In honor of Arctic Blast 2008 in the Pacific Northwest, I’m highlighting the great Russian tenor Sergei Lemeshev (1902-1977), here singing the Tsar’s Cavatina from Act Two of Snegurochka (The Snow Maiden) by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov. There’s no date attached to this excerpt, but I believe that it was taken from a 1946 Bolshoi recording of the opera conducted by Kiril Kondrashin.

Snegurochka – Tsar’s Cavatina

Lemeshev first appeared at the Bolshoi in 1931, and he sang there on a regular basis until 1965. He was, along with Ivan Koslovksy, one of the premiere Russian tenors of the pre- and post-war era.

This aria is a study in breath control and legato, and Lemeshev is more than up to these challenges. Listen to the way he approaches the high A in the following phrase, and then notice how he pulls back ever so slightly on the final three note cadential figure without losing focus (about 1:30 into the recording):

Update: Thanks to reader Natalie for providing the correct date for that recording. It was 1948, not 1946 as I had originally speculated.



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2 responses to “Snegurochka

  1. natalie

    I just wanted to say that this version of Tsar’s cavatina was recorded in 1948. My favorite version of the cavatina by Lemeshev was recorded in 1940, before he contracted tuberculosis. It can be found on Youtube:

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