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The Opera Quarterly 21.1 (2005) 211-212

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I write to offer assistance to those seeking information on opera singers of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and today's Russia and Ukraine. Five reference volumes are particularly helpful.

Mikhail Agin's Vocal-Encyclopedia Dictionary (5 volumes; Moscow, 1991–1994) has very brief biographies of 2,038 singers from 1808–1985, plus bibliographies of articles and books written about them. The six-volume Musical Encyclopedia (Moscow, 1973–1982), edited by Yuri Keldish, has hundreds of singer biographies, plus photos and drawings of 115 singers. Arkadii Pruzhansky's Singers of the Fatherland, 1750–1917 (2 volumes; Moscow, 1991, 2000) has lengthy biographies and many photos and drawings of singers, plus other useful information, such as a list of roles in Russian operas. This is an outstanding work, a boon to those interested in historic singers of the Russian Empire. Another excellent source is Ivan Lysenko's Dictionary of Ukrainian Singers (Kiev, 1997), which contains 1,200 biographies and 477 photos and drawings of singers. Many artists who are not ethnically Ukrainian but who worked in Ukraine are also listed. Finally, Valeri Zarubin's Bolshoi Theatre: Opera Premieres on the Russian Stage, 1825–1993 (Moscow, 1994) contains a useful listing of singers active at the Bolshoi.

While most of these volumes are out of print and difficult to obtain, those wishing information contained in them can contact me at

Doug Fox
Shelton, CT

One of the best things about the Internet is that we can now listen to opera broadcasts from all over the world. (For a listing of such programs, see

I'd like to bring to the attention of opera lovers WMNR-FM's Evening at the Opera (Tuesdays, 8–12 PM, NY time) at The technical quality of this station's webcasting has recently been greatly improved. Future programs include Andre Bauge and other Gallic baritones; Marjan Kiepura on his parents, Jan Kiepura and Marta Eggerth; singers from Italian Friuli, etc. Readers of The Opera Quarterly should enjoy this programming.

Diana Mastroni
Darien, CT

Wow! What a great issue (vol. 20, no. 4). Thanks for the wonderful articles—all jewels.

My wife and I spent several evenings with Stella Roman, and we had heard her in most of her roles. She was a beautiful person. Of course we especially enjoyed our "early" Eleanor. Again, we have heard her in many roles and concerts—she was, is, a national treasure along with Sills! I hope some well-informed writer will give us an Eleanor Steber article, comparable to Bruce [End Page 211] Burroughs's wonderful articles on Zinka Milanov.

How about a similar issue featuring the male artists of opera? May I plead for more info about the under-appreciated Franco Bonisolli? We heard him in person and it was all there—a real spinto tenor. Gedda is still with us!

Thanks again. I and my wife eagerly look forward to each OQ issue. It is invaluable.

Tony Julian
Murrieta, CA

As usual I am making my way through the new issue of The Opera Quarterly with much pleasure. Being a devoted Sutherland fan, this time I started with Mr. Joe K. Law's very enjoyable article on La Stupenda's very early recordings. Mr. Law gave us a lot of new information, very difficult to obtain anywhere else. However, I would like to make two comments, if I may.

Mr. Law complains that the early recording of Alcina's arias and other baroque arias Miss Sutherland made for L'Oiseau Lyre had not been transferred to CD. This is not correct. These arias were used as a fill-up of Sutherland's recording of Handel's Acis and Galatea on Decca 436227-2, which seems to be out of print now.

My other comment concerns Mr. Law's lament that Sutherland's performance of Haydn's Applausus, recorded for the BBC, was never issued. This performance was, briefly, available on LP on MRF 111.

I would like to close with many thanks to you and your staff...


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