Kastorsky, Vladimir Ivanovich


Vladimir Ivanovich Kastorsky - Russian and Soviet opera artist (bass), chamber singer, vocal teacher. Honored Artist of the RSFSR (1934). Since 1898 - a soloist in the Mariinsky, then in the Leningrad Opera and Ballet Theater. Member of Sergei Diaghilev Russian Seasons.

Vladimir Kastorsky was born in the village of Bolshiye Soli, Kostroma province in the large family of rural priest. Later, he often return to his native village gave gratuitous concerts. From the age of nine, he sang in the choir. After graduating from the Kostroma Theological Seminary, he moved to Penza, where, under the influence of his cousin - a graduate of the Petersburg Conservatory, choirmaster, he began to study vocalism seriously. In 1892, he left for St. Petersburg, where he was admitted to the "Tuition-free Choir Class" organized by Ivan Alexandrovich Melnikov. In 1893, he entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory, the class of Stanislav Gabel. However, a year later he was excluded from it. According to the teacher, "for having no voice and mediocrity". Later, Stanislav Gabel admitted that this assessment was unfaithful. In St. Petersburg, Kastorsky listened to Italian singers Angelo Mazini, Mattia Battistini, Francesco Navarini and Antonio Cotogni and followed their advice. In 1894, he debuted in Pskov with Champaniere Opera Company and toured. In 1895, due to affection of the throat, he left the stage. He had been working for two years as a precentor of the manufacturer Nickolay Krasilshchikov choir in the village of Rodniki, Kostroma province. In 1897, Vladimir was engaged to the Kiev Opera Theater, where he performed for one season.

In 1898, he debuted as the High Priest Perun (“Rogneda” by Alexander Serov) at the Mariinsky Theater, where he sang until 1918 and in 1923-1930, being the soloist of this theater, he was admitted as irregular student to the St. Petersburg University and had been studying for three years at two faculties (natural sciences and historical-philological). Kastorsky constantly improved his stage and vocal skills; worked on elocution, phrasing and expressive bodily movement plastics (he coached the role of Earl Tomsky in “The Queen of Spades” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky choreographer Nikolai Legat), and vocal technique progression (under Iochim Tartakov, Mattia Battistini and Angelo Mazini). In 1907-1909, he participated in the "Russian Seasons" by Sergei Diaghilev in Paris and London.

Vladimir Kastorsky had sonorous, flexible and equable voice of a soft "velvet" timbre and a wide range, dramatic talent. His performance was distinguished by high musical culture, expressiveness and refinement. He paid great attention to theatrical makeup and costumes. The singer's repertoire amounted 35 roles. Kastorsky was the outstanding chamber singer as well. His repertoire included works by Mikhail Glinka, Alexander Dargomyzhsky, Alexander Borodin, Modest Mussorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann. In December 1905, he organized a series of concerts "for the benefit of the injured workers’ families"; often returned to his native village and performed gratuitous concerts. In 1907 he organized a vocal quartet, in which he performed in Russia and abroad (Paris, London), promoting Russian folk songs. In 1918-1923, he was a soloist at the Bolshoi Theater. During the Great Patriotic War, being in evacuation in the Ivanovo region, he often sang for warrior and in hospitals. He donated all his savings to the National Defense Fund. After retiring from the opera stage he performed in concerts and had being singing on the radio for more than ten years.

Vladimir Kastorsky was married for the second time with the daughter of the Court Counsellor - Nadezhda Vasilievna Frederics on February 9, 1911 in the Annunciation Church of the Ministry of the Interior in St. Petersburg. Their acquaintance highly likely took place at the Mariinsky Theater, where from 1906 she sang in the choir. Later Nadezhda Vasilievna often accompanied her husband in his tours, singing in the concerts, but, according to contemporaries, she did not achieve much success. Kastorsky continued his educational work at the Leningrad State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater, the Leningrad Art Studio and the Leningrad Conservatory (professor). His voice was recorded on gramophone records (over 150 pieces, sometimes under the pseudonym Torsky) in St. Petersburg (“Gramophone” - 1901, 1906-1909; “Pathé” - 1904, 1909, 1911; “Zonophone” - 1906/07; “Muztrest” - 1909), in Moscow (“Gramplasttrest” - 1935), in Leningrad (“Gramplasttrest” - 1937; “Lenmuztrest” - 1939), in Berlin (1924).
When he was 77 years old, he recorded a number of works by Russian composers for the Leningrad radio on magnetic tape.
Kastorsky starred as Governor in the feature film "Nightingale" (film studio "Soviet Belarus" 1937).

In 1992, company “Pearl” included the singer's archival recording in the series “Singers of the Imperial Russia” (Vol. 2). 3CD: 9001-3, ADD, m, 1901.

Vladimir Kastorsky died on July 2, 1948 in Leningrad. He was buried in Volkovskoe Lutheran cemetery.

Stark E.A. Petersburg opera and its masters, 1890-1910. - L.; M., 1940. - S. 128-131.
Levik S.Yu. Notes of the opera singer. 2nd ed., Rev. and add. M., 1962.
Kastorsky Vladimir Ivanovich // Vocal-encyclopedic dictionary: Bio-bibliography: in 5 volumes / M.S. Agin. - M., 1991-1994. - T. 3.
Kastorsky Vladimir Ivanovich // Domestic singers. 1750-1917: Dictionary / AM Pruzhansky - Ed. 2nd rev. and add. - M., 2008.