Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Nov 28, 2011

Nikolai Figner (Tenor) (Nikiforovka, near Kazan 1857 - Kiev, Ukraine 1918)

He joined the Russian Navy as a midshipman, and rose to the rank of lieutenant, retiring in 1881 to study voice with Vassily Samus, I. P. Pryanishnikov and Camillo Everardi at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. According to Antonio Cotogni Figner travelled to Italy, where he studied with E. De Roxas and F. Lamperti. He made his debut (1882) in Gounod's ''Filemone e Bauci'' in Napoli. In 1884 and 1886 he gained some stage experience in South America with Claudio Rossi's company. On 4 November 1886, in Turin, he sang the principal tenor role in the world premiere of the revised version of Alfredo Catalani's ''Edmea''; this was also the occasion of Arturo Toscanini's first appearance as a conductor in Italy after his initial triumph in South America. He made many successful appearances throughout Europe with his future wife, Medea Mei, before returning to St. Petersburg and the Imperial Opera, where both had enviable careers. They divorced in 1904. From 1882 to 1887 he has appeared at 46 theatres in 38 operas and became one of the famous European singers. He was the lead tenor at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg from 1887 to 1907. Here he performed at the premieres of Tchaikovsky's operas ''The Queen of Spades'' and ''Iolanta'', in the roles of Herman and Vaudemont respectively. In both cases Tchaikovsky wrote additional numbers at the tenor's request. From 1910 to 1915 he directed and sang at the opera theatre called National House. He lost most of his possessions during the Russian Revolution and died shortly thereafter. Tchaikovsky dedicated to Nikolai Figner Six Romances, Op. 73 (1893). He was also a friend of Giuseppe Verdi, who has appreciated him as Otello in his opera. Verdi was a frequent visitor of Figner's villa In Italy.

                                 Raoul in ''Gli Ugonotti'' with Medea Mei-Figner

Chronology of some appearances

1882 Napoli Teatro Sannazaro (Filemone e Bauci)
1882 Napoli Teatro Sannazaro (Faust)
1882 Napoli Teatro Sannazaro (Linda di Chamounix)
1884 Montevideo Teatro Solis (Rigoletto)
1884 Montevideo Teatro Solis (Favorita)
1885 Bergamo Teatro Riccardi (Favortia)
1885-1886 Parma Teatro Regio (Gioconda)
1885-1886 Parma Teatro Regio (Marion Delorme)
1885-1886 Parma Teatro Regio (Faust)
1886 San Paolo Teatro San Josè (Favortia)
1886 San Paolo Teatro San Josè (Traviata)
1886 San Paolo Teatro San Josè (Gli Ugonotti)
1886 Rio de Janeiro Teatro Municipal (Aida)
1886 Reggio Emilia Teatro Municipale (Gioconda)
1886 Turino Teatro Carignano (Edmea)
1887 London Covent Garden (Rigoletto)
1887 St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre (Aida)
1887 St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre (Faust)
1887 St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre (Gli Ugonotti)
1889 Moscow Private Theatre (Otello)



G&T, St. Petersburg 1901
You are my morning & They loved one another  (Wrangel) 22547 293x
In the garden shadows (Balabanov) 22548 294x
Oprichnik (Tchaikovsky): As before God and thee 22549 295x
The fateful moment (Tchaikovsky) 22554 325x
Dubrovsky (Napravnik): O give me oblivion 22555 326x
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Vesti la giubba 22556  370z
Huguenots (Meyerbeer): Plus blanche 22594 444x
Bohème (Puccini): Chi son? Sono un poeta 22595 445x
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): Siciliana - O Lola 22596 446x
Otello (Verdi): Ora e per sempre 22597 447x
I remember an evening (Cui) 22601 1532B
In my soul (Wrangel) 22602 1533B
Fra Diavolo (Auber): Barcarolle 22605 1588B
Pique Dame (Tchaikovsky): Forgive me, bright vision 22618 1589B
Ich hab’ im Traum geweinet (Schumann) 22667 1716B
Crucifix (J.-B. Fauré) with Medea Mei-Figner  24057 369x
Do not tempt me needlessly (Glinka) with Medea Mei-Figner  24058 370x
Seagull’s cry (Grodsky) with Medea Mei-Figner  24059 371x
Mefistofele (Boito): Lontano, lontano with Medea Mei-Figner  24060 372x
Dubrovski (Napravnik): Ne jamais la voir with Medea Mei-Figner  373x
Dubrovski (Napravnik): O give me oblivion  22555  367z

G&T, St. Petersburg 1903
Huguenots (Meyerbeer): Plus blanche 022000  1y

Gramophone, St. Petersburg 1907
The North Star 3-22716  6409L
I love (Taskin) & Dream of love (Wrangel) 3-22717  6410L
The birches rustle gently (Verderevsky) 3-22718 6411L 
Ich hab’ im Traum geweinet (Schumann) 3-22719  6412L
Today for the last time (Soldier’s song) 3-22720  6413L
Si vous l’aviez compris (Denza) 3-22704  6422L
Tosca (Puccini): E luceven le stelle 3-22705  6427L
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Vesti la giubba 3-22706 6428L
Roméo et Juliette (Gounod): Ah! Leve-toi soleil 3-22707  6430L

Gramophone, St. Petersburg 1909
In the garden shadows (Balabanov) X-2-62481 6977r 
Why? (Tchaikovsky)  2-62482  6978r


1 comment:

  1. MOLTO BELLO!!! Thank you my Friend for sharing this Valuable Biographical information.