Le monastère de Torjok, région de Tver. Photo Philippe Comte, été 2004. Irkoutsk - Photo : Elena Jourdan La place centrale de Torjok, région de Tver. Photo Philippe Comte, été 2004. Lors du concours de lutte traditionnelle "hourej", dans la République de Touva - Photo : Elena Jourdan Une église dans la région de Tver. Photo Philippe Comte, été 2004. Isba - Krasnoïarsk - Photo : Elena Jourdan Lac Baïkal : lieu chamanique sur l'île d'Olkhon - Photo : Elena Jourdan Un lac dans les Sayans - Photo : Elena Jourdan La Moscova à Moscou, monument à Pierre le Grand de Tsérétéli. Photo Philippe Comte, été 2004. Lac Baïkal - île d'Olkhon - Photo : Elena Jourdan Paysage typique - Sibérie- Photo : Elena Jourdan
Le lac Seliguer, région de Tver. Photo Philippe Comte, été 2004. Krasnoïarsk - Parc naturel "Stolby" - Photo : Elena Jourdan Entre Moscou et l'Oural, vue du train. Photo Philippe Comte, été 2004. Isba restaurée - Irkoutsk - Photo : Elena Jourdan La Moscova et la cathédrale du Christ Sauveur à Moscou, depuis le parc Gorki. Photo Philippe Comte, été 2004. Paysage de Khakassie - Photo : Elena Jourdan "Entrée dans Jérusalem" (fresque) - Exposition au monastère Novodevitchi, Moscou - Photo : Elena Jourdan La source de la Volga, région de Tver. Photo Philippe Comte, été 2004. Isba - Irkoutsk - Photo : Elena Jourdan Un village dans la région de Tver. Photo Philippe Comte, été 2004. Isba - village de Koultouk - lac Baïkal - Photo : Elena Jourdan

Accueil > Activités et publications de l’AFR > La Revue Russe > Résumés en anglais des articles > La Revue russe 62 - Abstracts

La Revue russe 62 - Abstracts

lundi 24 juin 2024, par Sylvette Soulié

Fyodor Chaliapin in Georgia
The article is devoted to the formative years of the outstanding Russian singer Fyodor Ivanovich Shalyapin in Georgia, as well as his tours to this country after he became a soloist with the imperial theatres and was recognised as a world star. It presents little-known biographical information related to his studies in the class of the famous singer Dmitry Usatov and the young artistʹs first performances on the stage of the Tiflis Musical Circle and the State Opera House. The article provides a list of documents taken from the Shalyapin archives kept at the Art Palace Museum in Tbilisi.


Chaliapin and the Russian Vocal Art Traditions
In the West, Fyodor Chaliapin is one of the symbols of the Russian vocal school. He is primarily credited with an exceptional capacity to prepare his roles and reveal the dramatic essence of the characters. But what is known about his vocal art ? What is its place in the history of Russian vocal traditions and practices ? Largely self-taught, his vocal career began in the church, within the framework of the Orthodox liturgical tradition. His only teacher, Dmitri Ussatov, was a follower of the Italian method of Francesco Lamperti. When he began singing in the theatre’s of St. Petersburg and Moscow, Chaliapin was surrounded by a plethora of brilliant singers. To what extent did his technique align with Russian vocal practices of the time ? To answer these questions, we must situate Chaliapin’s vocal style in relation to other contemporary Russian singers—or those who preceded him—as well as the more distant traditions of Russian vocal art.

Jean-Christophe BRANGER
Massenet, Chaliapine and Don Quichotte : Chronicle of a Foretold Disenchantment
On February 19, 1910, Chaliapine scored a memorable success in Monte-Carlo in the title role of Don Quichotte, Jules Massenet’s "comédie héroïque" composed specifically for him. The Russian bass soon disappeared from the composer’s entourage, however, preferring the basse chantante Jean VanniMarcoux for the Paris premiere of the work a few months later. By dedicating his "comédie héroïque" to Lucien Fugère, who also played the role of Sancho for the first time on this occasion, Massenet also implicitly expressed his disagreement with the Russian bass, who, for his part, left rather reserved comments on the work. Nevertheless, Chaliapine performed Don Quichotte regularly, acting as its ambassador and ensuring its premiere in theaters all over the world. He even sang the role at the Opéra-Comique in 1931, in the twilight of his career. Drawing on a variety of sources, some of which are little-known, this article examines and even nuances this disenchantment, which ultimately provides a better understanding of the respective but sometimes incompatible qualities of two major artists of their time, as the qualities of the singer may conflict with those of the actor : Chaliapine took liberties with the composer’s music, as stage composition took precedence over respect for the score.

