V2535. SERGEI LEMESHEV: Arias from Barbiere, L'Africaine, Werther, Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Fra Diavolo, Mignon, Martha, Rigoletto, Dubrovsky, Snegoroutchka, Raphael, Eugen Onégin, Sadko, May Night, Mermaid, Halka & Ruslan and Ludmila. (France) Malibran AMR 140, recorded 1937-56.
“The Soviet Union had a remarkable crop of tenors during the 1940s, 50s, and into the 60s. Leaving aside artists who operated outside Russia and the Ukraine, and gifted performers such as Yelnikov who usually took secondary roles, there were still the likes of Orfenov, Kromchenko, Khanaev, Jadan, Ognovoi, Makhov, Nelepp, Alexandrovitch, Vinogradov, Ivanovsky, and Maslennikov: each an artist of international quality. Two I haven't mentioned, Kozlovsky and Lemeshev, led them all in popularity and engagements. Both began their careers in the 1920s, and they joined the Bolshoi within six years of one another - Kozlovsky in 1926, Lemeshev in 1931. They quickly became established as favorites right into the 1950s, each with his own wildly devoted female following, referred to respectively as ‘kozlovityanki’ and ‘lemeshistki’.
Of the two, Kozlovsky excelled at in-depth interpretation and sheer size of voice, while Lemeshev had the more attractive timbre. Each was exceedingly well recorded - too well recorded, some of their competitors would (and did, quietly) say, since the Soviet official music publisher, Melodiya, tended to use the pair a great deal. Fortunately for us, many of these recordings still exist in reasonably good condition....Literally dozens of discs devoted to his art have appeared, including commercial, live, and radio performances."
- Barry Brenesal, FANFARE
“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