Thursday, 11 February 2010
Arkhipova bows out
That wicked site Parterre does have its uses: only entries after the most appalling Anglophobic attack on the totally brilliant Christopher Purves - whose consummate Glyndebourne Falstaff I've just been relishing again on the new DVD release - La Cieca breaks the news (to me, at any rate) of Russian mezzodiva Irina Arkhipova's death at the age of 85.
Well, she was a great artist, on a par with the underrated Dolukhanova and Obraztsova (whom I've had the privilege of seeing thrice on stage). Friends in Moscow told me she was still singing sublimely on her 70th birthday. I'm also reminded of my dear late friend Martin Zam, who was taken by his pharmacist father to see Chaliapin in a Moscow Boris Godunov and who died in his 90s; his favourite track was Arkhipova singing 'The Field of the Dead' from Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky. That, for him, summed up the tragedy of the country he lost. Polina's 'sad song about Russia' - as our Chantraine teacher used to call our choreography - will have to do here instead. And, on a lesser level of Tchaikovskyan inspiration, but still very stylishly done, here's Joan's farewell to the countryside from his Maid of Orleans.