Sergey Lemeshev-Great tenor of Russia (p1)
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Sergey Lemeshev-Great tenor of Russia (p1)

At the Bolshoi theater, Sergey Yakovlevich often performed on stage when Boris emmanuelovich Haikin was at the console. Here’s what the conductor said about his partner: “I met and performed with many outstanding artists of different generations. But there is only one of them that I particularly love — not only as a fellow artist, but, above all, as an artist who lights up with happiness!

This Is Sergei Yakovlevich Lemeshev. His deep art, a precious fusion of voice and high skill, the result of a lot of hard work-all this bears the seal of wise simplicity and spontaneity, penetrating your heart, touching the innermost strings. Wherever there is a poster announcing Lemeshev’s concert, it is known that the hall will be crowded and electrified!

And so for fifty years. When we performed together, I, standing at the conductor’s Desk, could not deny myself the pleasure of sneaking a peek into the side boxes available to my view. And I saw how the audience’s faces were animated under the influence of high artistic inspiration.”
Sergey Yakovlevich Lemeshev was born on July 10, 1902 in the village of Staroye Knyazevo, Tver province, to a poor peasant family.

The mother of one had to pull three children, because the father went to the city to work. From the age of eight or nine, Sergei helped his mother as much as he could, and hired himself to thresh bread or guard horses at night. Much more he liked to fish and collect mushrooms “I liked to go to the forest alone. Only here, in the company of quiet, friendly birches, did I dare to sing.

Songs had long agitated my soul, but children were not supposed to sing in the village in front of adults. I sang mostly sad songs. I was captivated by their touching words, telling about loneliness, unrequited love. And though not all of this was clear to me, a bitter feeling came over me, probably under the influence of the expressive beauty of the sad chant…»

In the spring of 1914, according to the village tradition, Sergei went to the city to shoemaking, but soon the First world war began, and he returned to the village.
After the October revolution, the village organized a craft school for rural youth, which was headed by civil engineer Nikolai Kvashnin. He was an enthusiastic educator, a passionate theater-goer, and a music lover.

With him, Sergey began to sing and studied musical notation. At the same time, he learned the first Opera Aria — Lensky’s Aria from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.

There was also a fateful case in Lemeshev’s life. The famous musicologist E. A. Grosheva tells about it
“On a cold December morning (1919-ed.) a village boy came to the third international workers ‘ club. Dressed in a short cotton jacket, felt boots and paper trousers, he looked very young and really — he was only seventeen years old… smiling Shyly, the young man asked to be listened to

— You have a concert today, — he said, — I would like to act on it.
— What do you know how to do? – asked the Manager of the club.
“Sing,” was the answer. — Here is my repertoire of Russian songs, arias by Lensky, Nadir, Levko…

On the same evening, the new artist performed in a club concert. The boy who walked 48 versts through the cold to sing Lensky’s Aria in the club, vividly interested the audience… Lensky was followed by Levko, Nadir, Russian songs… the entire repertoire of the singer was already exhausted, and the audience still did not let him go from the stage. The triumph was unexpected and complete! Applause, congratulations, handshakes-all merged for the young man in one solemn thought “I Will be a singer!»
However, at the suggestion of a friend, he enrolled in a cavalry school. But the irresistible craving for art and singing remained. In 1921, Lemeshev passed the entrance exams to the Moscow Conservatory. Five hundred applications have been submitted for twenty-five vacancies in the vocal Department! But the young village boy wins the strict admissions Committee with the fervor and natural beauty of his voice. Sergey was taken to his class by Professor Nazariy Grigoryevich Raysky, a well-known vocal teacher and friend Of S. I. Taneyev.

It was difficult for Lemeshev to learn the art of singing. ” I thought that learning to sing was simple and pleasant, and this turned out to be so sophisticated that it was almost impossible to master it. I couldn’t figure out how to sing correctly! Sometimes I lost my breath and strained the muscles of my throat, then my tongue began to interfere with me. And yet I was in love with my future profession as a singer, which seemed to me the best in the world.”

In 1925, Lemeshev graduated from the Conservatory. during the exam, he sang the role of Vaudemont (from Tchaikovsky’s Opera Iolanta) and Lensky.
“After studying at the Conservatory,” Lemeshev writes, ” I was accepted into Stanislavsky’s Studio. Under the direct supervision of the great master of the Russian stage, I began to study my first role — Lensky.

Needless to say, in the truly creative atmosphere that surrounded Konstantin Sergeyevich, or rather, that he created himself, no one could have conceived the idea of imitating, of mechanically copying someone else’s image. Full of youthful Gorenje, guided by Stanislavsky’s instructions, encouraged by his friendly attention and care, we began studying Tchaikovsky’s clavier and Pushkin’s novel.

Of course, I knew all Pushkin’s characterization of Lensky, as well as the whole novel, by heart, and, mentally repeating it, I incessantly evoked in my imagination, in my feelings, a sense of the image of the young poet.”

After graduating from the Conservatory, the young singer performed in Sverdlovsk, Harbin, and Tbilisi. Alexander Stepanovich Pirogov, who once arrived in the capital of Georgia, when he heard Lemeshev, strongly advised him to try his hand at the Bolshoi theater again, which he did.

“In the spring of 1931, Lemeshev made his debut at the Bolshoi theater,” writes M. L. Lviv. — For the debut, he chose the operas “snow maiden” and “lacme”. In contrast to Gerald’s part, Berendey’s part was created for a young singer, with a clear lyrical sound and a naturally free upper register. The party requires a transparent sound, a clear voice.

The luscious cantilena of the cello accompanying the Aria well supports the singer’s smooth and steady breathing, as if reaching for the aching cello. Lemeshev successfully sang Berendey. The debut in “snow maiden” has already decided the question of his enrollment in the troupe. The performance in “LACMA” did not change the positive impression and the decision made by the management.”

Very soon the name of the new soloist of the Bolshoi theater became widely known. Lemeshev’s fans made up an entire army, selflessly devoted to their idol. The artist’s popularity increased even more after he played the role of the chauffeur Petya Govorkov in the film “Musical history”. It is a beautiful film, and, of course, the participation of the famous singer contributed to its success in many ways.

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