“Nortsov was a man of the highest spirituality ... He left us gold standard for performing the baritone repertoire, a reference in attitude and devoting oneself to the service of singing art. We thank our lucky stars that he was our contemporary”.
By a weird coincidence, Nortsov was destined to be born and die in the same year with another prominent singer - Ivan Kozlovsky. It is assumed that the significance of Panteleimon Nortsov creative contribution in the baritone repertoire is comparable to the significance of Ivan Kozlovsky in the tenor repertoire.
Panteleimon was born in 1900 in the village of Paskovshchina, Poltava province, in unwealthy peasant family. When the boy was nine years old, he left for Kiev, where he was admitted to the choir of Kaliszewski. Thus, he began to earn his living and help the family that lived in the village. In 1917, he graduated from the Fifth Kiev evening-time gymnasium. Then the young man returned to his native village, where he was a precentor in amateur choirs. It is curious that in his youth Nortsov believed that he was a tenorist, and only after the first private lessons with the professor of the Kiev Conservatory Tsvetkov, he realized that he should sing baritone parts.
In 1925, he graduated from the Kiev Conservatory named after Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Shortly after that he was invited to the troupe of the Kiev Opera House, where he sang the parts of Valentine in “Faust” by Charles Gounod, Sharpless in “Madama Butterfly” by Giacomo Puccini, Frederic in “Lakme“ by Léo Delibes. The 1925th was a landmark for the creative career of Panteleimon Markovich – he met Konstantin Stanislavski that arrived in Kiev with his theater. The Conservatory management showed to Stanislavski several undergrad students that sang different parts from the operas. Panteleimon Nortsov was among them. Young artist sang the part of Eugene Onegin for the first time in the performance in Kiev with Leonid Sobinov as his partner, singing the part Vladimir Lensky. Nortsov was nervous, but the great Russian singer regarded him wholeheartedly and friendly. Konstantin Stanislavski set sights on him, invited him to Moscow and take to the stage. In Moscow, Panteleimon Nortsov made the cut of voices for the Bolshoi Theater, began studying in the theater opera school.
During his first season at the Bolshoi Theater, Nortsov sang only one small part the opera "Sadko" by in Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov. In 1926-1927th season. P. Nortsov was a soloist in the Kharkov and Kiev Opera Theaters. He sang Valentine in “Faust” by Charles Gounod, Sharpless in “Madama Butterfly” by Giacomo Puccini, Frédéric in “Lakme” by Léo Delibes. Since the 1927/28th season, Panteleimon Markovich had been singing in the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow until 1954. There he sang 35 operatic parts, including Onegin (600 times) in “Eugene Onegin”, Mazepa in “Mazepa”, Prince Yeletsky in “The Queen of Spades“, Mizgir in “Snow Maiden”, The Venetian guest in "Sadko", Mercutio in “Romeo and Juliet”, Frederic in “Lakme “, Escamillo in “Carmen”, Figaro in “The Barber of Seville”. Nortsov knew how to create true to life, full of emotions images. The stage impersonations of Nortsov stemmed from the happy combination of captivating, freely and naturally sounding voice with sfumato and groove performing. P. Nortsov is widely known as the prominent chamber singer as well, a perceptive and careful interpreter of the Russian and Western European classics. His repertoire included songs and romances by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Alexander Borodin, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert, Ferencz List and others.
In 1951 - 1962 Nortsov lectured at Gnessin State Musical College, since 1962 - at the Moscow Conservatory.
Panteleimon Nortsov died on December 15, 1993 in Moscow. Buried in Moscow at the Vagankovo Cemetery.
The Bolshoi Theater "Panteleimon Markovich Nortsov"; Moscow, 1953, State publishing house "Art";
The life and work of Panteleimon Nortsov, bol-theatre.su;