Musical selection for the 150th birth anniversary of Leonid Sobinov

"The best singer among lawyers or the best lawyer among singers ..."

The outstanding Russian singer (lyric tenor) - Leonid Sobinov  was born on June 7, 1872. Musicologists called Sobinov "the spring of Russian vocal lyrics." His worthy successor, Sergei Yakovlevich Lemeshev, wrote, “The significance of Sobinov creative work is extraordinarily great for the Russian theater. He made a revolution in the operatic are. His loyalty to the realistic principles of theater was combined with his individual approach to each character, with his incessant research work. Working with the role, he studied a huge amount of material - the epoch, historical background, everyday life. He always strove to create authentic and truthful character, to construct psychological profile of the personage". The basses, with Chaliapin appearance on the stage realized that they could not sing the way they sang before, and then the lyric tenors understood the same with the appearance of Sobinov".

Possessing the magnificent qualities of a singer, musician and dramatic actor and a rare stage charm, as well as the special, elusive grace, Leonid Sobinov created a gallery of images that were masterpieces of operatic performance, Elena Katulskaya* wrote, “His poetic Lensky (Eugene Onegin) became a classic image for subsequent performers of this role; his fabulous Tsar Berendey ("The Snow Maiden"), bard Boyan ("Ruslan and Lyudmila"), Vladimir Igorevich ("Prince Igor"), enthusiastic graceful Chevalier Renato des Grieux ("Manon Lescaut"), passionate Levko ("May Night, or the Drowned Maiden"), vivid images - Vladimir ("Dubrovsky"), Faust ("Faust"), Prince Sinodal ("Demon"), Duke of Mantua ("Rigoletto"), Yontek ("Halka"), the Prince ("Rusalka"), Gerald ("Lakme"), Alfred (“La Traviata”), Romeo (“Romeo and Juliet”), Rudolph (“La Bohème”), Nadira (“Les pêcheurs de perles”) are the perfect examples of the opera art".

Sobinov was a gifted person, an excellent conversationalist and very generous and sympathetic person. The writer Korney Chukovsky** recalled: “His generosity was legendary. He once sent a grand piano to the Kiev School for the Blind, as others send flowers or a box of chocolates. He donated 45 thousand gold rubles to the Moscow fund of assistance to students. He dished out money cheerfully, cordially, affably, and this was in harmony with his entire creative personality: he would not have been a great artist that brought so much happiness to everyone if he had not been characterized by such generous benevolence towards people. Here one could feel that overwhelming zest for life, with which all his work was saturated. His artistic style was so noble because he himself was noble. No tricks of artistic technique could he have developed in himself such a charming and soulful voice, if he himself did not have this sincerity. The audience believed Lensky that he created, since Sobinov himself was the same: carefree, loving, simple-minded, trusting. That is why, as soon as he appeared on stage and uttered the first musical phrase, the audience immediately fell in love with him - not only with the personage that he presented, but with his voice and himself".

The name of Leonid Sobinov was assigned to the Saratov Conservatory, the Yaroslavl Music School, the concert hall of the Yaroslavl Regional Philharmonic Society, the street (where the Sobinov family once lived) and where his House-Museum is located, one of the Volga motor vessels. The monument on the grave of Sobinov by the famous sculptor V. I. Mukhina was erected in 1941. In Yaroslavl, a monument to Sobinov by the sculptor Elena Paskhina was erected at the entrance to the Philharmonic Concert Hall.

Musical selection of works performed by Leonid Sobinov, digitized from musical media stored in the museum Collection is presented in our Sound Library.

* Elena Katulskaya (1888-1966) - Russian Soviet chamber and opera singer (lyric coloratura sopranist), teacher, publicist.
** Korney Chukovsky (1882-1969) - Russian Soviet poet, publicist, literary critic, translator and literary critic, children's writer, journalist.

Sources: www.culture.ru; www.belcanto.ru