Laetitia LE GUAY
Chaliapin and Russian Opera at the Gates of Modernity
Curiously, despite his immense talent and the admiration he aroused among his contemporaries, from the elders Rimsky-Korsakov and César Cui to the youngers Rachmaninov, Stravinsky and Prokofiev, Chaliapin did not inspire any Russian opera that would last. A fact all the more paradoxical, given that Chaliapin saw himself as the singer-actor who would revolutionize the operatic stage, which he considered as mired in academic routine. This is the enigma that is explored here, through a study of Russian opera at the turn of the century that brings to light a series of mostly forgotten operatic works : Valentina Serova’s Ilia Muromets, César Cui’s Le Sarrazin and Le Festin pendant la peste, Alexander Gretchaninov’s Dobrynia Nikitich, Sergei Rachmaninov’s Francesca da Rimini and Le Chevalier avare. As his correspondence with Maxim Gorky shows, Shalyapin also wanted to commission operas, but nothing came of it. Prokofiev, who admired him, brought Russian opera into the modern age without him. For various reasons, the singers who had not joined the Russian avantgarde before the Revolution was not invited back afterwards. Neither in Russia, nor in his exile in Paris.

Marie-Christine AUTANT-MATHIEU
Fyodor Shalyapin’s singing characters
After recalling Shalyapin’s beginnings as an amateur actor, I will examine the Mamontov-Shalyapin-Stanislavski lineage, showing that the singer finds spectacular forms for his emotions and alternates between stylisation and naturalness. I will then reconsider the singer’s statement in his biography that he regretted having created neither a school nor a theatre. As Soviet sources from the late 1960s testify, Chaliapin played a major role after the revolution in the reorganisation of artistic affairs, and a Chaliapin Studio did exist in Moscow, in which his wife and two daughters were involved. We are interested in Chaliapin’s silences as much as his assertions because they highlight his extraordinary personality, which created and imposed his image as a star, fascinating to the point of provoking imitations, irritating because of his demands and whims. Although Shalyapin did not found an "art music drama" that would have been the counterpart of the "art theatres", placing the collective work ethic, pedagogy and the transmission of knowledge on the same level as the quest for aesthetic innovation, he did leave, in the memories of his contemporaries, but also through his discography,

Chaliapin’s Painted Face : Makeup and Visual Perceptions
Chaliapin’s career, as a singer and actor, shows the interactions between the theatre and the Russian painters, with whom he was very close from Mamontov’s Private Opera onwards. He used paintings as patterns for his makeup and the painters, through their portraits or sketches, invented models for him. His various Mephistopheles, his Russian sovereigns and historical roles form a gallery of portraits that can be seen in paintings, photographs and illustrations. Although the makeup has disappeared, the images and texts help us to understand the composition and styles of Chaliapin’s facial creations, through their transformations, and his conception of physiognomic play in relation to music, dramatic expression and stage images. For the actor, making a plastic face means following an inner image. The figurative moment of face painting is also revealed in the very making of it, in the relationship with the hairdresser or makeup artist, as the craftsman who cocreates the actor’s head.

Chaliapin on Screen : Failure or Quest for a New Expressiveness ?
In the turn of the century Russia, film was perceived in contrast to the European reaction to the new phenomenon not as living nature, but as a necropolis, as a realm of lifeless, dumb, not animated by voice shadows. In this context it seemed surprising the constant attention of Russian press to the famous singer Feodor Chaliapin, whose image should be captured by silent film. Even more astonishing is Chaliapin’s interest in the movies. This is not so surprising in an international context. Enrico Caruso also starred in silent movies and performed in one of them his famous operatic role in Pagliacci. The Japanese tenor Fujiwara Yoshie appeared on the silent screen in Hometown (Furusato, 1930). Chaliapin made also this experience and performed his famous ‘singing’ Tsar Ivan the Terrible in a silent melodrama based on The Maid from Pskov (1915). The film was criticized in the Russian press. But throughout the 1920s Russian émigré and European newspapers were full of reports about upcoming films with Chaliapin’s participation. The projects were associated with big names (Charlie Chaplin and Sergei Eisenstein) and big American and British companies. Maxim Gorky wrote a script for him about Stenka Razin. In 1925, Vyacheslav Strijevsky was supposed to make a film about the life of Chaliapin with the participation of his children in the roles of a young singer. Finaly in 1933, Georg Wilhelm Pabst filmed with Chaliapin not Boris Godunov (one of his favorite film project), but Don Quixote. This contribution presents the roles played and not played by the great singer, paying particular attention to the relationship between the expressiveness of the body and the voice, and

