The great Russian mezzo-soprano and contralto Nadezhda Andreyevna Obukhova was born at Moscow, March 6, 1886. She died in Feodossia on August 15, 1961 after a long (1916-1948) and distinguished career as a star of the Moscow Bolshoi Opera House. Before her debut as Pauline in 1916 she studied in Moscow with professor Masetti.
Her many opera roles included Marina Mnishek (Boris), Marfa (Khovanshchina), Lubava, The Countess (Queen of Spades), Amneris, Eboli, Azucena, Carmen, Erda, Frika. The great range of her beautiful voice allowed her to tackle mezzo and contralto roles with equal ease. Awarded the high distinction of People's Artist of the USSR (1937) she was equally celebrated as a recitalist and known for her renditions of classical songs and Russian romances.
How famous was Obukhova's voice on the radio in popular romances is apparent from a moving passage in A. Solzhenitsin's novel "The First Circle". Here is a small piece from it:
"By the end of the century, Obukhova would be remembered as Chaliapin is today. And we are her contemporaries...
...As soon as the tubes warmed up, the music of stringed instruments sounded, and then the low, passionate voice of Obukhova flowed into the quiet room:
'No, it's not you whom I love so passionately,
Not for me the radiance of your beauty...'
It had to be that song, as though on purpose !"