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 Elena Obraztsova

Born:   7 July 1939
Deceased:   12 January 2015

World famous opera singer (mezzo soprano)


Elena Vasiliyevna Obraztsova was born in Leningrad on July 7, 1939. Her childhood fell on war time. Her father was off at the front from the very first day of the war. The little girl found herself in blockaded Leningrad. Elena with her grandmother and mother was evacuated to the town of Ustyuzhna in Vologda Region in 1943 and stayed there till summer 1945. It was hard time for the family during and right after the war. Elena’s father returned a year later.

Elena started singing at the age of 5. She performed in children's choir of the Zhdanov Palace of Pioneers in Leningrad from 1948 to 1954.

The family moved to Taganrog in 1954 and to Rostov-on-Don in 1957. Lena studied vocal at Tchaikovsky Music School in Taganrog. During a reporting concert Elena was noticed by the director of Rostov music college. Upon her recommendation Elena was admitted to the second year of studies in the college in 1957 and entered the preparatory department of Leningrad Conservatory in 1958 and upon finishing it was admitted to the vocal faculty.

Elena Obraztsova won her first prize at the All-Union Glinka Vocal Contest in 1962. She debuted with the role of Marina Mnishek in Boris Godunov opera in 1963, when she was a student yet.

Elena Obraztsova graduated from the Leningrad Conservatory in 1964 and became the soloist of the Bolshoi Theater the same year. That year was also marked with her performance as the governess in the Queen of Spades opera on stage of La Scala. Later she played leading parts on stage of La Scala.

In 1975 the singer went on a tour to America with the Bolshoi Theater. With her role of Marina Mnishek in the opera Boris Godunov she approved herself as the world opera star. Several months later she performed in Troubadour opera in San Francisco. As an invited soloist of The Metropolitan Opera the great mezzo soprano excited general admiration with playing the part of Amneris in Aida by Giuseppe Verdi’s. Elena Obraztsova was acknowledged the best world performer of Carmen in Spain in 1975. She sang at numerous festivals, for example the Salzburg Festival of 1978, and others.

The singer taught at the Moscow State Conservatory from 1973 to 1994 and became a full professor in 1984. Elena Obraztsova staged the opera Werther by Jules Massenet and sang the leading part in it. The opera diva also starred in the musical films The Merry Widow, Melancholy, and My Carmen.

Elena Obraztsova made her debut as a drama actress on stage of Roman Viktyuk Theater in 2000. She performed a jazz program in 2003 and 2004. The diva headed the opera company of the Mikhaylovsky Theater in 2007 and 2008.
Elena Obraztsova, aged 75, died in Germany on January 12, 2015.

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