Maxim Mikhailov

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Maxim Mikhailov
Native name Максим Дормидонтович Михайлов
Birth name Maxim Dormidontovich Mikhailov
Born (1893-08-25)August 25, 1893
Kol'tsovka, Kazan Governorate, Imperial Russia
Died March 30, 1971(1971-03-30) (aged 77)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Occupation(s) Operatic bass

Maxim Dormidontovich Mikhailov (Russian: Максим Дормидонтович Михайлов; 25 August [O.S. 13 August] 1893 – Moscow 30 March 1971) was a Russian bass.[1] His son, Igor Mikhailov (1920-1983) was the bass of the Bolshoi for several decades. His grandson Maxim Mikhailov (born 1962) is also a bass singer.[2]

Mikhailov was born in Kol'tsovka, Kazan Governorate. He had no musical training beyond that as an archdeacon in the Russian Orthodox Church, but was a physical phenomenon with enormous depth and volume. He was directly recruited as a singer by the Soviet authorities, his beard shaved, and sent to study in preparation for the Bolshoi Theatre. He became Joseph Stalin's favorite singer and most famous interpreter of the role of Ivan Susanin in the reworked "patriotic" Soviet version of the opera of that name, formerly and since better known as Mikhail Glinka's A Life for the Tsar. Mikhailov sang Susanin nearly 400 times from his first performance of the role in 1939 to his last stage appearance in 1957. He also was frequently invited by Stalin to sing and drink with him late at night in Moscow Kremlin.

In addition to Susanin, Mikhailov was a renowned interpreter of other bass and basso profundo roles in Russian opera: Pimen in Boris Godunov, the miller in Dargomyzhsky's Rusalka, Khan Konchak in Prince Igor, the Viking merchant in Sadko, Gremin in Eugene Onegin.

Mikhailov recorded many of his trademark arias under the conductors Nikolai Golovanov, Alexander Melik-Pashaev, Alexander Orlov, and Samuil Samosud. Among his recordings of songs, particularly well known with the pianists Nikolai Korolykov and Naum Walter are "O gentle autumn night" by Glinka, [Dargomyzhsky's "The Civil Servant", Viktor Kalinnikov's "On the Old Burial Mound", "The Blacksmith" by Yuri S. Sakhnovsky (1866–1930) and "The Seafarers" by Konstantin P. Vilboa (1817–1882). Mikhailov also performed and recorded famous folk songs, such as "Song of the Volga Boatmen", in Rachmaninov's arrangement for solo singer and piano, and "The sun rises and the sun sets" and "Through the wild mysterious Taiga" with the Russian Folk Orchestra conducted by D. Ospioc.