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Entries / Utesov L.O., (1895-1982), singer

Utesov L.O., (1895-1982), singer

Categories / Art/Music, Theatre/Personalia

UTESOV Leonid Osipovich (real name Weisbein Lazar Iosifovich) (1895-1982), singer, actor, jazz band leader, People's Artist of the USSR (1965). Studied at the Faig Odessa Commercial School. In 1912 he started been acting at variety theatres in Moscow and Odessa, and in 1922 in Petrograd (later Leningrad). He played major roles from the Opera Palace Theatre's (13 Italianskaya Street) classic repertoire, such as Silva by I. Kalman, and The Fair Helen by J. Offenbach (together with E.I. Time). In 1923 he premiered his solo program From Tragedy to Trapeze. Between 1922 and 1927 he played in Mendel Marantz (D. Freedman) and Article 114 of the Criminal Code (V.E. Ardov and L.V. Nikulin) at the Free Theatre. He also gave public readings, performing tales by I.E. Babel and M.M. Zoshchenko). In mid-1928 he started gathering members for his first jazz band, and on 8 March 1929 made his debut on the stage of the Maly Opera Theatre (today the Mussorgsky Opera and Ballet Theatre) with the Tea-Jazz program, presenting the public a new musical style and the theatre genre of a continuous music variety show. From the autumn of 1929 on, Tea-Jazz was the musical core of the Music Hall (in 1929-36 it played in the building of Palace Theatre). Utesov convinced I.O. Dunaevsky to join the group as composer and music director, and was the first performer of many of his songs. In 1937 he moved together with his jazz orchestra to Moscow. Utesov's creative period in Petersburg was marked by the birth of Jazz in Russian, the movie Jolly Fellows (1934), and the increasing popularity and recording of Jazz songs and compositions. As a singer Utesov received recognition from the public through his popular repertoire: From Odessa Prison, and At a Samovar with my Masha. Later he sang Soviet classics (Heart, Moscow Windows), to which his soft intonation granted long-lasting charm. Though Utesov paid his debt to the official mass, his variety style seamed questionable for Soviet ideologists. In 1958 the soundtrack for the movie Jolly Fellows movie was rerecorded without his participation. Throughout the 1930s Utesov's Jazz band was full of masters and virtuosos. He lived in St. Petersburg in 1928-37 at 21 Mayakovskogo Street (memorial plaque installed).

Work: Actor's Proceedings. Moscow; Leningrad, 1939; Sing Along! Moscow, 1961; Thank You, Heart! Moscow, 1999.

References: Сараева-Бондарь А. М. Дунаевский в Ленинграде. Л., 1985; Неизвестный Утесов: К 100-летию со дня рождения: Сб. М., 1995.

A. L. Porfiryeva.

Ardov (Zigberman) Viktor Efimovich
Babel Isaak Emmanuilovich
Dunaevsky Isaak Osipovich
Faig G.
Fridman David
Kalman Emmerich (Imre)
Mussorgsky Modest Petrovich
Nikulin Lev Veniaminovich
Offenbach Jacques (real name Eberst Jakob)
Time Elizaveta Ivanovna
Utesov Leonid Osipovich (real name Weisbein Lazar Iosifovich)
Zoschenko Mikhail Mikhailovich

Italyanskaya Street/Saint Petersburg, city, house 13
Mayakovsky St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 21

Записки актера. М.; Л., 1939
Неизвестный Утесов: К 100-летию со дня рождения: Сб. М., 1995
С песней по жизни. М., 1961
Спасибо, сердце! М., 1999
Сараева-Бондарь А. М. Дунаевский в Ленинграде. Л., 1985

The subject Index
Mussorgsky Opera and Ballet Theatre
Music Hall