Ershov, Ivan (Vasilievich)

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Ershov, Ivan (Vasilievich)

Ershov, Ivan (Vasilievich), celebrated Russian tenor; b. Maly Nesvetai, near Novocherkassk, Nov. 20, 1867; d. Tashkent, Nov. 21, 1943. He studied voice in Moscow with Alexandrova-Kochetova and in St. Petersburg with Gabel and Paleček. In 1893 he made his operatic debut at the Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg as Faust, which became one of his most popular roles; then went to Italy and took voice lessons with Rossi in Milan; appeared in Turin as Don José in Carmen. He returned to Russia in 1894 and joined the Kharkov Opera; in 1895 he became a member of the Maryinsky Opera Theater in St. Petersburg, and served with it until 1929. He achieved fabulous success as the greatest performer of the tenor roles in the Russian repertoire, and he also was regarded by music critics and audiences as the finest interpreter of the Wagnerian operas; he sang Siegfried, Tannhauser, Lohengrin, and Tristan with extraordinary lyric and dramatic penetration; as an opera tenor in his time, he had no rivals on the Russian stage. In 1929, at the age of 62, he sang Verdi’s Otello; he also appeared in oratorio and solo recitals. From 1916 to 1941 he taught voice at the Petrograd (Leningrad) Cons. At the beginning of the siege of Leningrad in 1941, Ershov was evacuated with the entire personnel of the Cons, to Tashkent in Central Asia, where he died shortly afterward.


V. Bogdanov-Berezovsky, 7. E. (Leningrad, 1951).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire