Khovansky (1982) opposite Gwynne Howell. Other appearances took him to Paris, Munich, Hamburg, Ghent and Antwerp.
Nesterenko premiered Shostakovich’s last three song cycles in 1974 and ’75—Six Songs to Lyrics by English Poets, Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti and the Dostoyevsky-based Four Verses of Captain Lebyadkin. He recorded all three, along with the Symphony No. 14. He also created, and taped with the composer at the piano, songs by Georgi Sviridov. His many other recordings include all his Russian star parts—Ruslan, Rimsky’s Sobakin (Tsar’s Bride) and Salieri—plus Méphistophélès, Zaccaria, Ferrando, Dulcamara, Don Pasquale and Bartók’s Bluebeard, as well as much song literature. Videos preserve his Ivan Susanin, Boris, Dosifey, Prince Igor and Aleko. He filmed Attila at Verona and Shostakovich’s Old Convict in Barcelona. He voiced Khan Konchak in the 1969 film of Prince Igor made in St Petersburg. After his performance career he taught in Moscow and Vienna (Stefan Kocan, László Polgár and Nikita Storojev were among his students) and wrote extensively about singing. He died of Covid-19.
Vassilis Nikolaidis Greek director, in Athens, on February 2, aged 66. Born in Athens in June 1954, he studied archaeology there and went to Paris for theatre studies. He made his directorial debut in 1985, and staged more than 70 productions over his career. He began collaborating with Greek National Opera in 1991, and worked in theatres across Greece. His opera stagings included Un ballo in maschera, Anna Bolena, Il trovatore, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Carmen, Nabucco, Adriana Lecouvreur and Argyris Kounadis’s O Gyrismos (‘The Return’). He was the author of the book Maria Callas: The Transformations of an Art.
Galina Savova Bulgarian soprano, on January 4, aged 80. Born in Varna on 20 May 1940, she began her career at the Sofia Opera, appearing with this company in Paris in 1971 as Turandot—a role that would also take her to Verona (1983), Covent Garden (1990), Sydney (1990) and Chicago (1992). She sang at Darmstadt in 1972 and from 1982 to ’87 took many leading roles at Oper Frankfurt. She also appeared in Hamburg, Munich, Lisbon, Barcelona, Marseille, Venice, Amsterdam and at Savonlinna. Following her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1979 as Aida, she returned there as Amelia, Tosca, Giorgetta, Santuzza, Gioconda and Venus. Other roles included Leonore, Senta, Ortrud, Eva, Manon Lescaut and Minnie. Friedl Teller-Blum Israeli soprano, in Givatayim, on January 30, aged 88. Born in Vienna on 10 June 1932, she escaped with her family to the USA in 1938 and studied at Hunter College and Columbia University. Having made her debut at 16, she went on to join the Städtische Bühnen in Münster and the Volksoper in Vienna, and in 1961 she settled in Israel, where she sang with all the leading institutions. Among her more than 40 roles, Madama Butterfly and Violetta were signature parts. She taught at the Rubin Academy of Music from 1976, becoming head of its vocal department in 1985. Richard Woitach American conductor and pianist, in New York, on October 3, aged 85. Born on 27 July 1935, he studied at the Eastman School and joined the Metropolitan Opera as a staff conductor in 1959, serving there until 1997. Loved and requested by the Met’s great conductors from Erich Leinsdorf onwards, Woitach was described by James Levine as the best operatic pianist he ever knew. He collaborated closely (and recorded) with Teresa Stratas and Jon Vickers.
Opera, May 2021