Death of outstanding Russian mezzo, 80

Death of outstanding Russian mezzo, 80


norman lebrecht

September 20, 2019

We have been informed of the death in St Petersburg of the venerable mezzo-soprano Irina Bogacheva, the artist whom Dmitry Shostakovich chose for the premiere of his song cycle to poems of Marina Tsvetaeva.

Irina was the city’s foremost mezzo, the Mariinsky’s regular Carmen, Azucena and star of all the deep-voiced Russian operas, notably Marta in Khovanschina.

She was a sought-after teacher at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire. Olga Borodina was among her star pupils. Her husband was head of the conservatoire’s opera-directing department. Her daughter Elena is a pianist.


  • Olassus says:

    She’s richly resonant in Tikhomirov’s movie of Prince Igor (1969) and appears too in Gergiev’s video of Ruslan i Lyudmila (with Netrebko, 1995), which I haven’t heard.

    She was still singing at 80, scheduled for Babulenka (Prokofiev) at the Mariinsky next month.

    Does anyone know why sources differ on “-chova” and “-cheva” here? Че = che and Чё = cho, no?

    • lohengrinloh says:

      To ease the typing ‘ё’ [jo] is very often written as ‘e’. Still, the native speakers would still pronounce it as ‘ё’.

      Phonetically, ‘Bogachova’ would be more close to the correct pronunciation, I would say.

      While pronouncing ‘Bogacheva’ one might even change the accent.

      She was an institution in Leningrad/St. Petersburg. Galina Vishnevskaya and her both survived the blockade. R.I.P.

    • Brettermeier says:

      “Does anyone know why sources differ on “-chova” and “-cheva” here? Че = che and Чё = cho, no?”

      Because the English transliteration is the worst. Both e and ё are transliterated as e. (And yes, that is stupid.)
      In Russian, e is more or less ye, and ё is yo.

      If there’s an ё (not e!) in a word (like with highlanders, there can be only one), then that’s where the emphasis is. But, most times the ё will be written as an e (doesn’t change the pronunciation, though).

      Same thing with Gorbachёv, Khrushchёv, or Pёtr Tchaikovsky.

      But you most probably pronounced Gergiev right all along. 😉

  • Peter van Laarhoven says: