Litvinenko-Wolgemuth Maria

Maria Litvinenko was born on February 13, 1892 in Kiev. Ukrainian and Soviet singer (lyric-dramatic soprano), teacher. Honored Artist of the Ukrainian SSR (1926)


Maria Litvinenko was born into the family of a worker at the Arsenal plant. She sang in the church choir from the age of seven, there she mastered solfeggio and the basics of singing art. From the age of fourteen, she was performing in stage performances of amateur musical and drama circle. In 1912, she graduated from the singing class under Nickolay Tutkovsky in Kiev Musical College, was a soloist of the First Ukrainian Music and Drama Theatre. In 1917, she organized the State Ukrainian Musical Drama Theater together with the stage manager Les Kurbas and artist Anatol Petrytsky, with very short-lived existence. The same year, she began active collaboration with Leonid Sobinov in the concerts of the propaganda-team that performed for the Red Army soldiers during the Civil war. In peacetime, she performed at plants and factories, in recreation centers. She made a huge contribution to the Ukrainian opera popularization. Since 1919, she performed in Vinnitsa, being a part of the troupe that she organized -- “The First Labour Cooperative of the Ukrainian Performing Artists”. Maria was a soloist of the Kharkov Russian Opera from 1923 to 1925, the soloist of the Kharkov Ukrainian State Opera and Ballet Theatre from 1925 to1935 (she was among the founders of this theatre). Since 1935, she was a soloist of the Kiev Opera and Ballet Theater for eighteen years.

Maria Ivanovna had an opulent voice, smooth in all registers, with soft timbre and wide range (two and a half octaves). She had well-developed vocal technique, which made it possible to create vivid characters, marked by national identity. The Ukrainian operas Varvara (“Bogdan Khmelnitsky” by Konstantin Dankevich), Nastya and Terpelikha (“Taras Bulba” and “Natalka-Poltavka” by Mykola Lysenko), Odarka (“Zaporozhets beyond the Danube” by Semen Hulak-Artemovsky). She sang the mezzo-soprano parts in the classical repertoire. Maria Litvinenko-Wolgemuth was considered one of the best performers of roles in the operas by Richard Wagner; she was the first in the USSR to sing the part of Turandot in the opera of the same name by Giacomo Puccini. In total, Maria Ivanovna performed more than 70 opera parts. She also performed as a chamber singer.

During the Great Patriotic War, she went to the Southwestern Front, where she sang for the frontline troops and in front of the wounded in action in hospitals. She toured (together with Ivan Patorzhinsky) in many Ukrainian cities, the Urals, Siberia, the Caucasus, and the Crimea. She performed abroad -- in Frankfurt am Main, Berlin and Munich.

The Dovzhenko film studio in Kiev screened the opera "Zaporozhets beyond the Danube" with Maria Litvinenko-Wolgemuth singing one of the parts. In 1936, Maria Litvinenko sang the part of Natalka in the film adaptation of the opera “Natalka Poltavka” by Mykola Lysenko. The artist Alexii Shovkunenko painted the singer’s portreit (1947); the sculptor Ivan Kavaleridze depicted the singer as Odarka (1957).

In 1977, bronze memorial plaque was mounted on the house where the singer lived in Kiev. From 1944 to 1964, Maria Ivanovna taught at the Kiev Conservatory (since 1946 as the professor). She was the author of many articles about music, memoirs about her own life and the life of her contemporaries. Her husband -- G. Wolgemuth, was the director and founder of the Wandering Opera and Ballet Theater.
Maria Litvinenko passed away on April 3, 1966 in Kiev. She rests in the Baikove Cemetery.