The Bolshoi Theatre Chorus
The history of the choir of the Bolshoi Theater of Russia dates back to the 80th century, when Ulrich Avranek was appointed chief choirmaster and second conductor of the theater orchestra in the XNUMXs. According to the memoirs of the conductor N. Golovanov, “the magnificent choir of the Moscow Imperial Opera … thundered in Moscow, all of Moscow gathered for its benefit performances and concerts.” Many composers composed works especially for the Bolshoi Theatre’s choir, the ensemble took part in S. Diaghilev’s Russian Seasons in Paris.
The artistic traditions of choral singing, the beauty, strength and expressiveness of the sound of the choir were developed by outstanding musicians – conductors and choirmasters of the Bolshoi Theater N. Golovanov, A. Melik-Pashaev, M. Shorin, A. Khazanov, A. Rybnov, I. Agafonnikov and others.
The highest skill of the ensemble was noted by one of the Parisian newspapers during the tour of the Bolshoi Opera in France: “Neither the Garnier Palace, nor any other opera house in the world has ever known such a thing: that during an opera performance the audience forced the choir to encore.”
Today there are more than 150 people in the theater choir. There is no opera in the repertoire of the Bolshoi Theater in which the choir would not be involved; moreover, choral parts are heard in the ballets The Nutcracker and Spartacus. The group has a huge concert repertoire, including works for the choir by S. Taneyev, P. Tchaikovsky, S. Rachmaninov, S. Prokofiev, sacred music.
His performances abroad are consistently successful: in 2003, after a significant break, the Bolshoi Theater Choir demonstrated excellent form on tour in Spain and Portugal under the direction of Alexander Vedernikov. The press noted: “… The choir is magnificent, musical, with amazing sound power …”; “Let’s pay attention to the cantata “The Bells”, a spectacular work … which demonstrates the greatness of Russian music: the choir! We were presented with an example of beautiful singing: intonation, voice, intensity, sound. We were lucky to hear this work, which is little known among us, but at the same time it is wonderful not only thanks to the choir, but also to the orchestra … ”
Since 2003, the team has been headed by Honored Artist of Russia Valery Borisov.
Valery Borisov was born in Leningrad. In 1968 he graduated from the Choral School at the Leningrad Academic Capella named after M.I. Glinka. A graduate of two faculties of the Leningrad Conservatory named after N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov – choral (1973) and opera and symphony conducting (1978). In 1976-86 was a conductor of the Academic Capella named after M.I. Glinka, in 1988-2000. served as chief choirmaster and conducted performances at the Leningrad State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater named after S.M. Kirov (since 1992 – Mariinsky). Prepared with the choir of this theater more than 70 works of opera, cantata-oratorio and symphony genres. For a long time he was the artistic director and conductor of the creative group “St. Petersburg – Mozarteum”, which united the Chamber Orchestra, the Chamber Choir, instrumentalists and vocalists. Since 1996 he has been an associate professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Twice he was awarded the highest theatrical award of St. Petersburg “Golden Soffit” (1999, 2003).
With the troupe of the Mariinsky Theater (conductor Valery Gergiev) he made more than 20 recordings of Russian and foreign operas at Philips. He has toured with the choir in New York, Lisbon, Baden-Baden, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Omaha.
In April 2003, he took up the post of chief choirmaster of the Bolshoi Theater, where he prepared with the choir new productions of the operas The Snow Maiden by N. Rimsky-Korsakov, The Rake’s Progress by I. Stravinsky, Ruslan and Lyudmila by M. Glinka, Macbeth by J. .Verdi, “Mazeppa” by P. Tchaikovsky, “Fiery Angel” by S. Prokofiev, “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District” by D. Shostakovich, “Falstaff” by G. Verdi, “Children of Rosenthal” by L. Desyatnikov (world premiere). In 2005, the Bolshoi Theater Choir was awarded the Special Jury Prize for the Golden Mask National Theater Award for the premieres of the 228th season – Macbeth and The Flying Dutchman.
Photography by Pavla Rychkova