Dovenman was born in Odessa on August 5 (or 7 depending on sources), 1911 in a middle-class Jewish family. During his childhood, he
sang frequently in public with his brother, through the city, one could see posters advertising The singing brothers.
Both sang also in a synagogue.
He first went to the opera as a child at the Opera in Odessa for a performance of Werther.
Apparently the Werther (Pechkovsky) took him in his arms.
After puberty, his brother lost his voice but for Dovenman his voice developed into a tenor.
His vocal talents were discovered early, however first he did not think of a musical career.
He studied in a technical school for the food-processing industry.
The director of the factory, where Dovenman began to work, having found out his voice,
sent him to St. Petersburg for vocal studies.
First he studied in a music school,
then at the Leningrad conservatory
in the class of
Sofya Vladimirovna Khekimyan Akimova-Ershova
(March 15 (27), 1887 Tbilisi, Georgia - January 16, 1972 Saint Petersburg, CCCP) - the well-known singer and spouse
of Ivan Ershov.
With Ivan Ershov, Dovenman studied interpretation.
He made his debut at the conservatory where he sang Rodolfo and
Lenski. His debut on stage took place at the end of 1930s at the Mariinski as
Vladimir (Prince Igor).
After his debut as Vladimir, Dovenman sang Sinodal, Duca, ...
Suddenly a scandal, Dovenman, singing in a live concert on radio, did not look st the rehearsal schedule well enough
and missed a rehearsal at the Kirov. He was dismissed with promise to be reinstated in a few month.
The Finnish war broke out and Dovenman was drafted. He served as a soloist in a military ensemble until 1944.
Dovenman was in Leningrad during the blockade.
In 1943, at the Maly Opera the tenor singing Fenton fell ill 2 days before the performance, Dovenman was asked
if he knew the part. Due his ability of fast sight reading, he said yes. He did not leave that theater for the next 26 years.
He sang the whole tenor repertory except Otello and Canio sometimes several times a week.
Once he sang Calaf in the evening, while he sang the Astrologer in the afternoon.
Once he was asked to sing Don Carlo at the Bolshoi in a completely different edition.
He had two days to learn the new material.
In his repertoire were practically all
tenor parts from the repertory of the opera house: from the Duca and Lenski up to
Calaf, Arrigo and German.
Dovenman continued singing into his 70s. His last role being Triquet.
Dovenman did not mind singing small parts such as Bomeli, Steuerman, ...
He gave his last concert in the 1970s.
Reference 2 (©Yuri Shalyt)