Leonova, Darya (Mikhailovna)

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Leonova, Darya (Mikhailovna)

Leonova, Darya (Mikhailovna), Russian contralto; b. Vyshny-Volochok, March 21, 1829; d. St. Petersburg, Feb. 6, 1896. She studied at the St. Petersburg Imperial opera school. In 1852 she sang the part of Vanya in Glinka’s A Life for the Czar, and was greatly praised by Glinka himself; then sang regularly in St. Petersburg and Moscow (until 1874). Between 1875 and 1879 she made tours of Russia, the Far East, Europe, and the U.S. In 1879 she traveled in southern Russia and the Crimea with Mussorgsky as accompanist. In 1880 she opened a singing school in St. Petersburg, with Mussorgsky acting as coach. She also taught at the Moscow drama school (1888–92). Her memoirs were publ. in Istorichesky vestnik, nos. 1-4 (1891). She devoted much of her career to promoting Russian music; created the roles of the Princess in Dargomyzhsky’s Rusalka (1856) and the Hostess in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov (1874). Her non-Russian roles included Orfeo, Azucena, and Or-trud.


V. Yakovlev, D.M. L. (Moscow, 1950).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire