25th death anniversary of Russian tenor Sergei Lemeshev

Wednesday, June 26th, marks the 25th death anniversary of famous Russian tenor and People's Artist of the USSR Sergei Lemeshev (1902-1977).

...On a December day of 1919, a 17-year-old village boy entered the 3rd International Workers' Club in Tver, north-west of Moscow. He had walked some 50 kilometres in severe frost to "try to become an artist" in the town.

Sergei came to love art when he was 12. It happened in St. Petersburg where he had been sent to master the profession of a boot-maker. Returning to the native village Lemeshev spent more time taking part in amateur theatricals than over boot-making activities. Nikolai Kvashnin, an ardent theatre-lover, who had accidentally come from Moscow managed to see the boy's talent. His wife started to give Lemeshev the first vocal lessons. Then Lemeshev studied in the Moscow Conservatory and later on made his way to the Bolshoi Theatre stage.

Lemeshev started to sing on the "first stage of the Soviet Union" in 1931. The tenor sang the party of Lensky in one of Russia's best operas, Yevgeny Onegin by Tchaikovsky, over 500 times in his artistic life. The audience would always cry during the scene of the duel and death of the character. It was this very role with which Lemeshev finished his career at the Bolshoi Theatre.

Sergei Lemeshev became a legendary singer of the past century and an excellent Russian tenor. The artist had a magic tone colour, voice, beauty, an irresistible magnetism and courage: for 6 years he sang only with one lung because of a disease.

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