F. I. Chaliapin. Forgotten Pages of Creative Biography: ”... born at the Caucasus for the stage“
The author was the first who attempted to extract from the nothingness the unknown facts of the creative biography of the legendary Chaliapin: they are connected with the summer tour of the artist, which took place in Kislovodsk in 1899, in the magnificent Kurzal built just three years earlier, the stage of which during the holiday season became a direct continuation of the Emperor theatre stage, attracting to itself the best creative forces and uniting an extensive audience that represented not a handful of metropolitan aesthetes, but a very large Russian army music lovers, who came “to the waters” from different parts of the country. It was to her – quite demanding and extremely dissimilar to the public – the artist showed the brightest diamonds of his theatrical crown – in separate performances and in that collective nominal benefit, which took place on August 19, 1899. During only one “tour evening” – as he was declared in the local press – the artist experienced several reincarnations, being in the guise of operatic characters who became his repertoire of the crown, including Miller from “The Mermaid”, Boris Godunov from the eponymous masterpiece, Mephistopheles from “Faust” and Ivan the Terrible from “Pskovityanka.” Acting in four roles from four operas, the great singer-actor impressed viewers with the speed of artistic metamorphosis and, in fact, included them in his powerful experiment, which turned for them an exam for emotional responsiveness and intellectual activity. The reviewers of the modest information publication – the newspaper “Seasonal leaf of the Caucasian Mineral Waters” – managed to notice the radical transformation of the theatrical public: henceforth the opera art not only excited the rumor and attracted the eye, but also gave thoughtful attitude to itself. Based on the unification of his diverse talents and amazing coordination of vocal and scenic skills, Chaliapin paved the way for his followers, inspiring them to search for new artistic and communicative forms, without which the modern musical theater does not exist.
Chaliapin, singer-actor, nominal benefit, assembly play, Kursal.