Personalities | Ivan Melnikov | High Romantic | Opera
Ivan Melnikov, the Russian baritone, was best known for creating the role of Boris Godunov in Mussorgsky’s opera in 1869. Trained in Russia and Italy, Melnikov had made his debut at the Maryinsky Imperial Theatre in St Petersburg only two years earlier, as Riccardo in Bellini’s I puritani. Melnikov continued to sing at the Maryinsky until 1890. Other parts created by Melnikov included the title role in The Demon by Anton Rubinstein (1829–94) and Prince Igor in Borodin’s opera of 1890. Melnikov was a friend of Mussorgsky and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s (1840–93) favourite baritone. He sang in Tchaikovsky’s operas, including roles in The Oprichnik, Vakula the Smith, Eugene Onegin and The Queen of Spades. The critic Vladimir Stasov praised Melnikov’s dramatic interpretations of his roles, and his legato singing was greatly admired by Modeste Tchaikovsky, brother of the composer.
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