Kanshin was not only a singer (tenor, then bass) but also an impressario.
1894–96, he sang in the USA before making his debut at the Bolshoj.
In 1900, he started his impressario activity in the Russian province.
In the early 1900s, he took singing lessons to improve his technique
with I. V. Tartakov.
1913 to 1917, he was a soloist at the St. Petersburg Theatre of Musical Drama, singing
German, Parsifal, José, ..
After 1917, he switched to bass roles.
After the revolution, he sang in Odessa, Tiflis and Baku. In Baku, he helped to found the conservatory.
In 1922, he went to Italy, never to return to Russia.
He sang in opera houses throughout Europe, even at La Scala. He settled in France. In Paris, he sang with the Russian opera
(The golden cockerel, Legend of the invisible city of Kitezh, Prince Igor).
He sang in solo concerts, some evenings were devoted to Pushkin. He was in a concentration camp where
he probably died.
His repertory included: Pélléas, Sobinin, Bajan, Finn, Prince (Rusalka),
Don Juan (Kamennyj gost), Vladimir Igorevich, Grigorij, Andrej Khovanskij, Tucha,
Sinodal, Lykov, Sadko, Lenskij, Raoul, Faust, Roméo, Gérald, Werther,
Alfredo, Duca, Radames, Canio, ...
His partners included: M. V. Veselovskaja, N. Guljaev, S. Levik, ...
He recorded for Gramophone in 1911.
I mentioned the hard-working tenor-impressario Kanshin who was engaged for
the second year and was quite successful as Parsifal, German, José etc.
But his singing lacked ease and freedom, the top notes were strained and mangled.
After the October revolution, he disappeared from view, but in the middle of
the thirties I heard him on the radio singing the bass role in the Tale
from La Scala. He was being acclaimed as an important artist.
He was singing well, covering for the Italian basses Pinza and Pasero.
It was only then that I understood the reasons for his failure as a tenor –
he was a bass. His strong middle and powerful low notes were quite unusual for
The Levik Memoirs; An Opera Singer's Notes.
Ezio Pinza made his Scala debut in the 1921/2 season. He sang there also in the 1922/3, 1923/4 and 1933/34 seaons.
His Wagner repertoire (in Italian, of course) at La Scala was Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Pogner), Lohengrin (Heinrich) and
Tristan und Isolde (Marke). He sang for the last time on 20 May 1924, the role of Tigellino in Boito's "Nerone" with Pertile, Raisa,
Bertana, Journet, Franci. Then he returned in 1933/4 only to sing "Mefistofele".
Aleksej Kanshin sang only one season at La Scala, and only one role: Wanderer in "Siegfried" on January 26, February 4
and February 12, 1927, with the Spanish tenor Isidoro Fagoaga, the Spanish soprano Maria Llacer Casali and the Argentinean conductor
By then, Pinza had left La Scala. Provided by Juan Dzazópulos.
Kanshin may have been a cover without singing, that's still possible.
However, he never sang The legend of Kitezh at La Scala, that's an error of Levik. Perhaps the broadcast was from elsewhere; Kanshin
performed the work with the Russian Opera in Paris.
16239b 10-11-11 Sadko (Rimskij-Korsakov): Oj, ty tjomnaja dubravushka 4-22329
16241b 10-11-11 Tishina (Kashevarov) 4-22330