Stepanova, Elena Andreevna
Born May 5 (17), 1891, in Moscow; died there May 26, 1978. Soviet lyric-coloratura soprano. People’s Artist of the USSR (1937).
The daughter of a voice instructor, Stepanova studied under M. Polli. From 1912 to 1944 she appeared as a soloist with the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. Possessing a voice of rare beauty, range, and power, as well as purity of timbre, Stepanova had an exceptionally light, virtuoso technique. She studied and performed at the Bolshoi Theater’s Opera Studio, an opera workshop directed by K. S. Stanislavsky, who exerted considerable influence on her development as a singer and actress.
Stepanova sang the roles of Antonida and Liudmila in Glinka’s Ivan Susanin and Ruslan and Liudmila, as well as several roles in operas by Rimsky-Korsakov, including the Swan Princess in The Tale of the Tsar Saltan, Volkhova in Sadko, the title role in The Snow Maiden, the Queen of Shemakha in The Golden Cockerel, and Marfa in The Tsar’s Bride. She also sang Gilda and Violetta in Verdi’s Rigoletto and La Traviata and the title role in Delibes’s Lakmé. She gave concerts until 1950. Stepanova was awarded two orders and various medals.