transition to Soprano, beautifully recorded from the front row of Philharmonic Hall in remarkably clear sound.] (Canada) Yves St Laurent YSL T-421, Live Performance, Philharmonic Hall, New York, 13 Nov., 1970.
“This wonderful CD is a souvenir of [Dolukhanova’s] last concert in New York….the release of this disc is a complete surprise as its existence was not known beforehand. Whatever its provenance, we should be grateful for it….Particularly impressive was her low register, full-throated, velvety, combined with light, bright coloratura. She had inspiration, intelligence, high musical culture, meticulous taste, poise and nobility in expression of feelings and precision of intonation, not to mention an elegant and attractive stage presence. She had that ‘mezzo vibrato’ shared by almost all singers of this fach, but she knew how to use it to great musical effect, like a cellist….The sound of the recording is very clear without jumping out at the listener. It is clear that it comes from a recording made in the audience [actually the front row, center!]….There are so many positives about this disc and very few negatives. For those who prize great singing, you owe it to yourself to hear this….Run, don’t walk!”
- Larry Friedman, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2017
…[Dolukhanova] gave recitals in the U.S. in 1959, 1962 and 1970. In the early 1960s she made a transition to soprano with Yevgeny Kanger, a pianist, whom she names as her most important teacher….Her concerts were eagerly anticipated musical events because she kept to her rule of never singing the same song twice in a city no matter how many times she appeared there. Her farewell concert was at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in the Spring of 1983.”
- Richard D. Sylvester, TCHAIKOVSKY’S COMPLETE SONGS, p.303
“Zara Dolukhanova is often cited as the greatest Soviet mezzo-soprano of her time. Her powerful, flexible voice was usually categorized as a coloratura mezzo, but her vocal range also allowed her to sing convincingly as an alto. Dolukhanova was as much a star in the Soviet Union in the mid-20th century as Callas and Tebaldi were in the West. She commanded a huge repertory inclusive of works ranging from J.S. Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi to Mozart, Rossini and Tchaikovsky and on to Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Khachaturian. She sang folk and traditional songs as well, and was best known on the operatic stage for her Rossini, particularly as Angelina in LA CENERENTOLA and Isabella in L'ITALIANA IN ALGERI. But Dolukhanova is also remembered as a recitalist, earning herself the reputation as one of the world's greatest interpreters of art songs, becoming a sort of female counterpart to Fischer-Dieskau.
She débuted in 1938 as Siébel in Gounod's FAUST at the Yerevan Opera in Armenia. After spending three years at the Yerevan Opera, Dolukhanova married composer Alexander Dolukhanian and thereafter performed under her married name. From 1944, she sang as a soloist for Moscow Radio. In the postwar years she gradually built her career in opera, concert, and recital fare. In 1959 she became a regular soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. She toured Europe and the Americas, making her U.S. début in 1959 at Carnegie Hall, drawing scores of rave reviews.
Dolukhanova was extremely active throughout the 1960s, but shortly after a return tour to the U.S. in 1970, she retired from singing. She spent most of the remainder of her career as a teacher at the Gnessin Institute, counting among her students mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina. Dolukhanova died in Moscow on 5 December, 2007.”
- Robert Cummings, allmusic.com