Opera singer Vladimir Politkovsky -- under the heading "Desuete Names"
Vladimir Mikhailovich Politkovsky (1892-1984), Soviet opera singer, musical teacher and professor. Vladimir was born in the village of Mamatovka, Saratov province. His father, a village priest, had a beautiful tenor. He organized choir from his fellow villagers. The boy attended all choir rehearsals and performances, and from the age of six or seven, he joined it. When the family moved to Tsaritsyn, Vladimir sang in gymnasium choir; by the age of sixteen his alto was been substituted by the strong, beautiful baritone.
In 1910, the youngster passed the Moscow Conservatoire examination and was accepted with scholarship at the urgent request of Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov, who understood the necessity to support the talented student financially. Vladimir studied under Umberto Masetti (1869—1919), who during two decades of tutorship in Russia educated a pleiad of brilliant singers, including Politkovsky. Hence, Vladimir finished his studies under Mario Polly in 1918.
The singer performed on the professional stage for the first time as early as 1917. It was in Nizhny Novgorod at the Town Theatre as part of the Russian Opera project. He successfully sang the title role in “Eugene Onegin” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The professional career of Politkovsky started at the Theatre-studio of the Workers’ Organizations’ Art and Education Union under Fyodor Komissarzhevskiy, but as early as 1920, he was invited to the Bolshoi Theatre, with which all his future artistic work was linked. The talent of Politkovsky, his boundless dedication to the theatre, his reverent attitude to music, and his insistence and self-demanding attitude made him an outstanding opera performer. He sang lyrical and dramatic baritone parts in the operas – “Prince Igor” (Igor Svyatoslavich), “The Queen of Spades” (Pavel Tomsky), “Dubrovsky” (Troekurov), “Eugene Onegin” (Onegin), “The Tsar's Bride” (Grigory Gryaznoy), “Khovanshchina” (Fyodor Shaklovitiy), “The Snow Maiden” (Mizgir). He also sang bass parts in the operas "Boris Godunov" (Boris Godunov), "Faust" (Mephistopheles), "Prince Igor" (Vladimir Yaroslavich). One of the most impressive roles that performed Politkovsky was that of Iago in “Othello” by Verdi. Cited from the memoirs of Nikolay Ozerov, "At the Bolshoi Theatre, Vladimir Politkovsky, endowed with a beautiful baritone, most often performed with me as Iago. He so proficiently managed his voice; his performance was smart and presented one gradual crescendo, reaching its full force by the end of the opera. And the image the perfidious Venetian that he created was impossible to forget”. Politkovsky was performing at stage at the period when operas by contemporary composers appeared in the theatrical repertoire. He was among the participants in these productions. Vladimir Politkovsky was one of the Bolshoi prominent soloists. Sergei Lemeshev wrote that at first he was very nervous and feared to perform in the partnership with Politkovsky.
Politkovsky has also sang in concert halls, he performed as baritone in the symphonic poem “The Bells” by Rachmaninoff, in oratorio “Samson” by George Handel and in dramatic legend “The Damnation of Faust” by Hector Berlioz. He toured extensively throughout the country, and in the 1930s, he travelled with the theatre to the Far East. Politkovsky was awarded with the title of the RSFSR Honored Art Worker and in 1937 was awarded with the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. (In 1976 he received this reward for the second time). Latterly, by the end of his career Vladimir Politkovsky sang on the All-Union radio.
From 1948, Politkovsky taught at the Gnessin Institute and later at the Moscow Conservatory (1951-1957). He was promoted to the rank of professor in 1957. One of his pupils, the Bolshoi Theatre soloist, the USSR People's Artist, Arthur Eisen wrote in the article devoted to his teacher, "As a real artist, Vladimir Politkovsky patiently, demandingly and persistently educated us, his pupils, in the spirit of boundless love for the theatre, careful, literally academic attitude to music, responsibility and accuracy in our artistic work”.
Vladimir Mikhailovich died in 1984. He was buried at the Kuntzevo cemetery.
To mark the 130th anniversary of Vladimir Politkovsky, a selection of romances performed by the talented singer is posted in the museum Sound Library.
Son - Igor Politkovsky (1930-1984), violinist, Honored Artist of Georgia