OP3197. RUSLAN AND LYUDMILA (Glinka), Live Performance, 20 Dec., 1961, w.Khaikin Cond. Bolshoi Opera Ensemble; Nikolai Timchenko, Victor Nechipailo, Galina Oleinichenko, Mark Reshetin, Eugenia Smolenskaya, Maria Mityukova, Alexei Geleva, Vladimir Petrov, etc. (Russia) 2-Aquarius AQVR 382. [An exciting performance, brilliantly conducted by Khaikin, with a most enthusiastic audience!] - 4607123631478
"This premiere release of Glinka's RUSLAN AND LYUDMILA is from one of the best productions of this opera. It was first performed for the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre in 1948 with direction by R. Zakharov, conducted by A. Melik-Pashaev and designed by the artist V.Dmitriev. In this radio broadcast from 1961, we have the opportunity of hearing some of the soloists who joined the Bolshoi Theatre during the 1950's - the dramatic baritone Victor Nechipailo, Galina Oleinichenko, Alexei Geleva, and Maria Mityukova. In addition, this recording also features one of the Bolshoi Theatre's best dramatic sopranos, Eugenia Smolenskaya, who performed on that stage from 1947. Due to staging constraints, this production of the opera was performed in an abridged version (for example the first scene from Act V was omitted). These scenes can be heard in the studio recording of 1954 (conductor - Kirill Kondrashin)."
- Ned Ludd
“Glinka’s juxtaposition of Farlaf’s tongue-twisting rondo immediately before Ruslan’s ‘O field, o field’ enables the listener to compare easily the vocal colours. Alexei Geleva’s black sound, firm and flexible, contrasts effectively with the higher-centered tones of Victor Nechipailo, who possesses a rich upper register. Both singers gave me much pleasure, as did the Bayan of Nikolai Timchenko, easy of vocal emission, and the heavier sound of the other tenor, Vladimir Petrov….The smaller assignment of Svetozar benefits from the smoothness of Mark Reshetin.”
- JTH, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2017
"This evening's performance is presented in its entirety. Galina Oleinichenko, the Lyudmila in this recording, was born on 23 January 1928 in the village of Budenovka in the Rozdilna district of Odessa. At the School of Music she studied the harp, and graduated in 1953 from the Odessa Conservatory having studied solo singing under N. Urban. Between 1952 and 1955 she was a soloist at the Odessa Theatre; and between 1955 and 1957, she was engaged at the Kiev Opera and Ballet Theatre. Her career at the Bolshoi Theatre began in 1957 where she remained until 1981. Her repertoire at the Bolshoi included the roles of Gilda, Violetta, Lyudmila, Karolka, The Swan Princess (THE TALE OF TSAR SALTAN which she recorded under Nebolsin [OP0495], Antonida, Rosina, Volkhova, the Snowmaiden and Titania (in Britten's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM), singing opposite Obraztsova's Oberon). She recorded romances by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninov, Liszt and Delibes as well as a selection of opera arias for Melodiya and lent her voice to the eponymous heroines in the filmed operas IOLANTA (Tchaikovsky, 1963), SEVIL (Amirov, 1970) and sang the role of Marfa in THE TSARS BRIDE (1966) and soprano arias in THE MUSIC OF VERDI (1963). The conductor, Boris Khaikin wrote of Oleinichenko's 'singing [being] especially captivating with an evenness of sound and accuracy of intonation, and she was in constant pursuit of expression and an understanding of the characters that she portrayed'. After her retirement she also taught, becoming a Professor at the Russian Academy of Music (Gnesin) in 1999. She passed away on 13 October, 2013, aged 86.
The bass-baritone Viktor Nechipailo (Ruslan) was born on 1 May, 1926, in Borislav in Lviv (Poland). He studied violin at the music school in Nikolaev and during the war he served in the ensemble of the Baltic Fleet , where he performed as a soloist. It was whilst a member that he started taking lessons from the head of the ensemble M. Krasovsky. In 1945-46 he studied at the Tallinn Conservatory, and between 1948 and 1952 he was engaged as a soloist with the Leningrad Academic Choir. During this time he resumed his studies with M. Krasovsky. He joined the Bolshoi as a soloist in 1953 and remained there until 1975. Amongst the roles that he performed were Prince Igor, Boris Godunov, Pimen, Ruslan, Gremin, Zaretsky, Shaklovity (recorded on Melodiya in 1971), Don Fernando [OP0174] Amonasro, and Falstaff (which he recorded in 1963 with a cast that included Vishnevskaya and Arkhipova).
The basso-cantante, Mark Reshetin (Svetozar) was born on 15 February, 1931, and died in 2001. In 1956 he graduated from the Moscow Conservatory having studied with V.Politkovsky. He sang at the Bolshoi between 1956 and 1977. In 1966 he was sent to La Scala to continue his training, performing the role of Dosifei on that stage in their 1967 premiere of KHOVANSHCHINA. His repertoire included the roles of Ivan Susanin, Pimen [OP1266], Prince Yuri (THE ENCHANTRESS), Gremin, Mephistopheles and Don Basilio.
The Gorislava, Evgenia Smolenskaya (1919-89) was born in a small village near Gorlovka in the Donbass. She studied at the Yenakiyevo Pedagogical College and upon graduating, became a teacher of Ukrainian and literature. After taking part in the regional Olympiad in Stalino (now Donetsk), she was sent to study at the Kiev Conservatory (1939-41). After the war she was engaged to sing at the opera house in Stalino and continued her musical education under EN Panaeva. In 1947 she joined the Bolshoi Theatre, debuting there in the role of Natasha in Dargomyzhsky's RUSALKA (a role which she was to record twice). Her other roles included Aida, Yaroslavana, Santuzza, Kuma, Marcellina, Emma (KHOVANSHCHINA), Maria (MAZEPPA) and Militrisa. She recorded the role of Ortrud [OP0251] in the first studio recording of LOHENGRIN. She also taught at the Gnesin Institute.
Maria Mityukova, the Ratmir in this broadcast, was born in 1925. She was engaged to sing at the Bolshoi Theatre between 1956 and 1977 where her roles included Ratmir, Vanya, The Princess (RUSALKA) , The Countess, Konchakovna and Nezhata.
Alexei Geleva (1904-84) joined Kharkov Opera in 1925. He also performed with the Third Ukrainian Mobile Opera and at the opera houses in Saratov, Gorky and Novosibirsk. He joined the Bolshoi Theatre in 1954 where he performed, amongst others, the roles of Farlaff, Ivan Khovansky, Konchak, Varlaam and Tokmakov. He retired from the Bolshoi in 1969.
Vladimir Petrov (1925) performed at the Bolshoi between 1956 and 1984 where his roles included Dimitri, Semyon Kotko,, Golitzin, Sadko (which he performed at La Scala in 1964), Don Carlos, Grishka Kuterma and Pierre Bezukhov.
Nikolai Timchenko was born on 12 December, 1927, in Donetsk. After the war he became a soloist of the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Baltic Fleet. In 1950, he was admitted to the Moscow Conservatory where he studied under S.Yudin and N. Ozerov. He joined the Bolshoi Theatre in 1955 where he debuted in the role of Lensky and performed many leading lyric tenor roles including, Almaviva, the Hindu Guest, Alfredo, the Duke of Mantua, Sinodal and Lykov. He is known to have substituted for both Lemeshev and Kozlovsky when they were indisposed. In 1961 he was sent to La Scala to further his training and returned in 1963. He retired from the stage in 1966 and enjoyed a very successful career as a singer of songs and romances, many of which were recorded. He toured the country extensively as a concert singer and died on 15 June, 1989."
- Mike Weston