Medea Mei-Figner


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(b Florence, 4 April 1859; d Paris, 8 July 1952). Russian soprano of Italian birth. She married the tenor nikolay Figner in 1889. She studied (as a mezzo) in Florence and made her début (Sinalunga, 1874) as Azucena, appearing subsequently in Turin (the Queen in Hamlet with Maurel), Florence, Odessa, Barcelona and Madrid. She sang in South America with Tamagno and Figner, and by 1886 she was singing soprano roles. In April 1887 she sang Valentine (Les Huguenots) with Figner at the Imperial Theatre, St Petersburg. After opening the summer season at Covent Garden with Gayarre and D’andrade in La favorite, she and Figner returned to the St Petersburg Opera where they reigned until their divorce (1904) and where she remained until 1912. P. I. Tchaikovsky chose her as the first Lisa in The Queen of Spades (1890) and she was the first Iolanta (1892). She appeared in the premières of Eduard Nápravnik's Dubrovsky (Masha, 1895) and Francesca da Rimini (1906). Her repertory included Tat'yana, Natal'ya (Oprichnik), Marguerite (Faust), Carmen, Violetta, Desdemona, Gioconda, Mimì, Tosca, Elsa, Elisabeth and the three Brünnhildes. Admired for her handsome presence, she combined a high degree of musicianship with a rich flexible voice. She remained in Russia until 1930, singing (until 1923) and teaching. Between 1901 and the late 1920s she made at least 23 recordings.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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