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 Anastasia Vyaltseva

Born:   1871
Deceased:   5 (18) February 1913

a famous Russian variety singer (mezzo soprano), performer of gypsy songs and operetta.


Anastasia Dmitrievna Vyaltseva (Biskupskaya after her husband) was born in 1871 in Altukhovo Village near the town of Trubchevsk, the Orlov Province.

After moving to Saint Petersburg Anastasia Vyaltseva started to take singing classes from Chairman of the Petersburg Vocal Society S.M. Sonki. She started her stage career in Kiev as an extra in the ballet company of S.S. Lenchevski (1887). In 1893 she performed in the opera company of the Moscow theatre Aquarium and then in the company of S.M. Palm – first in Moscow, and then in Saint Petersburg. The year 1897 saw the first solo concert of Anastasia Vyaltseva in the Moscow theatre The Hermitage - it made a sensational success in the variety circles.

“For three years I did not take the stage, constantly working on development of my voice to undergo serious learning for the future performing activity. Then Mr. Shchukin, the famous Moscow entrepreneur, saw me and invited to the main roles in the Hermitage Theatre in Moscow, and then I became the «Vyaltseva» - the singer herself recalled.

After Anastasia Vyaltseva’s first concert furor theatres in eager rivalry offered her the most beneficial contracts. Her very first tour around cities of Russia spilled over into true triumph of the new star.

“The famous “Vyaltseva’s smile” won everyone and everything. The audience made her sing encores ten to twenty times at every concert” – an eyewitness accounted. In spite of the extensive touring in provinces and tireless concert activity in the capitals, she went on performing in operetta plays. Occasionally she also took part in operas, including those in the Mariinsky Theater. The contemporaries noted special beauty of Vyaltseva’s voice, sincerity of her singing and original observation of the phrasing.

In the early 20th century Vyaltseva enjoyed enormous popularity; she was called “Seagull of Russian variety art” and ‘Russian Cinderella”, who turned from a simple housemaid into one of the richest and most famous women in Russia. Concerts of the “peerless” singer were always a great success and her gramophone records were extremely long-run.

Anastasia Vyaltseva lived in Saint Petersburg, at 84, Moika Embankment (the house now has a memorial plate) and owned several houses on the embankment of Karpovka River – later she devised them to the city.

In the beginning of 1913 news spread around Petersburg that Vyaltseva had blood cancer. Reports of her health conditions were displayed on newspaper booths. Her husband, Officer Vasili Biskupski, in spite of the severe injury he had suffered in the Russian-Japanese war became her blood donor, but nothing saved her.

Anastasia Vyaltseva died at the age of 42 on 5 (18) February 1913. The grave of the outstanding singer is located at Nikolskoe Cemetery of the Alexander Nevski Monastery, St. Petersburg.

At the end of the 20th century the personality and fate of Anastasia Vyaltseva became the prototype of the main character of the novel The Green Watersides (Zelyonye Berega) by Gennady Alekseyev, a wonderful poet and master of Russian vers libre.

Tags: Russian music Russian singers    

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