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Singing in Russian


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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments List of Abbreviations List of Recordings Part One: From Start To Stage Chapter 1: Russian Alphabet History of the Alphabet The Alphabet Chapter 2: Russian Vowels Hard Vowels-Stressed Hard Vowels-Unstressed: Vowel Reduction Soft Vowels-Stressed Soft Vowels-Unstressed: Vowel Reduction ? (ee-kratkoye) Vowel Clusters Stress in Russian Words Music Analysis Example Summary Chapter 3: Russian Consonants Hard Consonants Soft Consonants Hissing Consonants ?, ?, ?, ?, and ? Russian Consonant ? Hard and Soft Signs Voiced and Voiceless Consonants Consonant Clusters Double Consonants Consonants from the Same Pair Different Consonants Exceptions Pronunciation of Unstressed Syllables Music Analysis Example Summary Chapter 4: A Little Bit of Grammar The Parts of a Word Basic Parts of Speech Short Words Interrogative Words Word Order in Russian Sentences Russian Punctuation Summary Chapter 5: Pillars of Creative Performance Demands of the Genre Articulation and Pronunciation Phrase Interpretation Text "Invisible Inspiration" Music Analysis Example In Summation Chapter 6: Difficulties and Delights of Singing in Russian: Essays by Non-Russian Singers Russian for American Singers: a First-Hand Experience, by Peter Clark Singing in Russian, by Phyllis Farmer "I Feel Personal Connection to the Russian Repertoire", by Mary Phillips The Challenges and Joys of Singing in Russian, by Patrick Carfizzi "Russian Music-Part of My Heart", by Sasha Lazard Chapter 7: Russian Style in Performance: Essays by Russian Musicians Russian Romance: Pronunciation, Style and Interpretation, by Valery Aliev Some Advice for Singing Russian Music by Ruben P. Lisitsian Russian Music Is Still Undiscovered, by Vera Tariverdieva Part Two: Music of the Russian Soul Chapter 8: Russian Composers and World Music Historical Comparison A Brief History Selected Russian Classical Composers Chapter 9: Russian Opera The Development of Russian Opera Selected Operas Chapter 10: Recommended Russian Operatic Repertoire - Arias Soprano Mezzo-soprano Tenor Baritone Bass Chapter 11: Recommended Russian Art Song Repertoire - Romances Russian Folk Songs, Traditionally Performed by Classical Singers "Old Russian Romances" From 19th Century to Beginning of the Soviet Period Works of the Soviet and Post-Soviet Composers Chapter 12: Literary Inspiration Operas Romances Cross Currents Selected Russian Poets and Writers Selected Non-Russian Poets and Writers Appendix 1: Working with the dictionary Appendix 2: Compilation of Sung Exercises Bibliography Index About the Author

About the Author

Emily Olin is lecturer at the Yale School of Music, having taught the course "Russian for Singers" there since 1996. In addition to teaching, Ms. Olin has had a concert career and she serves on the jury of the International Doluhanova Art Song Competition in Russia. She also maintains a private studio in New York where she coaches professional singers in the development of their vocal classical repertoire.


Singing in Russian focuses specifically on helping voice students understand, master, and perform Russian vocal music. It begins by giving an overview of the Cyrillic alphabet and the basics of Russian grammar and diction, and then goes on to explain how singers can use the music to guide their pronunciation of this language. The author provides many linguistic and musical examples to explain techniques, provides exercises, uses English sounds to compare their Russian alternatives, and recommends songs. The book includes a CD that gives concrete examples of how to sing vowels, words, and phrases. * American Reference Books Annual *
This volume is an outstanding guidebook for anyone who is interested in Russian lyric diction. Before the publication of this volume, the resources for learning to sing in Russian have been sparse, and Olin points out inaccuracies in the books that are available. While some singers may lament the lack of IPA transcriptions in the volume, this book is intended as a tool to singing Russian both intelligibly and intelligently-that is, with accurate pronunciation and an understanding of the text. Additionally, the suggestions for repertoire, and the historical perspectives on literary and musical figures are invaluable. For the student of lyric diction, Singing in Russian is highly recommended. * Journal of Singing *

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