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Sunday, April 15, 2012


Natalia A.Bukanova

Great news for Lemeshev fans!  It is a real pleasure for me to announce the recent launching of a truly exhaustive and authoritative website dedicated to the great Russian tenor Sergei Lemeshev.  Many of you will be acquainted, at least through Youtube, with Ms. Natalia A. Bukanova, who goes by the name "younglemeshevist" and who has graced these pages twice in recent memory with two superlative articles, one on the great Russian tenor, and most recently an intellectual tour-de-force on modern operatic stage direction.  I refer you to:

1. An Opposing Guest Commentary On Modern Operatic Stage Direction—Are Directors The New Prima Donnas?   And

2. The Great Sergei Lemeshev:  The View From Russia

Natalie has launched a new Lemeshev website, as of a few weeks ago, called:


It may be found at:

I strongly urge every reader with an interest in Russian opera, Sergei Lemeshev, or the history of the Bolshoi Theater to check it out right away.  The amount of historical and artistic information to be found there is simply stunning.  There is no better source available in English (and precious few in Russian) on Lemeshev's biography and vocal talent.  The  reader is led, step by step, through the amazing story of the great tenor's life, which took place against the backdrop of one of Russia's most difficult periods,  encompassing World War I, The Revolution, the Civil War, and the Great Patriotic War, known to us as World War II.  His years in the Army, at the Moscow Conservatory, and in Stanislavski's Workshop, make absolutely fascinating reading.  For those interested in the history of theater and acting, the account of his years in Stanislavski's Workshop is required reading.  You will hardly find a more intimate account of the realities of Stanislavski's ideas and methods.  And of course the anecdotes related to great singers and their stories (and foibles!) is just plain fun reading!

Ms. Bukanova drew a great deal of attention to herself and to Lemeshev in the early days of Youtube, when she posted many Lemeshev videos that had never been seen in the West.  I know, personally, that they were for me among my earliest serious introductions to this wonderful tenor, and all at a time when few were posting his music, and even fewer knew much about his life and work.  In so doing, Natalie established herself as an authority in the area, and I feel completely justified—by now having read what I believe is the totality of her written work on the subject—that there is no greater authority on the life and work of Sergei Lemeshev currently accessible.

Do yourself a favor, and check out this great website now.  You will find it an absolute treasure-chest of historical information, anecdotes, and artistic ruminations.  An absolute must-read for the Lemeshev enthusiast!  Mark this website down:

In the right hand column of Natalie's blog, opposite Stanislavski's photograph, you will see the Russian words Архив блога.  That simply means "blog archive" and is the place where you can go to different sections of the website, which is entirely in English. The blog currently begins with an essay on Constantin Stanislavski, into which Lemeshev is woven.  You can go to the purely biographical sections relating to Lemeshev through the Архив блога, where the sub-headings are in English. It will not be hard to familiarize yourself with the blog layout, which covers a wide territory. It is a typical Blogspot layout. If you wish to leave a comment on the site, look for the comment block at the end of the last page, and when you are ready to enter your comment, look for the word   "Публикация," which means "publish."  It will be the big word to the left. There will be two test words that you will need to copy, and then hit "Публикация" again.

Congratulations Natalie, and happy reading to all!

Edmund StAustell


corax said...

congratulations, natalia. this new site is beautifully done. of course it would be -- your contributions to GREAT OPERA SINGERS have always been wonderful too.
all best from

Edmund St. Austell said...

Thank you so much, my friend! Words of praise for Natalie's website from so distinguished and recognized a professor as yourself is most gratifying, and something of which Natalie can be proud! Again, my heartfelt thanks!

JD Hobbes said...

Excellent job! I find it very impressive and informative. I wish that we in the west had had access to this kind of art and music over the past years. I tried to leave a comment on her website but was not able to do so for some reason.

Edmund St. Austell said...

Thank you very much Mr. Hobbes, as always. I will mention to Natalie the problem of the comment section. She's only had it up a short while, and there are probably bugs to be worked out of the systerm yet. Thanks again. (And I absolutely agree with you about envying the high level of Soviet art, especially during so difficult a historical period.) They have a great tradition, not only in music but of course in ballet, literature, and art and illustration as well. Amazing culture.

Anonymous said...

That is a wonderful website! So detailed! Thank you very much for recommending it..I shall be reading the biography, which looks great!

Mary C.

Edmund St. Austell said...

I'm very glad to hear that you like it. Yes, I think any fan of Lemeshev, or anyone interested in the artistic history of the Soviet Union at that time would find it a goldmine of information! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much Edmund for announcing the opening of Natalie's website. I was wanting to ask you about it one of these days. I've left my congratulatory comments on her blog. She's done a commendable job in doing such an excellent translation. It itself can be a primary source on the conditions artists lived and worked under in the Soviet Union.

Darren Seacliffe

Edmund St. Austell said...

Thank you very much, Darren. I really appreciate your comment, and yes, I agree; so good a translation of primary research material is indeed valuable and does itself constitute a primary source. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Dear Edmund, Thank you very much for the announcement! My blog on Lemeshev would have not appeared without your help.
I'm experiencing problems with the internet connection now, that's why I didn't reply yesterday. Also thatnks for noticing problems with Russian language, I'll try to switsh the blog to English.

Natalia Bukanova

Anonymous said...

To Corax:
Thank you very much.


Anonymous said...

to JD Hobbes:

Thank you very much.
I have problems with the internet connection now; when it is fixed, I'll try to fix this problem too.


Anonymous said...

to Mary C:

thank you.


DanPloy said...

Passion, in the singing and in the writing.

Thank-you Edmund, Natalie and Sergei.

Edmund St. Austell said...

Thank you very much, my friend. Yes, I think this is an important new website that makes a real contribution to Lemeshev studies in particular and Russian cultural studies in general. Thanks for your comment, always appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Natalie. "Epic" is probably the best word to describe your achievement. It also seems to be a good step towards a book project perhaps?

And many thanks to Edmund for bringing Natalie's amazing work to our attention.


Edmund St. Austell said...

Thank you very much, Tim. Yes indeed; Natalie's work reminds me of your own in so many ways--intellectual, thorough and well researched. You both have my deep respect--two of the most distinguished and articulate voices on Youtube in the classical arts.

Gerhard Santos said...

Hi Good evening! This is such an informative article and very clearly written. Thank you Natalie! Thank you Sir Edmund for sharing this with us!!! Thank you, Good luck and *GOD BLESS*