21 April 2014, Monday
"Invitation to the Museum" - the 110th anniversary of Georgi M. Nelepp
On April 20th the Bolshoi Theatre marks the 110th anniversary of the People's Artist of the USSR and a laureate of the State Prize Georgi M. Nelepp. We are happy to share with you some rare pictures of this singer that are housed at the Bolshoi Theatre Museum.
Every time the name of Nelepp appeared on an opera theatre's playbill, it was a real holiday for the audience. Perhaps, there were not so many singers whom general public loved so sincerely. Today, when we listen to his recordings, it makes us remember wonderful encounters with real art.
The singer's creative career was bright and eventful. His name and creative work were connected with the biggest music theatres of Russia: from 1929 to 1944 he was a soloist of the Leningrad State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after S.M. Kirov (the Mariinsky Theatre) and then, after he had moved to Moscow, he performed the repertoire of a dramatic tenor at the Bolshoi Theatre. Over the 27 years of his creative career Nelepp sang in more than 1600 performances.
What was so special about this artist that charmed the audience? First of all, he represented the best traits and special features of the Russian vocal school. The range of his beautiful voice was great; he also knew how to use it. His musical phrases were distinct, his articulation was perfect, so that the audience could understand every word. He was also very handsome and sincere. The singer had a great sense of ensemble and always managed to find a harmonious contact with the orchestra, choir and his partners.
At the Bolshoi Theatre Nelepp created a whole galaxy of wonderful characters. Such roles as The Pretender ("Boris Godunov"), Sadko in the same-name opera, Jose ("Carmen"), Florestan ("Fidelio"), Jenik ("The Bartered Bride"), Jontek ("Halka"), Radames ("Aida") and Kakhovsky ("Decembrists") deserve special mention.
The famous opera director L. V. Baratov, who was Nelepp's close colleague and friend, said: "When we think about many outstanding singers that we've heard, we often admire their vocal technique - the way they take breath and use filar un suono, piano and forte effects and so on; those are the things that stick in the memory. This is not something we can say about Nelepp. When he was singing, no one in the audience paid special attention to the singing itself, I mean, to high notes or difficult passages. No one would ever think about giving him a round of applause for a perfect high "C", because this would have ruined the overall impression his performance made. What did captivate the audience was the image that the singer created, his character and its vital force".
Nelepp's artistic legacy is the pride of the musical and theatrical culture. Today, as we remember him with gratitude we still admire his charming and vital artistic charisma.
1 Teatralnaya ploschad (1 Theatre Square), Moscow, Russia
Bol'shaya Dmitrovka Street, 4/2, Moscow, Russia