Russian singer (mezzo-soprano); born on July, 7, 1939 in Leningrad.
Father - Vasily Alekseevich Obraztsov (1905-1989).
Mother - Natalia Ivanovna Obraztsova (1913-1994).
First husband - Vyacheslav Petrovich Makarov (* 1938), a physicist.
Second husband – Algis Martselovich Zhiuraitis (1928-1998), conductor.
Elena has a daughter from her first marriage - Elena Vjacheslavovna Makarova (* 1966), who is a
singer (soprano) and a grandson - Alexander Makarov (*1988).
Memories of Elena’s childhood are connected to war and blockade. Her father left for the front and the family remained in besieged Leningrad up to
the end of winter of 1942. Later, Elena, her mother and grandmother were evacuated across Ladoga lake to a small town Ustjuzhnu of the Vologda
area where they lived until summer of 1945. After war living was hard and difficult. Her father returned after a year, her mother had to work and
Elena was given to a kindergarten.
At the age of 5 Elena started singing. She sang what she heard, mainly Strauss's waltzes. As a schoolgirl she had her first lessons in music – she sang
for herself or listened to recordings. She spent hours sitting at a loudspeaker during opera transmissions. Since childhood music was the central point
of her life. She liked domestic musical evenings where also her father, an engineer by profession, performed: he was an excellent baritone and
besides he played violin. From a business trip to Italy he brought a big collection of recordings from which the little girl got acquainted with
voices of the well-known singers of that time - Gigli, Caruso, Galli-Curzi.
From 1948 to 1954 Elena was a member of the Children's chorus of the Leningrad Palace of Pioneers. The founder and the permanent head of chorus
was Maria Fedorovna Zarinskaya. " This chorus has affected me very much", - the singer once admitted. - "There, I actually was “born” as a musician.
Maria Fedorovna was certainly an oustanding person and teacher. She made me “fall in love" with singing and was the first person who convinced me
that I can become a singer ". Elena was the indispensable participant of all concerts of school amateur performances. On these occasions she
performed with great pleasure gipsy romances and popular songs of these years.
From 1954 to 1957 in connection with business translocation of her father, the family lived in Taganrog, then a year in Rostov – at river Don.
In Taganrog Lena met the remarkable teacher Anna Timofeevna Kulikova with whom she studied for two years at Tchaikovsky Musical school.
At a contest concert at her school she was heard by the director of the Rostov musical school, M. A. Mankovskaja and under her recommendation
in 1957 Elena was accepted in the school at once on 2-nd level and after only one year, in August 1958, after successful audition, she was admitted
to preparatory branch of the Leningrad conservatory.
Sceptically concerned with their daughter’s “hobby” singing, her parents insisted that she went to a technical college, but Elena - still on preparatory
branch - continued her vocal studies: from 100 persons, taking part in the tests the vocal faculty accepted only three, and among them - Elena
The year 1962 already brought great success to Elena’s life. Two gold medals - at the World Festival of Youth and Students in Helsinki and at the
M. I. Glinka - All-Union Competition of Vocalists in Moscow - caused an invitation to Bolshoi Theatre. In 1963/64 she was offered a season contract to
prepare Marina Mnishek's part, Polina and Amneris.
In the class of professor A. A. Grigorieva (A. N. Kireev's opera class) she graduated from Leningrad state conservatory in 1964. Elena was allowed to
graduate from conservatory without further attending the lectures. On May, 11, 1964 her final examination took place, on which Sofia Petrovna
Preobrazhenskaja, chairman of the commission, gave to Elena Obraztsova a “5 plus” - an extraordinary high estimation which has not been given
to any student by Leningrad conservatory for about 40 years.
On December 17, 1963, still a student, Elena Obraztsova debuted on the stage of Bolshoi Theatre in the role of Marina Mnishek in M. P. Mussorgsky's
opera "Boris Godunov" with tremendous success - amazing and exciting all Moscow.
Soon after, she travelled with the Bolshoi to Milano and made her debut on October 28, 1964, as Marfa in Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina. The following
month she portrayed Maria in War and Peace at La Scala before leaving with the Bolshoi to Montreal's Expo 67. Since that time, Obraztsova
established herself as one of the major stars of the Bolshoi. She was also greatly in demand elsewhere, most particularly at the Metropolitan Opera
in New York.
Everything that followed in the largest cities and capitals of the world - Paris, London, Vienna, Milan, Munich, Hamburg, Salzburg, Prague, Berlin,
Barcelona, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, etc. - brought to Elena Obraztsova the glory of becoming one of the most brilliant stars of
vocal art of our time. ...
Elena Obraztsova - "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix...
С.Saint-Saëns "Samson et Dalila", Act II
"Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix..."
ORCHESTRA of the BOLSHOI
Conductor-Algis Zhuraitis (1928-1998)
May 6, 1989 Moscow