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Subject: Zara Dolukhanova and Tatiana Troyanos
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Tue, 10 Jul 2018 16:26:30 -0400

text/plain (80 lines)

Roberta, sorry you didn’t get to hear prime Galina, but then again, not 
everyone likes the same singers or music.

I am also a huge fan of Zara Dolukhanova and first heard her in Rossini 
which blew me away, and hooked me on her for life.  

David Shengold cited her excellent Russian for an Armenian, but the fact is sh
she was born and raised in Moscow and, lived most, if not all of her life th
there.  So . . . Russian was her language.  

Oddly, Dolukhanova sang mostly doing recital, concert and radio work back 
when such a thing was a viable career option for a singer, appearing on the 
opera stage with not a great frequency.  While most of her career was as a 
mezzo, she turned to soprano roles, including Tosca, Norma, Aida and was 
the first Suor Angelica in Russia.  Here she is in Vissi d’arte:

And here. a powerful performance of Schubert’s “Erlkönig”

 * * *
1993 was a horrible year in that we lost three of the most beautiful voices 
I’ve ever experienced, all taken away by cancer, each far too soon:  the 
silvery voiced sopranos, Lucia Popp and Arlene Auger and the “Mezzo Who 
Could Sing (practically) Everything,” Tatiana Troyanos.  

Troyanos remains among my favorite mezzo sopranos of all time, in the 
company of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Janet Baker, Kathleen Ferrier 
(technically a mezzo, but  . . . ) Frederica von Stade and Christa Ludwig.  

I, too, cried when I learned of Troyanos’ death – it was one of those losses 
of an artist that I could simply not wrap my head around, and, like Hunt-
Lieberson, active right up until the end.  I still get gooseflesh whenever I 
think of Troyanos last day on earth  She fixed her hair, put on her make-up 
and, with IV in tow, made her way to the waiting room in the cancer ward 
where she gave her final recital, shortly after which, she returned to her 
room and died.  

Everything she sang was technically “as good as it gets” yet far more than 
just that.  There was always an undercurrent of pent up emotion that 
seemed to be simmering at various levels until no one, including her it 
seemed, could control it anymore and the passion boiled over, though 
never with a vulgarity – there was always “a lady” there.  Except, of 
course, when she donned the trousers.  Her Octavian, Sesto Cherubino and 
other roles were as convincing as it gets, nowhere more so than her 
Komponist at her Aix Festival debut.  I still watch the film of that and 
marvel at how young she was, coltish and boyish yet dripping with a 
sensuality that played into the role like magic.  

Monteverdi, Handel and coloratura roles were tossed off with a technical 
assurance that was – and remains – formidable.  

Her Venus, Brangane, Waltraute, Kundry . . .among my very favorite interpreters.

While I know there has been dissent on her in this role before, some not 
caring for her in the role, but as Santuzza,, Troyanos simply broke my 
heart .  While she could be white hot in it, somehow, magically, near the 
end of “Voi lo Sapete” she spins a bel canto line into Mascagni’s verismo 
stew as though she were singing Bellini.  It takes my breath away every 
time I listen, but she does that in everything she sang.  


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