Pascale MELANI
Shalyapin and Russian Painters
During his entire life, Shalyapin established friendly and working relationships with Russian painters. These bonds were forged for the first time in Savva Mamontov’s entourage, where the young singer met the artists of the Abramtsevo Circle who participated in his artistic education and helped him to develop the plastic profile of his roles. The exchanges continued at all stages of Shalyapin’s life and creation, even in emigration. In addition, the image of the singer, in life or on the stage, has often been fixed on the canvas by painters who have thus contributed to the creation and dissemination of a Shalyapin myth, including beyond the borders of Russia. Therefore, Shalyapin, as a man and as an artist, is at the center of a dialogue between the arts. Abandoning the strictly biographical approach, this paper intends to explore this dialogue, emphasizing the main encounters that allowed Shalyapin to constitute himself as a performer, and reflecting in a broader way on the place of the visual in his art and in the popularization of lyrical art at the global level.

Feodor Chaliapin and Boris Grigoriev : Dialogue of “Two Impulsive Genius”
“They personify the Russian talent […] their character and success are obviously akin […] They are impulsive genius”. This remarque of the critic Nikolaï Radlov about his two great contemporaries, Feodor Chaliapin and Boris Grigoriev, is at the center of a review of two monumental pictures by Grigoriev representing Feodor Chaliapin; the first from 1919 in Russia, the second from 1923 in exile. This “impulsive genius”, apparently spontaneous and unpredictable, paradoxically is seen in a perfectly mastered creativeness which results in monumental forms; its affirmed “russianity” is a form of universality. Chaliapin’s impulsivity (perfectly rendered by Grigoriev in his pictures) is the source of his free creativity which opens on the mystery of art as a window towards a transfigured world. Attached is an unpublished text about Chaliapin by Boris de Schloezer, who introduced the achievements of the two great artists in Russia then in exile.

Sylvie MAMY
Fiodor Chaliapin and Gabriele d’Annunzio in search of total art
At the last chapter of his second autobiography (Man and Mask in English and Ma Vie in French), Chaliapin expresses his regret not having been able to create in Russia a theater entirely dedicated to opera. He remembers about it his meetings with the great poet, Gabriele d’Annunzio, in Paris, in the years preceding the first World War, their plan to work together on a form of synthetic theater. He evokes the show seen at the theater Châtelet, in Paris, in May 1911, of which d’Annunzio was the author, mainly staged by Russian artists (Lev Bakst, Ida Rubinstein, Mikhail Fokine), The Martyrdom of saint Sebastien. He writes : “I was struck by the originality and power of the dialogue, setting and whole atmosphere of the production”. I wonder what in this show may have particularly pleased Chaliapin and on what points the Russian singer and the Italian poet could have agreed if they had succeeded in realizing their common total art project to fruition.

Chaliapine in Great Britain : contexts, nuances and perspectives
The renowned bass-baritone Feodor Chaliapine was introduced to the British public in 1913 at a time when, in London at least, Russian music, was, as Sergei Prokofiev characterises it « all the rage ». Chaliapine’s introduction coincided with the consolidation of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in London, with the increased presence of Russian émigrés in the city, and intersected with other aesthetic trends and sociopolitical nuances. Chaliapine performed intermittently in the main cities London, Manchester, Edinburgh across Great Britain for almost two decades. Critically, he worked closely with Sir Thomas Beecham, a revered conductor in Britain as well as a supporter of Russian ballet and culture. Chaliapine made his first London appearance in June of 1913, and continued to appear sporadically on British stages for approximately the next two decades. Although his presence in London and across the United Kingdom more generally was not a consistent one, he made a strong impression on audiences from the start. These appearances will form the basis of the discussions and conclusions presented in this article. This paper will situate Chaliapine amid complicated cultural and sociopolitical contexts, tracing the evolution of the British relationship with the legendary singer, while referring to critical reception and contemporary political and social biases of the time.

Chaliapin’s Acting and its Reception in the German and Austrian Press from the End of the 19th Century to the 1930s
A constant presence in the press from the end of the nineteenth century until his death in 1938, Feodor Chaliapin nevertheless performed relatively little on German and Austrian stages compared with other great Russian voices of the period. Despite this, his reputation far surpassed that of his counterparts, reaching a wider audience than just specialists, with a long-lasting legacy that continues to this day. Based on a sample of articles taken from the daily and specialist press from the late nineteenth century to the 1930s, this study reveals the broad outlines of his reception and, beyond the myth, the major characteristics of his art that led to his fascination. At the same time, it sheds light on developments in opera, its modes of production, realization, and reception in a turbulent historical period.

