Leonid Sobinov and Dmitri Smirnoff are considered the two "classic singers" among Russian tenors. They possessed interesting voices of great individuality, high vocal culture and a wide range of expressiveness. Whether one of them was of greater distinction than the other cannot be determined today. It is clear in any case that Smirnov enjoyed a greater international career than his colleague, who was a decade older. He was the first Russian tenor to be hired by the Metropolitan Opera in New York and this when the institution was at the peak of its glory. He was born in Moscow, but first studied law. Soon his musical talent took over. His career began at the Bolshoi in a production of Ruslan and Lyudmilla conducted by Sergei RachmaninoffRead more who was also making his Bolshoi debut on the same evening. Read less
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