The eminent tenor Ivan Vasiliyevich Yershov (1867 — 1943) is ranked among the greatest masters of the Russian opera theatre. All his creative life was connected with Petersburg, Petrograd and later Leningrad.
It was in 1895, when Yershov was admitted to the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, which stage he was devoted to for ever since that moment. There exactly the real glory came to Yershov, making him enjoy the great popularity.
Ivan Yershov was rather а unique tenor singer among both of his predecessors and contemporaries, being endowed with unprecedented human and artistic qualities. Of course, he resorted to lyrical parts at the beginning of his career. However, it was not the uttermost passion of а young singer, but the prescription of theatre stock company. Meanwhile Yershov was eagerly striving for his intrinsic heroic nature to be revealed at the stage.
Не was the true born actor of tragical courageous lofty talent able to expose perfectly the noble spirit of dauntlessness and fortitude, so as the anguish of woe and desperation. Yershov possessed the declamatory skill, which was as impressive as his excellent plastic gesticulation. His interpretation was based on the scrupulous emotional and psychological penetration into the imaginative kernel of performed personages. The great actor's art embraced various states of human being — from triumph to downfall.
The diversity of his repertoire looks striking even nowadays (wise magician Finn from Ruslan and Lyudmila by Glinka; valorous Siegfried from The Ring of Nibelungs by Wagner; faint-hearted Grishka Kutyerma from Tale of the Invisible Kitezh Town by Rimsky-Korsakov; appalling Kashchey the Immortal from opera of the same name by Rimsky-Korsakov; valiant Florestan from Fidelio by Beethoven; freedom-loving Mikhaylo Tucha from Pskovityanka by Rimsky-Korsakov). It happened in 1916 when the spectators of Moscow Bolshoy Opera Theatre were amazed by Yershov acting as Grishka Kutyerma in the Tale of the Invisible Kitezh Town by Rimsky-Korsakov. From the book "Ivan Yershov" by Abram Gozenpud ("Сотроzitor Publishing House • St Petersburg 1986, 1999).
G. Verdi. Recitative and romance of Radames. Aida (Music text example)
G. Bizet. Aria оf Jose. Carmen
R. Leoncavallo. Recitative and arioso of Canio. I Pagliacci
V. Bellini. Romance of Arthur. I Puritani
Ch. Gounod. Cavatina of Faust. Faust
Ch. Gounod. Cavatina of Romeo. Romeo et Juliette
G. Verdi. Aria of Othello «Tu? Indietro Fuggi!». Othello
G. Verdi. Aria of Othello «Dio! Mi potevi scagliar». Othello
А. Rubinstein. Stanzas оf Него. Nero
А. Rubinstein. Scene and aria of Feramors. Feramors
Р.-F. Auber. Ваrcarolle of Mazaniello. La Muette de Portici
J. Offenbach. Song of Hoffmann. Les Contes d Hоgmаnn
J. Offenbach. Romance of Hoffmann. Les Contes d Hoffmann
S. Prokofiev. Arioso of Truffaldino. Lоvе оf Three Oranges