The House-Museum of F. I. Shalyapin
Feodor Ivanovich Shalyapin (1873 – 1938) is a Russian bass singer, a national artist of the Republic (1918). He was born in a family of a small office employee. He worked as an apprentice of shoemaker, as an apprentice of turner, and as a copyist. At the same time he sang in the Episcopal choir. From the early ages he was fascinated by the theater. He was a chorister at Opera company in Ufa since 1890. In 1892-1893 he studied with D.A.Usatov, an opera singer, in Tbilisi, where he began his professional stage career. In 1893-1894 he sang the party of Mefistofele (Faust), the party of Miller (“A Mermaid” by Dargomyzhsky) and many others. In 1895 he was taken to the troupe of the Maryinsky Theatre. In 1896, at the invitation of S.Mamontov, he entered the Moscow Private Russian Opera, where his talent was revealed. The classes with Sergey Rakhmaninov and then their creative friendship were particularly important for Shalyapin.
Shalyapin had the great success during a tour of the Moscow Private Russian Opera in St. Petersburg in 1898. Since that time, V.V.Stasov became the promoter of his work, who dedicated a number of articles to the singer. Since 1899 he sang in the Bolshoy Theatre and at the Maryinsky Theatre, as well as in provincial towns. In 1901 he performed triumphantly in Italy (La Scala). His frequent tours abroad were brought the international fame to the singer. It was particularly important for Shalyapin to take part in the Russian seasons, held in Paris, between 1907 and 1909 and in 1913. He was a promoter of the Russian art and especially the works of M.P.Mussorgsky and N.A.Rimsky-Korsakov. Shalyapin’s friendship with Maxim Gorky had a great influence on the formation of his ideological and artistic principles.
Largely under its healthy influence, the artist was associated with progressive social circles. He sang the revolutionary songs for the workers. After the revolution Shalyapin was the Artistic Director of the Maryinsky Theatre (1918). Having left abroad on tour in 1922, Shalyapin did not return to the Soviet Union. He lived in Paris.
One of the greatest representatives of the Russian vocal school, a deeply national singer, Shalyapin raised the Russian realistic musical and dramatic art to unprecedented heights. He combined the gift of a singer and a dramatic actor. The singer had a rare gift of transformation. An exceptionally soft and beautiful timbre of the singer’s voice (high bass), combining the sincere sound with depth and power, enabled to transmit a diverse range of emotions — from soulful tenderness to the tragic pathos and smashing sarcasm.
Novinsky Boulevard is the last address of the singer in Moscow. On May 1910, he purchased the mansion, built in the late 18th century. This house, which was survived in the fire of 1812, attracted the attention of Shalyapin, for many reasons. The district and the house had a rich history and many legends.
On 23 September 1988, the House-Museum of F.I.Shalyapin was opened. Today the house has a rich and a creative life. There are concerts of outstanding contemporary artists as well as the young performers, competitions, festivals, conferences. Everything lives here in the name of the great singer. In the Museum you can walk through the rooms of the mansion and listen to the excursion and concerts recordings.