Kozlovskii, Ivan Semenovich
Born Mar. 11 (24), 1900, in Mar’ianovka, near Belaia Tserkov’, in present-day Kiev Oblast. Soviet Russian lyric tenor. People’s Artist of the USSR (1940).
Kozlovskii, the son of peasants, studied under E. A. Murav’-eva at the Kiev Institute of Music and Drama from 1917 to 1919. He served in the Red Army from 1919 to 1924, participating in the productions of the Poltava Traveling Theater of Music and Drama. It was in this theater that Kozlovskii sang his first leading part—the title role in Gounod’s Faust. In 1924 he was a soloist at the Kharkov Opera Theater; in 1925, at the Sverdlovsk Opera Theater; and from 1926 to 1954, at the Bolshoi Theater of the USSR.
Kozlovskii is an outstanding representative of the Soviet school of vocal music. His clear silvery smooth voice, with a beautiful mellifluous timbre and a free upper register, his free natural breathing, his fine ear for music, his great artistic taste, and his acting abilities enabled him to create vocal and dramatic images that have become a part of the history of Soviet opera. Paying particular attention to vocal expression, Kozlovskii brings out the musicality of words and emphasizes the importance of musical declamation and phrasing.
Kozlovskii’s best roles have included the Simpleton in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov (State Prize of the USSR, 1949), Lenskii in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, and the title role in Wagner’s
Lohengrin. He was also very effective in the roles of Berendei in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden, Vladimir Dubrovskii in Napravnik’s Dubrovskii, the Prince in Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, and Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata.
From 1938 to 1941, Kozlovskii was the organizer and artistic director of the concert Opera Ensemble. He staged a number of operas, in which he sang the principal parts (for example, Massenet’s Werther and Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci). Seeking to produce operatic concerts with tense stage action, Kozlovskii trained the members of his ensemble to synthesize singing and dramatic acting. Concertizing occupies an important place in his career (he has given concerts since 1919).
Kozlovskii’s performances of art songs by M. I. Glinka, A. S. Dargomyzhskii, P. I. Tchaikovsky, and S. V. Rachmaninoff are marked by an elegiac quality, a wide range of emotions, and varied moods. He is also a fine interpreter of works by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Liszt. His broad repertoire includes old art songs and Russian and Ukrainian folk songs. A recipient of the State Prize of the USSR in 1941, Kozlovskii was awarded three Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Badge of Honor, and various medals.
REFERENCESSletov, V. I. Kozlovskii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951.
Kuznetsova, A. S. Narodnyi artist: Stranitsy zhizni i tvorchestva I. S. Kozlovskogo. [Moscow, 1964.]