Yelena Vasiliyevna Obraztsova
7 July 1939
|Died||12 January 2015 (aged 75)|
|Occupation||Opera singer (mezzo-soprano)|
|Awards||Hero of Socialist Labor|
Elena Vasiliyevna Obraztsova (Russian: Елена Васильевна Образцова; 7 July 1939 – 12 January 2015) was a Soviet and Russian mezzo-soprano. She was awarded the People's Artist of the USSR in 1976 and Hero of Socialist Labour in 1990.
As a child, Obraztsova lived in Leningrad through the severe long siege (more than 870 days) during World War II. In 1948, at the age of nine, she began singing in the children's chorus of the Pioneers Palace in Leningrad.
From 1954 to 1957, she studied in the Tchaikovsky musical college in Taganrog and frequently participated in concerts onstage of Taganrog Theatre. From 1957 to 1958, Obraztsova studied in Rostov on Don's music school. In August 1958, Obraztsova passed the examinations and became a student at the Leningrad Conservatory. In 1963 she was invited to perform in a Bolshoi Theater production of Boris Godunov in Moscow. Her introduction to the opera houses of Europe and the world was a recital in the Salle Pleyel in Paris.
She played many roles throughout her career, including performances under the baton of such leading conductors as Claudio Abbado and Herbert von Karajan. In December 1977 she opened the 200th opera season in La Scala singing Don Carlos's Eboli with Abbado as conductor. She first performed in New York in 1976, in Aida, and was called a "major artist" in reviews.
In 1978, she played the title role of Carmen opposite Plácido Domingo in Franco Zeffirelli's television production of the opera. She also appeared as Santuzza in Zeffirelli's film version of Cavalleria rusticana in 1982. In her career she performed in operas with many other well-known opera singers of her generation: Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Ingvar Wixell, and appeared in Don Carlos with Domingo and Margaret Price.
On 27 December 1990, she was awarded the title of the Hero of Socialist Labor (mark of distinction - "Hammer and Sickle" gold medal ), Order of Lenin by the President of USSR for her contribution to the development of Soviet Music.
In June 2007, Obraztsova was appointed artistic director of opera at the Mikhaylovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. She also trained young soloists in her own cultural center in St. Petersburg. Obraztsova regularly appeared on stage at the Mikhailovsky in the role of the Countess in Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades. In 2008, Obraztsova ended her artistic director contract with the Mikhailovsky to concentrate on the competition of her name and the recently announced project of International Academy of Music in St Petersburg. Obraztsova remained in collaboration with the Mikhailovsky at the General Director's Artistic Advisor.
On 7 July 2009, Obraztsova's 70th birthday was marked with a special program at the Mikhailovsky Theater that included ballet performances, opera arias, excerpts from films, and jazz and piano recitals.
She strongly supported the Soviet Union, and signed a letter in 1974 denouncing Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishnevskaya for their support for Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
Obraztsova expressed her support for the International Delphic Games. Greetings with her signature came to the III Delphic Games 2009 in Jeju/South Korea, under the motto "In Tune with Nature", and to the IV Junior Delphic Games 2011 in Johannesburg/South Africa with their motto "Provoke, Innovate, Inspire".
She was married twice, first to Vyacheslav Makarov, a physicist, and later Algis Ziuraitis, who was a conductor at the Bolshoi. She had a daughter, Elena, with Makarov.
Obraztsova died on 12 January 2015 in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany, while undergoing medical treatment. She was 75 years old.
|Countess||Tchaikovsky||The Queen of Spades|
|Dalila||Saint-Saëns||Samson et Dalila|
|Giovanna Seymour||Donizetti||Anna Bolena|
|Governess||Tchaikovsky||The Queen of Spades|
|Hélène Bezukhova||Prokofiev||War and Peace|
|Judith||Béla Bartók||Bluebeard's Castle|
|Léonor de Guzman (Leonora di Gusmann)||Donizetti||La favorite|
|Lyubasha||Rimsky-Korsakov||The Tsar's Bride|
|Maria Akhrosimova||Prokofiev||War and Peace|
|Marina Mniszech||Mussorgsky||Boris Godunov|
|Marya Bolkonskaya||Prokofiev||War and Peace|
|Oberon||Britten||A Midsummer Night's Dream|
|Orfeo||Gluck||Orfeo ed Euridice|
|Santuzza1||Mascagni||Cavalleria rusticana 1|
|The Marquise of Birkenfeld||Donizetti||The Daughter of the Regiment|
|The Princess||Puccini||Suor Angelica|
|Polina; Milovzor (Daphnis)||Tchaikovsky||The Queen of Spades|
|Princess de Bouillon||Cilea||Adriana Lecouvreur|
|Prince Orlofsky||J. Strauss II||Die Fledermaus|
|Ulrica||Verdi||Un ballo in maschera|
|Zhenya Komelkova||Molchanov||The Dawns Here Are Quiet|