The outstanding singer and soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre Elena Kruglikova (1907-1982) was born in Podolsk. From early on in her childhood, she felt that she had a calling for singing and was engaged by amateur choral groups. In 1924 she graduated from the high school in Podolsk and entered the vocal class of the musical college (named after the brothers Anton and Nikolai Rubinstein) which was part of the Moscow Conservatory. In 1933 she graduated with honors from the Moscow Conservatory, where she studied in the classes of Maria Vladimirova (sister of the soprano Valeria Barsova), and then Ė of Xenia Dorliac. In 1931-32 she was engaged as a soloist of All-Union Radio and between 1932 and 1956 she was engaged as a soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre. Kruglikovaís art is exemplified by an honesty, vitality and simplicity combined with a great warmth, poetry, soft lyricism and musicality. "She had a wide range, free in all registers, and a remarkably beautiful voice - wrote Valeria Barsova. Ė one could sense a deep, restrained artistic temperament."

Elena Kruglikova was one of the best performers of the role of Tatiana in Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin." Her partner in this opera, the tenor Solomon Khromchenko noted "trepidation, lyricism and emotion in her performance of Tatiana. She did not play Pushkin's heroine. On stage, she was Pushkin's Tatiana. " Among the other roles created by Kruglikova at the Bolshoi theater, were Iolanta, Vera Sheloga, Elsa in "Lohengrin," Oksana in "The Slippers", the Countess in " Le nozze di Figaro " Eteri in Z.Paliashviliís "Abesalom and Eteri", Sieglinde, Matilda in "Guillaume Tell", Antonida in "Ivan Susanin", Xenia in "Boris Godunov", Bela in A.Alexandrovaís opera of the same name, Halka, Masha in "Dubrovsky" Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni" and Tamara in the "Demon." She created vibrant national characters in Ivan Dzerzhinskyís operas based upon the novels by Mikhail Sholokhov: Natalia in "Quiet Flows the Don" and Lushka in "Virgin Soil Upturned." Between 1969 and 1976 she taught at the music school of the Moscow Conservatory and from 1961 - the conservatory itself.

Kruglikova often performed as a concert singer. Her large chamber-music repertoire included songs and romances by Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Brahms, Grieg, Schumann and others Ė and often performed in collaboration with the pianist Alexander Goldenweiser. She also devoted individual concerts to performances of Russian folk songs. In the concert presented on this disc she performs songs in treatments by Russian and Soviet composers (Rimsky-Korsakov, Balakirev, Liadov, Krasev, Shishov, Koval, Saliman-Vladimirov, Mosolov, etc.). In concert her audience was attracted to the noble and moving character of the performance, and her attention to subtle nuances. Despite being an opera artist, on the concert stage, she rarely resorted to gestures and relied instead on expressive and subtle facial expressions. This album is not only the first solo CD devoted to this singer, but also the first and only opportunity to hear her in a live performance. This concert was the only recital recorded of Elena Kruglikova

M. Nikiforov