Opera and chamber singer, performer of romances Alexander Davydov

Not only an ordinary educated person, neither a musicologist, nor a collector of gramophone records, the name of Alexander Davydov does not say anything nowadays.

Alexander Davydov (25.03.1872-28.06.1944) was an outstanding vocalist with great acting talent opens our new column "The Desuete Names". Only the sound of a gramophone record, which is far from perfect, makes it possible for the listener to understand that he has the happiness of touching real art.

The Russian opera theater at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries could make a boast of a large number of names, among which it was easy to get lost for a talented performer. Alexander Davydov was the outstanding opera singer. He lived an eventful and challenging life. His name thundered across Russia, the singer recorded about 400 gramophone records, he was well known in Europe.

The singer's repertoire was huge and consisted of roles in 85 operas and 30 operettas, including: The singer's repertoire was tremendous; it was comprised of the roles in 85 operas and 30 operettas. Among them - Sadko in the Mariinsky Theater production (“Sadko” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov); Nal ("Nal and Damayanti" by Anton Arensky); Mozart (“Mozart and Salieri” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov), Mime (“Siegfried” by Richard Wagner); German and Chekalinsky (“The Queen of Spades” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky); Synodal ("The Demon" by Anton Rubinstein); Harlequin ("Pagliacci" by Ruggero Leoncavallo; Tannhäuser ("Tannhäuser" by Richard Wagner); The Pretender (“Boris Godunov” by Modest Mussorgsky); Jose ("Carmen" by Georges Bizet); Loge (“The Rhinegold” by Richard Wagner); Lensky (“Eugene Onegin” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky); Othello ("Othello" by Giuseppe Verdi) and many others. In 1909, Sergei Diaghilev invited him to take part in his Russian Seasons in Paris.

The voice of Alexander Davydov was not very strong, but steady in all registers, the voice of a pleasant soft timbre, natural musicality, artistic temperament. He had a chance to prepare opera parts led by Emil Cooper, Eduard Nápravník, Arthur Nikisch, Josef Suk.

Details always make the image of a long-dead person closer and more comprehensible – the biography of A. Davydov is the section "Authors".

"Among the ample quantity of Russian and foreign tenors whom I have heard, Davydov belongs to the ranks of the most outstanding" - noted Sergei Levik *, the connoisseur of operatic art.

To commemorate the birthday of A.M. Davydov, we post a musical selection comprised of opera parts performed by the singer and recorded from the gramophone records that are stored in the Musical Library of the museum “Collection”.

* Sergei Levik (1883-1967) - Russian opera singer-baritone, musicologist and translator from French and German.