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 Mark  Reizen

Born:   3 July [O.S. 21 June] 1895
Deceased:   25 November, 1992

Well-known Russian opera singer (bass)


In 1985 the 90th anniversary since the singer’s birth was celebrated. The Bolshoi Theater decided to stage Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin, in which Reizen starred as Gremin in due time. Beautiful and heartfelt singing of Mark Reizen was combined with nobility and dignity. In a word, he was a true prince. So, the theater management asked the retired singer, whether he would be able to sit all opera long in the theatre box. In reply the 90 year-old Mark Reizen said he wanted to perform the role of Gremin again. And he did it! This event was included in the Guinness Book of Records.

Mark Osipovich Reizen was born on June 21 (July 3), 1895 into a Jewish family in Zaitsevo Village of the Bakhmutsky District of the Yekaterinoslav Province (nowadays a part of Gorlovka in the Donetsk Region of Ukraine). His father Osip Matveyevich worked as a coal loader at the nearby railroad station Nikitovka.

During World War One Mark Reizen was enlisted in the Finnish shooting regiment (Russian army) and was awarded the 4th degree Order of Saint George the Trophy Bearer for courage in battles. During the war Reizen met Cornet Yemelyanov, with whom they founded a folk music instruments orchestra, with the repertoire including Russian and Ukrainian folk songs, romance songs, and soldiers’ songs. After Reizen was wounded and underwent treatment in a hospital he entered the Kharkov Technological Institute, but the love of music won him over.

In summer 1928 he got an invitation to give concerts in Europe and North America, but refused, though he was already an experienced singer: he had sung in the Kharkov Opera, and since 1925 – in the Leningrad Opera and Ballet House. In 1930 Reizen became the soloist of the Bolshoi Theater, where he then performed for more than 30 years altogether.

Throughout all the years of the Great Patriotic War Mark Reizen gave concerts for soldiers at the frontline.

From 1954 he taught at the Gnesin Musical Teachers’ Training Institute. In 1965 — 1970 he headed the solo singing chair in the Moscow Conservatoire.

Mark Reizen died on November 25, 1992. He was laid down to rest at Vvedensky Cemetery in Moscow.

Tags: Mark Reizen Russian Opera Singers Opera Music Russian Music  

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