From Chaliapin to Chaliapiniana : the Singular Ways of Singer’s Autobiographies
The article examines two autobiographies of the singer, whose destiny is in the image of their author : exceptional, controversial and rule-bending. Although both books first saw the light between World War One and World War Two, some readers, namely Soviets, had to wait until the 1990s to discover the full and uncensored text ! Even more surprising, long before the beginning of the first publication in January 1917 by the monthly Letopis [Летопись] headed by M.Gorki and even before Chaliapin started writing, readers of a Moscow newspaper could already discover chapters of so-called autobiography entitled My Life, signed by F.Chaliapin. This episode, quoted by the singer in 1912 in his article The Press and Me, is a testament to the public’s interest and fascination with his personality, as well as their transgressions. Thus, « the strange ways of publishers » led his books from sometimes dubious translation-related choices (when Mask and Soul becomes Mask and Man, or simply My Life) to a lengthy trial and a final argument about copyright between Chaliapin and M.Gorki, his longtime friend and coauthor of this first autobiography. While scholars’ opinions on the precise extent to which the famous writer was involved can differ, the only stenography of Chaliapin’s stories, dating from the summer 1916, would lift the veil on this issue. However, it still lies somewhere in Russian archives, as of yet unexplored.

Representations of Fyodor Chaliapin in Russian Literature : Construction and Profanation of the Myth
The figure of Fyodor Shalyapin became mythical during his lifetime. We wish to study one of the dimensions of the construction of this myth, that is the literary representations of the artist by his contemporaries. Our focus will be on the writings of two authors who were part of the artistic circles with which the singer was associated : Ivan Bunin and Leonid Andreyev. In the literary portraits of Shalyapin created by these two writers, certain motifs recur and contribute to the construction of a myth, which implies a few commonplaces. We will see how this myth is both constructed, desecrated and finally condemned. What’s more, in Bunin’s works, this final condemnation associates the art of Shalyapin with that of Andreyev, even though they did not work in the same field. What is the meaning of this connection ? In what way are these discourses important for the construction of certain commonplaces concerning Shalyapin, and what elements have durably nourished the representation of the artist ? These are the questions that guide this paper.

Fyodor Shalyapin in Aleksandr Sokurov’s Films
Among Aleksandr Sokurov’s films, two are dedicated to Fyodor Shalyapin : Elegy from 1986, and the Petersburg Elegy, from 1990. Inspired by the transfer of the famous bass’s ashes from Paris to Moscow, Sokurov retraces the life and places of this emblematic personality. The director reinterprets the history both of the artist and the man, combining archive documents, photographs, film extracts and interviews with people close to the artist. The Petersburg Elegy features extensive footage of Shalyapin’s son, Fyodor Fyodorovich, whose resemblance to his father is skillfully used. Furthermore, Sokurov explores the permanence of culture, disrupted by historical events, exile and its accompanying ruptures – sentimental, familial, artistic – as well as the traces and legacy that remain. Supported by a soft voice with hypnotic intonations, that of Aleksandr Sokurov himself, the narration oscillates between perfectly documented narrative and daydream, serving a cinematic lyricism that is transmitted to the viewer.

Jasmine JACQ
Shaliapin (channel Rossia 1, 2023, TV series), Analysis of a Cultural Reappropriation
Although the life and work of Fyodor Shalyapin were virtually absent from Soviet cinema and audiovisual production, and remained so in post1991 Russia, the 150th anniversary of the singer’s birth in 2023 saw the broadcast of an eight-part general-public television series (Shalyapin, directed by Egor Anashkin). Over the past fifteen years or so, biopics devoted to the nation’s great figures have become a familiar form for the Russian public, encouraged by cultural institutions and by the public funding system, and Shalyapin’s joins a gallery of eminent creative figures brought to Russian screens over the last twenty years (Mayakovsky, Dostoyevsky, Essenin...). The anniversary has afforded Russian cultural institutions the possibility to rehabilitate the singer for the general public, who will often discover him. The historical inaccuracy and aesthetic poverty of this drably illustrative piece of fiction, however, suggests that its main function is to laud Shalyapin’s Russianness, a reappropriation by Russia of the memory and glory of this singer who signally died in exile. Shalyapin’s remains were brought to Moscow in 1984 at Gorbachev’s request ; this commemorative series seeks a corresponding symbolic repatriation of his memory and glory.

Entre Moscou et l'Oural, vue du train. Photo Philippe Comte, été 2004.

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