OP2893. DIE LUSTIGEN WEIBER VON WINDSOR – Excerpts (in Russian – w.delightful Russian commentary) (Nicolai), recorded 1937, w.Orlov Cond. USSR Radio Ensemble; Vladimir Zakharov, Georgi Abramov, Zoya Muratova, Nikolai Ozerov, Nina Alexandriyskaya, Olga Amatova, Sergei Formichev, etc. (Russia) Aquarius AQVR 383. - 4607123631485
“The recordings of Valdimir Petrovich Zakharov (1903-1965) are highly prized amongst collectors of Soviet vocal recordings. Zakharov was the star baritone of the All-Union Radio, a troupe which could boast such great artists as Nadezhda Kazantseva, Zara Dolukhanova and Georgy Vinogradov and Anatoly Orfenov. The main remit of the troupe was to familiarize their audience with Western and Russian works both rarely performed on the opera stage and concert platform as well as more popular fare.
Like Vinogradov, Zakharov is not known to have performed on the operatic stage. He possessed quite a large voice and was certainly an expressive and compelling actor (as can be seen in the 1958 film of Rachmaninov’s THE MISERLY KNIGHT which provides the only film footage of the singer. The film also provides a rare instance of a tele-opera where a role is not lip-synched by an actor). The voice was firm, well-trained, intensive and elegant. Unfortunately very little is known about the life of this unique and distinctive artist except that he performed the major baritone roles at All-Union Radio from the 1930s until the 1960s and that he taught at the Gnessin Institute. Such a lack of biographical material is not unusual for radio artists. Luckily, biographies have been published on Kazantseva and Dolukhanova as well as Orfenov’s autobiography.
Although many of the opera broadcasts with Zakharov’s commanding voice have appeared on CD: LES PECHEURS DE PERLES (in the role of Zurga - with Sergei Lemeshev and Nadezhda Kazantseva (OP3176), Massenet’s WERTHER (as Albert - with Ivan Kozlovsky and Maria Maksakova), Rossini’s L'ITALIANA IN ALGERI (as Taddeo - with Zara Dolukhanova), and Leoncavallo’s PAGLIACCI (in the role of Tonio - with Dimiter Uzunov and Pavel Lisitsian), Bizet’s DJAMILEH (OP2919), DIE MEISTERSINGER (OP3189), Dargomyzhsky’s ESMERALDA (OP1823), of Don Carlos in Dargomyzhsky’s STONE GUEST (with Galina Vishnevskaya), Count Almaviva in Mozart's LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (conducted by Kurt Sanderling), and Ford in Nicolai’s DIE LUSTIGE WEIBER VON WINDSOR (OP2893), there are still a large number of unpublished operas in the archives of Gostelradiofond including the title roles in Mozart's DON GIOVANNI, Grechaninov’s DOBRYNIA NIKITICH, Alexei Kozlovsky’s ULUGBEK, an outstounding Barnaba in Ponchielli’s LA GIOCONDA (with Ivan Petrov), Rolando in Verdi’s LA BATTAGLIA DI LEGNANO and Evgeny in Dzerzhinsky’s QUIET FLOWS THE DON to name but a few. A great many of his song recordings from his numerous radio recitals thankfully also exist.”
- Michael Weston