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Fedor Shalyapin

Moscow > Fedor Shalyapin

Fedor Shalyapin

The exhibition Shalyapin the Opera Czar touches upon a most wonderful page in the history of Russian musical theatre.

The art of Fyodor Shalyapin is inseparably nnected with the silver ago of Russian culture. The aspiration for poetry and beauty, the harmony of Word and Music, the feast of colours, the profundity of feelings are reflected in of Sergey Rachmaninov, the painting of Korovin, the ballets of Mikhail Fokin... The of that epoch vividly manifests itself in the singer's creativity, Shalyapin was named a singing actor". His brilliant dramatic talent was combined with an extraordinary musical gift. The voice of the singer, a powerful sanguineous basso r-nanti -0 in the first place for the richness of intonations, semitones and inflections; it a most complicated gamut of emotional Shalyapins reincarnations ware not just outward (it is well known how important it was for Shalyapin to arrange his plastic movements and jestures, make-up and costumes) but also deeply inward. Scenic an opportunity to reveal his unique to lime, capability of hearing and going, on of individual human beings and theatrical masks but human Boris Asafev wrote about Shalyapins roles in by Modest Musorgsky and Nikolay Rimsky orsai ov

Shalyapin s summit was the part of Ivan the Terrible in the opera Pskovuyanka by Rimsky-Kotsakov. The whole of tt was constructed by contrast The singer emphasized the characters uncontrollabiUtv. fanaticism, sanctimony and at the same time, the tragedy of a father who had lost his daughter. Korovin recollected: Thcre was no Shalyapin on the stage, it was Ivan the Terrible*. The poetry of Pushkin inspired the artist to create a great number of operatic portraits such as Satieri, Aleko, the Miller, Phatlaph and czar Boris. Boris Godunov in the Musorgsky s opera of the same name was the acme of the artist's creativity, energetically rendering the foredoom of a conscience-stricken man. Boris Godunov Shalyapin lived a whole life on the stage. Photographs show quite a few nuances in the performance of the great artist, die changes in the appearance of the czar that took place from scene to scene. Czar Boris, in the prime of his life and powerful, turned into a decrepit and crazy old man in the fast scenes.

Shalyapin gave a performance on the stage of the Finnish National Opera-House in November 1935. He brilliantly played two parts, Mephistopheles and Don Basilic The portrait of Shalyapin on the role of Don Basilic painted by his son Boris in the 30s opens the exhibition. The artist worked on the image of Mephistopheles in Charle Gounod's opera Faust for many years. He did not consider him a refined French cavalier as was typically accepted; the singer saw him as the symbol of earthy deeds and human passions*. An one Finland newspaper wrote about Shalyapins performance in the scene with crosses in the following words: The evil spirit is trembling, his knees are shaking, the features are distorted, he nearly falls down.

The abundant material of the exhibition from the archives of the Museum of Musical Culture and the Museum of the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre show the creative workshop of the singer: ancient photographs, theatrical sketches of sceneries and costumes by Russian painters, operatic outfits of the singer. Shalyapin created every role as a result of profound meditations careful work closely cooperating with painters, composers, producers and stage partners.

Shalyapin wrote: The operatic theatre is a subtle and very comlicated art. And I think the only theatre of Opera may be Such that really can and must unite al five arts Poetry, Painting, Music, Sculpture and Architecture.

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