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Sergej Larin or (Lithuanian: Sergejus Larinas; Russian: Серге́й Ларин) (March 9, 1956 – January 13, 2008) was one of a number of operatic tenors from the former Soviet Union to achieve success in the West. His vocal talent was acknowledged by some of the world's leading conductors including Riccardo Muti, Claudio Abbado and Zubin Mehta. Larin was also a recitalist, with several programs of songs preserved on disc.
Larin was born in Daugavpils, Latvia. After completing a degree in French philology in Gorky and undergoing voice training in Lithuania under the well-known Lithuanian tenor Virgilijus Noreika, he made his debut at Lithuania's opera and ballet theatre in 1981, singing Alfredo in La Traviata. Nearly a decade of performances at various Soviet venues passed before Larin made his debut in the West. Larin's international career started after he signed a contract with the Opera Theatre of Bratislava and moved to Slovakia, following which he made a sensational debut at the Vienna State Opera. His Covent Garden debut took place in 1991, where he sang Don José in Bizet's Carmen, while Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca served for his debuts at both Paris and the Metropolitan Opera.
Still, the prevailingly lyric impact of his strong tenor made him the choice for important Russian roles at several theatres. His experience with Boris Godunov began with the Fool, took him next to the role of the wily Shuisky, and finally to the False Dmitri[disambiguation needed]. The Metropolitan Opera heard his first performances of the Pretender when the Kirov visited in 1992. In 1994, Larin sang Dmitri with Abbado at the Salzburg Festival, a production recorded and honored critically as an important achievement by all participants. Salzburg audiences heard Larin's Don Carlos in 1998.
Another Italian role in which Larin received positive attention was Calaf, sung in a production of Puccini's Turandot mounted in China and recorded, video-taped, and distributed globally. Within the respectable cast, Larin received some complimentary notices and benefited (as did other cast members) from the extensive publicity surrounding the event.
In addition to Boris Godunov and Turandot, two other recordings feature noteworthy work by Larin in the company of other commendable singers. His Andrei in Neeme Järvi's recording of Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa placed him in the company of Sergei Leiferkus, Galina Gorchakova, Anatoly Kotcherga, and Larissa Diadkova, the top Russian singers in the 1990s. Similarly, his Sergei in Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District cast him with exemplary singers save for a somewhat over-parted protagonist.
Larin recorded several discs of Russian songs for the Chandos label, exploring Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky in discs entirely devoted to their works and offering another recital devoted to songs of "The Mighty Handful" (Rimsky-Korsakov, Cui, Balakirev, Borodin, and Mussorgsky) as well as two discs of miscellany, including Medtner, Gretchaninov, Rubinstein, and Kalinnikov. His accompanist in the project was Eleonora Bekova.
Notes and references
- In English, his first name is also sometimes spelled as 'Sergey' or 'Sergei'
- Obituary: Sergej Larin, 51, Russian Tenor Who Found Acclaim in European and American Houses, Has Died', Opera News, New York Metropolitan Opera Guild, 15 January 2008. Accessed 16 January 2008
- Erik Eriksson, Allmusic,