In whatever appearance Obraztsova takes the stage, we are immediately aware of two contradictions between which her personality moves. On the one hand her pulsating temperament, her human and artistic presence suffused with “burning” energy ¬– and on the other a rare charismatic magic, a deeply concealed “numinous” quality that is difficult to describe in words.
In the most famous theaters of the world, Elena Obraztsova (1939–2015) sang the most important roles for mezzosoprano: Princess Eboli and Ulrica, Dalila and Carmen, Marina Mnischek and the Duchess of Pique Dame. She delighted conductors like Carlos Kleiber and Herbert von Karajan, Georges Prêtre, and Danial Barenboim, and inspired the film directors Franco Zeffirelli and Luca Ronconi. Her chamber repertoire comprised more than three hundred works extending from Baroque to contemporary music.
This volume makes available Obraztsova’s conversations with the music critic and dramaturg Alexei Parin, which shed light on the most important experiences in her personal and professional life and illuminate her own individual artistic approach to vocal music. In his comprehensive analytic commentaries Parin examines the artistic and technical characteristics of Obraztsova’s vocal interpretations.
Born in Moscow in 1944, Alexei Parin works internationally as a librettist, opera critic, dramaturg, and poet. He has also translated works of European poets from antiquity to the present day, from Sappho and Ovid to Paul Celan and Jacques Roubaud. His poetry translations have been anthologized in The Enamoured Wanderer: West European Poetry as Translated by Alexei Parin (2004). For twenty years he has organized music programs for the radio stations Echo Moskvy and Orpheus. The Hollitzer Verlag has also published his essay collection The Spectacles of Coppelius and his novel The Chronicles of Leonsk.