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Published on Aug 8, 2010
The great Russian soprano Antonina Nezhdanova (1873-1950) in the waltz song "Parla!" by Luigi Arditi. The recording was made for Gramophone Co. in 1912.
The following biographical notes on Nezhdanova comes from Andrea's subito-cantabile: A Site for Collectors of Great Singers of the Past (www.cantabile-subito.de): "Antonina Nezhdanova's parents were school teachers. Her father had a nice tenor voice and her mother was a fine soprano. Her musical talent developed at quite an early age. Her father formed an amateur choir with which she made her first solo debut at the age of seven! She progressed rapidly in the arts of singing, acting and dancing. After studies in Odessa, she graduated from Umberto Masetti's famous class at the Moscow conservatory in 1902 (among other students: Nadezhda Obukhova and Nina Koshetz). She was immediately engaged at the Bolshoi, where she remained for nearly 40 years, singing leading roles in Russian and west European operas, most frequently opposite star tenor Leonid Sobinov. In 1912 she was Gilda at the Monte Carlo Opéra, with Tita Ruffo as Rigoletto and Enrico Caruso as the Duke. Some outstanding roles of her huge repertory: Ludmilla in Glinka's Ruslan and Ludmilla, Tatyana, Lakmé, the Snow Maiden, Volkhova, Elsa (!) and Rosina, Marfa and Antonida. Nezhdanova entered into the communist era with apparent enthusiasm. In 1922 it was felt that selected Russian artists should visit places abroad to convince the West that Russia had not descend into utter barbarism. Nezhdanova was ambassadress in this, appearing in Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, the Baltic capitals and other cities in Germany and Poland. In the USSR she was among the most honoured singers and teachers, continuing throughout Worldwar II. She received several of the country's highest awards. From 1936 she taught at the Stanislavsky Opera Studio, later at the Bolshoi Opera Studio, and finally at the Moscow Conservatory from 1943 until 1950."