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 Pavel Lisitsian


Born:   November, 6th, 1911
Deceased:   July 6, 2004

Pavel Gerasimovich Lisitsian was one of the leading Soviet opera singers (baritone).

      

Pavel Gerasimovich Lisitsian was one of the leading Soviet opera singers (baritone). He was born on November, 6th, 1911 in Vladikavkaz. During the Great Patriotic War he gave more than 500 concerts on the front-lines and in the rear. He was awarded with medals "For courage" and "For Liberation of Caucasus".

Lisitsian’s voice is remembered by everyone who heard it even just one time. Till date his name is pronounced – in the American breathy way – by old-timers in Metropolitan Opera. The velvet of Lisitsian’s timbre is eulogized by critics on French and Austrian disks with piracy records of the “Golden Age” of Bolshoi Theater. His breathing capacity has become legendary - it seems, it was the only baritone in the world who sang all three first phrases from the well-known aria of Germont in Traviata on one breath. There is also a legend that Marshal Voroshilov himself took vocal lessons from Pavel Lisitsian.

He always had more of something western, Italian about him, even while performing Onegin or Yeletsky, not to mention Verdi’s Amonasro (in Aida) and Germont (in Traviata), the famous Torero from Carmen or Valentine from Faust. Nowadays speaking about the famed record of Bolshoi Theater’s Carmen (1959) featuring Arkhipova and Del Monaco, the western critics kind of tilt the illustrious tenor-guest in the role of Jose, but unanimously extol Lisitsian in the role of Escamilio.

By some quirk of fate the owner of the truly Italian voice got the higher education diploma only in 1949, when was already the People’s Artist of the USSR.

Pavel Lisitsian was born in 1911 in Vladikavkaz. His grandfather was a carrier, and his father worked on drill sites. After finishing school Pavel would have faced endless geological geological expeditions and diamond mines, but, fortunately, he as a vociferous soloist of a local amateur group was commissioned to the Leningrad Conservatory. There were all grounds for that, by the way: Pavel did not only take vocal classes as a youth, but also learned to play the cello and the piano. However, his studies were repeatedly interrupted and renewed - he took vocal classes, worked as the supernumerary in the Big Drama Theatre, then joined the Youth Opera and throughout all this time he made his living working as a clincher and an electric welder. It was only after admission to the Maly Leningrad State Opera Theatre that Lisitsian’s vocal career really started. Soon afterwards he was invited to the Yerevan Opera House where he performed the leading parts for three years, and then the vociferous and temperamental baritone was noticed in the Bolshoy Theatre, where he then worked for 26 years. However, each year, without an exception, he would sing in his native Armenia, first alone, and then with his children – Karina, Rosanna and Ruben.

From 1940 to 1966 Pavel Lisitsian was the soloist of the Bolshoi Theater and performed parts of Yeletsky, Onegin, Mazepa, and Robert (in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, Evgenie Onegin, Mazepa, and Iolanta respectively), Germont and Amonasro (in Verdi's Traviata and Aida), Escamilo (in Bizet’s Carmen), Tatul (Spendiarov’s Almast), Arshak II (Chuhadzhyan’s Arshak II), Napoleon (in Prokofiev 's War and Peace), and others.

The actor gave 1800 performances on the stage of the Bolshoi Theater, and about the same number in various opera theaters when touring around the USSR. Lisitsian was the first Soviet singer to sing on stage of the New York Metropolitan Opera, it was Aida in 1960.

V.Ivanova


Tags: Russian opera Russian singers Russian music   








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