Articles tagged with: Singing in Russian

Sing in Russian

Sing in Russian

“Truly there would be reason to go mad, were it not for music.”
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Mihaly Zichy - Performance at the Bolshoi Theatre

Mihaly Zichy – Performance at the Bolshoi Theatre (1856)

Classical Music, and vocal music in particular, began in Russia during the 19th century with the introduction of Western composers to the Imperial courts. It was in the 1860s with the Mighty Handful and the formation of Conservatoires in Saint Petersburg and Moscow by the Rubinstein brothers, Anton and Nikolai respectively, when a generation of composers emerged telling Russian tales with Russian music.

From the beginning, Russia invested heavily in staging grand performances of large scale artworks. The Bolshoi Theatre (right), which has housed performances of ballet and opera in Moscow since 1825, takes its name from the Russian word большой (Bol-shoi), meaning big, grand or great, and referring to the grand performances of Opera and Ballet in this type of theatre. Thus, other Bolshoi theatres include the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg. Plays take place in smaller Maly theatres.

The new Russian composers were influenced by Oktavist singers of the Orthodox church who sang deep and resonant basso profundo notes and the Bell ringing in the church towers as well as Jewish and folk melodies. This wave of nationalist Composers set texts by fellow compatriots Pushkin, Tolstoy and Dolmatovsky as well as Shakespeare and Goethe in translation. ‘The Mighty Handful’, a group of five composers headed by Mily Balakirev, including Cesar Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Borodin, strived to create a unique style of Russian Classical music, such as was being developed in other countries by their own composers.

Almost every Russian composer, from Mikhail Glinka and Alexander Dargomyzhsky, through the Mighty Handful and Tchaikovsky to Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and Prokofiev to contemporaries such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Alfred Schnittke and Leonid Desyatnikov, produced a huge amount of vocal music. Tchaikovsky wrote over 100 songs and 10 operas (including three of the biggest in the Russian repertoire Yevgeny Onegin, Iolanta and The Queen of Spades), Rachmaninov composed over 80 songs, and operas by Prokofiev and Shostakovich are still performed regularly.

Singing in Russian

Jackdaws Tutor Alexandre Naoumenko

Alexandre Naoumenko

To us, Russian vocal music can seem daunting because the text is written in the Cyrillic script, but it is easily rendered into sound with a little help. Melodies based on folk tunes are often simple, diatonic and repetitive yet driven by interesting rhythms and flavoured with unique harmony; it can be a challenge to marry these contrasting elements effectively.

Jackdaws works with Russian tenor Alexandre Naoumenko, who trained at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire and performed Mussorgsky at the Bolshoi theatre before becoming Russian language coach to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, to bring this Russian music vocal course to you each year. Together with exceptional repetiteur Richard Shaw, Alexandre introduces the language, style and culture with simple techniques to help you can create an authentic Russian performance.

We invite singers of all voices and ability to this unique weekend course in our Somerset studio, where we provide your meals and arrange your B&B accommodation with clean, local providers exclusive to Jackdaws.

I really liked the work on a new shared song, which helped to make more sense of how this unfamiliar language works.” – 2015 Singing in Russian participant

Singing in Russian
Alexandre Naoumenko
Accompanist: Richard Shaw
Friday 23 – Sunday 25 September 2016
Level: All singers and abilities
Fee: £210
B&B: Rooms Available
Book Now

Foreign Languages at Jackdaws

Foreign Languages at Jackdaws

September is Foreign language month at Jackdaws – and we’re celebrating with leading experts in foreign language Art songs. We’ve invited French language specialist Robin Bowman and Russian language coach to the Royal Opera House Alexandre Naoumenko, to spend a weekend each with you in Great Elm.

Jackdaws Tutor Robin BowmanRobin Bowman worked as assistant to Pierre Bernac (the singer for whom Poulenc wrote more than half of his songs) throughout the 1970s, was French consultant for the National Opera Studio from 1978 to 2008. At the same time, he worked at the Académie Maurice Ravel and became Head of Academic Studies then Head of Vocal Studies at the Guildhall School between 1985 and 2008. He was a judge at the Kathleen Ferrier competition and in his retirement now works as a visiting tutor at the Birmingham Conservatoire, continuing his music courses such as those Jackdaws during the summer.

Born in Lipetsk, halfway between Moscow and Volograd, Alexandre Naoumenko is a graduate from the Moscow Tchaikowsky Conservatoire and the Moscow Opera Studio.Jackdaws Tutor Alexandre Naoumenko As a tenor, he has performed roles from the great Russian opera repertoire with some of the biggest companies on the most prestigious stages; the ENO, at the Concertgebouw, Royal Albert Hall and in Bolshoi Hall. He has taught at the Moscow Conservatory and works with prestigious orchestras such as the LSO Chorus, London Philharmonic and CBSO. For the past ten years he has been Russian language coach to the Royal Opera House.

Jackdaws courses are so successful because we are so careful about which tutors we invite. Alexandre and Robin have worked closely Jackdaws for many years.

BoathouseFlower KarolynThis September Alexandre and Robin visit Jackdaws to lead their “Singing in…” Language vocal courses. Both Singing in Russian and Singing in French are open to singers of any ability and address the key issues of singing in the respective languages as well as general vocal technique and health. You are invited to bring songs from your own repertoire or those which you are currently studying to work on with these eminent professionals.

Singing in French
with Robin Bowman
Friday 4 – Sunday 6 September

Singing in Russian
with Alexandre Naoumenko
Friday 18 – Sunday 20 September

Search for a Course

Archives