Five facts about Sergei Lemeshev’s life
The 110th anniversary of the birth of the great tenor Sergei Lemeshev!
He was the firs soloist who would reach the balance between the career of a genuine folk singer and the one of an academic professional, famed tenor whose talent is believed being unsurpassed up till nowadays. His voice is certainly among the top voices of the XX century. So, five facts about Sergei Lemeshev’s life story follow in brief.
1. As a really peasant’s son Sergei since his early childhood was a helping hand to his mother, thrashing grain, guarding horses on a nightly graze, fishing, picking up mushrooms and more. In his memories he mentioned his love for the surrounding wildlife: ‘I enjoyed coming into the forest alone. Only there being surrounded by quiet and friendly birch trees I was brave enough to sing. Folk were an excitement for my soul but for a child to sing in front of the adults was not that customary. Mostly sad songs were my choice. I would be swept away by their touching words telling about human loneliness and unshared love. Even though not everything in them was clear to my understanding bitter feeling would come over me prompted perhaps by the expressive beauty in the sad tunes.’
2. Sergei Lemeshev was believed to be ‘doomed for love’ and his female fans were called ‘lemeshists’. He would just charm the crowds with a caressing timbre in his voice with brand softened ‘tch’ and “tsch’ with nearly womanlike ups and a soft intonation. Lemeshev would give his generation the illusion of goodness so scarce in real life and sparkling excitement.
3. Lemeshev would treat his voice tenderly and with respect as a musical instrument. Many years in a row on the day of his performance Sergey Yakovlevich would follow one and the same routine: from early morning he would abstain from talking due to caring for his vocal cords and just a few hours prior to his performance he would put a glass of sour milk and a cup of coffee on the piano warming himself up and sipping the drinks. When leaving the Conservatory he was had a rather ‘small’ (weak) voice but through his steady musical sessions and exercising he developed it into a ‘very big’ one.
4. All in all more than 30 various scenic pieces have been performed by Lemeshev on the stage. But his key performance was the aria of Lensky, the first of the opera parts sung by the young singer. ‘Lensky has totally filled my life’ he would say later on. Of my over thirty roles performed on the stage this one is the dearest and beloved, the greatest joy of my creative activity.’
5.The talent and his fans is just the story about Lemeshev. His talent covered the directorship too, so, he staged the Massne’s opera Werter at the Bolshoi Theatre. Teaching was also of great importance in his career: in 1951-1961 he was the art director of the Opera studio at the Conservatory and in 1969 he stood at the helm of the solo singing chair at Moscow Conservatory. Besides, he starred in the film “The Musical Story” narrating practically about his own life: a young lad presents his songs to so ardently loving him public, at first from an amateur stage then at the Bolshoi theatre.