Born: August 13, 1893
Died: March 30, 1971
Period: 20th Century
Maxim Dormidontovich Mikhailov was one of the great a Russian basso profundos. He was born in Koltsovka, Kazan, and initially trained as an Archdeacon in the Russian Orthodox Church. However his reputation grew due to a voice of incredible depth and volume. It wasn't long before the Soviet authorities enlisted him, shaved his beard and enrolled him in vocal training for opera within the Bolshoi Theatre. He eventually became the most famousRead more interpreter of the role of Ivan Susanin in the Soviet version of Glinka's opera of the same name, which has since been restored to its original title and plot, A Life for the Tsar. Mikhailov sang the role of Susanin nearly 400 times from his first performance in 1939 to his last stage appearance in 1957. His voice and the role of Ivan Susanin became a favorite of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin who frequently invited Mikhailov to sing and drink with him late at night in the Kremlin.
In addition to Susanin, Mikhailov was known for other bass and basso profundo roles in Russian opera, including Pimen in Boris Godunov, Khan Konchak in Prince Igor, the Viking in Sadko, Gremin in Eugene Onegin and the miller in Dargomyzhsky's Rusalka. Mikhailov also recorded arias from these operas for Melodiya as well as Russian folk songs. He sang on record and in live concerts under the direction of noted Russian conductors including Nikolai Golovanov, Alexander Melik-Pashaev, Alexander Orlov, and Samuil Samosud. Among his recordings of songs and folk songs, he sang with pianists Nikolai Korolykov and Naum Walter in "O gentle autumn night" by Glinka, as well as rarely heard songs by less well known composers, such as Dargomyzhsky's "The Civil Servant", Viktor Kalinnikov's "On the Old Burial Mound", "The Blacksmith" by Yuri Sakhnovsky and "Seafarers" by Konstantin Vilboa. Mikhailov also performed and recorded folk songs well known outside of Russia, such as "Song of the Volga Boatmen", in Rachmaninov's arrangement and "The Sun Rises and the Sun Sets" and "Through the Wild Mysterious Taiga" with Russian Folk Orchestras. Mazim Mikhailov's appearance as the singing monk in the coronation scene from Sergei Eisenstein's film, "Ivan the Terrible, Part 1" is one of the great, electrifying moments in Russian cinema. Read less
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