OP3152. BORIS GODOUNOV (Moussorgsky), recorded 1948, w.Golovanov Cond. Bolshoi Opera Ensemble; Mark Reizen, Maxim Mikhailov, Nikandr Khanaev, Georgi Nelepp, Ivan Kozlovsky, Maria Maksakova, etc. (Russia) 3-Aquarius AQVR 177.
“Golovanov was born in Moscow on 21 January 1891 and died there on 28 August 1953. This was one year after he was stripped of his chief conductor role at the Bolshoi, the fate of those who fell from Komsomol favour.
His conducting style is said to have helped shape both Samuel Samosud and Evgeny Svetlanov. What is the Golovanov style? None of the recordings I have heard are anything other than exciting. Every one of them is an event. He seems not to have had microphone nerves. If anyone had nerves it must have been the Melodiya engineers who had to accommodate the extremes he generated.”
- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
“Certainly one of the most sonorous, expressive and beautifully-controlled bass voices ever to have been recorded was that of Mark Reizen. He was a legend in his own lifetime in Russia and, at the age of 90, he was still able to make a remarkable stage appearance, singing Prince Gremin in EUGEN ONÉGIN….This material in its original 78 rpm form will be very difficult to find, and this compilation is a worthy tribute to one of the greatest bass singers of the 20th century.”
- Alan Bilgora, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2010
“A superb singer and powerful actor with a highly expressive, rich voice of astonishing color and range, [Reizen’s] forte was legendary, but he also had a pianissimo so expressive it could stop a rehearsal to allow Natalia Shpiller singing opposite him to regain her composure, while the rest of the cast were drying their eyes.”
- Richard D. Sylvester, TCHAIKOVSKY’S COMPLETE SONGS
“Certainly Khanaev’s career is worthy of a long overdue consideration, as his importance as an artist has not been so easily recognised in the West, mainly because his recordings are rarely found as they were not distributed in the same volume as those of Kozlovsky and Lemeshev….For admirers of the Russian tenor voice and a singer who deserves to be better appreciated, this...is a ‘must’.”
- Alan Bilgora, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2011
“Khanaev studied at the Moscow Conservatory under Zviagina from 1921 to 1924. In 1925 he worked at the Opera Studio of the Bolshoi Theater, and from 1926 to 1954 he was a soloist with the Bolshoi Theater. Khanaev was a singer of great theatrical and musical artistry. His unique talents were particularly evident in the Russian classical repertoire, for example, as Herman in PIQUE DAME and in the title rôle of SADKO. His other parts included Shuiskii in BORIS GODUNOV, Don José in CARMEN, the title rôle in OTELLO, and Grigorii Melekhov in Dzerzhinskii’s THE QUIET DON. Khanaev taught at the Moscow Conservatory from 1948 to 1950.”
- Z. D. Akron
“The Bolshoi had a remarkable dramatic tenor, György Mikhailovich Nelepp, an artist of impeccable taste, with a beautiful, youthfully resonant voice. I have yet to hear a better Hermann in THE QUEEN OF SPADES. When I first joined the Bolshoi, we worked on FIDELIO together; that time ranks among the best memories of my career.”
- Galina Vishnevskaya, GALINA, pp.185-86
“One way of dividing the world seems to be into admirers and detractors of Ivan Kozlovsky. For the former, the succulent, dripping sweetness of the Russian tenor provides a paragon of bel canto, exquisite, long-held soft head notes, phrases caressed and pressed out of familiar shape….the portrait of an extraordinary singer….”
- Max Loppert, OPERA ON RECORD, Vol. I, pp.29-30
“In 1946 Maria Maksakova was awarded her first Stalin Prize ‘for outstanding achievents in opera and the performing arts’. Two more were to come, in 1949 and 1951.
In 1953 Maksakova retired or, rather, was informed of her retirement, which came as an unpleasant surprise for a singer who kept herself in superb shape, both physically and artistically. Rumours had it that some people at the Bolshoi found it safe to settle old scores now that Stalin, her much-feared patron, was now dead; specifically, the name of Vera Davydova, another famous Soviet soprano, has been mentioned.
After retirement from the Bolshoi, Maksakova joined Nikolay Osipov's Russian Folk orchestra as a soloist. With and without it, she continued performing and touring. In 1956 the Bolshoi invited Maksakova back, but her return was a one-off: she peformed as Carmen only, just to say farewell to her fans. Later Maksakova taught vocals at the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts, was the head of the Folk vocal school in Moscow, published articles and essays. She was the driving force behind the opening of the Conservatory in her native Astrakhan. Among her proteges was Tamara Milashkina, later an acclaimed singer on her own right. Only in 1971 she was given the title as ‘the People's Artist of the USSR’.”
- Z. D. Akron