Kanshin was not only a singer (tenor then bass) but also an impressario.
During 1894-96, he sang in the USA before making his debut at the Bolshoi.
Starting in 1900, he started his impressario activity in the Russian province.
At the beginning of the 1900s, he took singing lessons to improve his technique
with I. V. Tartakov.
During 1913-17, he was soloist at the St. Petersburg Theatre of Musical Drama,
German, Parsifal, José, ..
After 1917, he switched to bass roles.
After the revolution, he sang in Odessa, Tiflis and Baku. In Baku, he helped to open the Music Conservatory.
In 1922, he went to Italy, never to return to Russia.
He sang in opera houses throughout Europe. He settled in France. In Paris, he sang with the Russian opera
(The Golden Cockerel, Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, Prince Igor).
In the 30s he was
alternating at La Scala with Pinza.
He sang in solo concerts, some evenings were dedicated to Russian culture devoted to Pushkin. He was in a concentration camp where
he probably died.
His repertory included: Pélléas, Sobinin, Bayan, Finn, Prince (Rusalka),
Don Juan (Stone guest), Vladimir Igoryevich, Grigori, Andrey Khovansky, Tucha,
Sinodal, Lykov, Sadko, Lensky, Raoul, Faust, Roméo, Gérald, Werther,
Alfredo, Duca, Radames, Canio, ...
His partners included: M. V. Veselovskaya, N. Gulyayev, S. Yu. Levik, ...
He recorded for Gramophone in 1911.
I mentionned the hard-working tenor-impressario Kanshin who was engaged for
the second year and was quite successful as Parsifal, German, José etc.
But his singing lacked ease and freedom, the top notes were strained and mangled.
After the October revolution, he disappeared from view, but in the middle of
the thirties I heard him on the radio singing the bass role in the Tale
from La Scala. He was being acclaimed as an important artist.
He was singing well, covering for the Italian basses Pinza and Pasero.
It was only then that I understood the reasons for his failure as a tenor -
he was a bass. His strong middle and powerful low notes were quite unusual for
The Levik Memoirs; An Opera Singer's Notes.
Ezio Pinza made his Scala debut in 1921/2 season. He sang there also in the 1922/3; 1923/4 and 1933/34 seaons.
His Wagner repertoire (In Italian, of course) at La Scala was I Maestri Cantori (Pogner), Lohengrin (Enrico) and Tristano e Isotta
(Marke). He sang for the last time on 20 May 1924 the role of Tigellino in Boito’s “Nerone” with Pertile, Raisa, Bertana, Journet,
Franci). Then returned in 1933/4 only to sing “Mefistofele”,
Alekseï Kanshin sang only one season at La Scala, and only one role: Il Viandante in “Siegfried” January 26 1927 and February 4
and 12, with the Spanish tenor Isidoro Fagoaga, the Spanish soprano Maria Llacer Casali and the Argentinean conductor Ettore Panizza.
By then, Pinza had left La Scala. Provided by Juan Dzazopulos.
While Kanshin could have been a cover, without singing, is possible.
However he never sang Kitezh at La Scala, could have Levik been in error and he forgot it as it could have been that Kanshin sang the
role with the Russian Opera.
16239b 10-11-11 Sadko: Ariya Sadko, sc 1 - Oy ty temnaya dubravushka 4-22329
Sadko: O you dark oak-grove (Rimsky-Korsakov)
16241b 10-11-11 Tishina, romans (Kashevarov) 4-22330