Prince Igor  (Alexandr Baturin, Ivan Kozlovsky, Alexander Pirogov, Maxim Mikhailov, Derzhinskaya, Leonid Savransky)  (2-Aquarius AQVR 416)
Item# OP3333
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Product Description

Prince Igor  (Alexandr Baturin, Ivan Kozlovsky, Alexander Pirogov, Maxim Mikhailov, Derzhinskaya, Leonid Savransky)  (2-Aquarius AQVR 416)
OP3333. PRINCE IGOR (Borodin)- Extended Fragments, recorded 1936-38, w. Steinberg, Orlov & Melik-Pashaev Cond. Bolshoi Opera Ensemble; Alexandr Baturin, Xenia Derzhinskaya, Ivan Kozlovsky, Alexander Pirogov, Maxim Mikhailov, etc.; XENIA DERZHINSKAYA: Songs by Glinka, Gurilev, Tschaikowsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Dankevich, Lebedev, Sibelius & Bizet; LEONID SAVRANSKY, w.Naum Walter (Pf.): Prince Igor - No sleep, no rest for my afflicted soul - recorded 1950s. (Russia) 2-Aquarius AQVR 416, recorded 1930-40. - 4607123632185


“Aquarius timed this publication to coincide with the 130th anniversary of the birth of the soprano Xenia Derzhinskaya who was a prominent Bolshoi artist from 1914 to 1948. Yaroslavna had been he role of her debut in the Moscow house and she here appears committed to the role and impressive in her command of the head register: the exposed high notes are easily reached and and beautifully modulated….”

- Stephen Hastings, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2020

“Xenia Derzhinskaya was notable Russian Soprano, 1889-1951 and a pupil of Pash and Marchesi in Kiev. After appearing in concerts there she settled in Moscow and sang at the Narodniy Dom Opéra (1913-15), and subsequently was a leading member of the Bolshoi Theater (1915-18). Derzhinskaya also pursued a concert career, and taught voice at the Moscow Conservatory (1947-51). In 1937 she was named a People’s Artist of the USSR. She won high praise in her homeland for her compelling portrayals of roles in russian operas.”

“One of the few singers of the post-Revolutionary generation who had the possibility of studying in Italy – two years at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome – is the Byelorussian-born Aleksandr Baturin, an ideal singer for transitional roles, such as Escamillo, Prince Igor and Count Tomsky, for which basses usually lack the high range, while baritones do not have the dark, low notes required.”


“In the four decades after the departure of Feodor Chaliapin in 1919, two Russian basses dominated the stage at Moscow's mighty Bolshoi: Mark Reizen, tall and elegant, whose magnificent instrument had a Slavic edge somewhat softer than most, had but one rival. Alexander Pirogov, commanding and powerful, owned a voice blacker in timbre, less smooth, but arresting in its impact and guided by theatrical instincts of overwhelming authority. Although stories abound of their dislike for each other, their presence assured the theater's primacy in having bass singers perfectly suited to the many great bass roles that give Russian opera its special tang.

Pirogov…was engaged by the Zimin Free Opera in Moscow where, in two years time (1922 - 1924), he learned his craft and gained familiarity with several leading roles. In 1924, Pirogov was invited to join the Bolshoi. Soon he was heard as Gremin, Ivan Susanin, the Old Miller, Russlan, and Ivan the Terrible from the Russian repertory, in addition to such leading characters in Western opera as Don Basilio and Méphistophélès. He reportedly learned last-named in just two weeks. In 1929, Pirogov was honored by being assigned the title role in BORIS GODUNOV; thereafter he was known as an unsurpassed interpreter of this mightiest of all Russian protagonists.

Establishing a reputation for hard work and meticulous attention to detail, Pirogov continued to sharpen and refine his interpretations. He arrived at the theater early, applying his makeup and stepping into costume long before he was summoned to the stage. Although many stories suggest an imperious presence in his personal affairs, others paint another portrait, revealing a friendly and outgoing approach toward his colleagues. Although he retired from the Bolshoi in 1954, Pirogov was the choice for Boris when the opera was filmed in 1955. He had already been awarded the Stalin Prize for his performance of the role and accompanied the film to Venice for the international film festival held there. Although the film was not a prizewinner, the Italian film academy struck a special medal to honor the singer.

After 1954, Pirogov spent most of his time in his native city, traveling to Moscow only for occasional appearances on-stage and in concert. When the Bolshoi was invited to La Scala in 1964, Pirogov was selected to sing Boris. However, after fishing in his beloved Oka River on a particularly hot day in late June, he returned home and retired for a nap. Awakening with chest pains in the middle of the night, he sent his son for a doctor, but by the time the physician arrived, the bass was already dead. Thus, Pirogov was denied the possibility of one final triumph.”

- Erik Eriksson,

“Kozlovsky's voice was distinguished for its beautiful high register and rich palette of shadings. He sang more than 50 operatic rôles, and was especially famous as Lensky in EUGENE ONÉGIN. They say that Ivan Kozlovsky considered his voice as his one and only possession and prayed every morning thanking the Lord for the priceless gift He gave him.”

- Olga Fyodorova