Denis Aleksandrovich Koroljov

born December 24, 1938 Moscow

Like with all Russian names ending on -ёв, he is often transliterated, pretty illogically, on -ev, i. e. as Korolev (just think of Gorbachev).
Koroljov was born on December 24th, 1938 in Moscow. In 1958, Koroljov enters the Moscow Chajkovskij Conservatory and studies with G. I. Titsa. He finishes in 1965.

In 1963, Koroljov takes part in the International Schumann Competition in Zwickau. He obtains one of the six honorable mentions.

In 1964, Koroljov participates in the International Enescu Competition in Bucharest and obtains a laureate title (6th place).

During his time at the conservatory, Koroljov takes active part in the work of the operatic studio, where he prepares such operatic roles as Lenskij, Almaviva, Rodolfo, Antonio (Obruchenie v monastyre/Betrothal in a monastery) with the conductors A. Shereshevskij and E. Ratser.

At the beginning of the season 1964/65, while still a student, Koroljov was accepted as a soloist by the Stanislavskij and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Musical Theater. During that season, he sang Lenskij, Ferrando. Ljonka (V burju/Into the storm by Tikhon Khrennikov), Pavka (Semya Tarasa/The Taras family by Dmitrij Kabalevskij).

In 1964, Koroljov is invited to sing Lenskij at the Bolshoj. That role will be important throughout his career.

In 1965, after singing Duca in Rigoletto, Koroljov is accepted by the Bolshoj.

In the fall of 1966, Koroljov takes part in the International Radio Corporations Competition in Munich and gets the first prize.

The German press wrote:
Münchner Merkur, September 24, 1966: We discoverd a first class singer, the Russian Denis Koroljov, who is already a soloist at the Bolshoj. In the cavatine from Prince Igor, we hear a bright melodious sound, a beautiful lyric voice with a top with heroic nuances, and a rock solid bottom.
Augsburger Allgemeine, September 28, 1966: Victorious competitor in the competition of singers was Russian Denis Koroljov, tenor with an excellent soft voice.
Bayerische Staatszeitung, September 30, 1966: The listeners without hesitation gave preference to the unconditionally very likable tenor Denis Koroljov after a dignified execution of his aria (USSR – first prize).

The Soviet press did not miss the event. So the newspaper Pravda wrote on on September 21, 1966: Among the singers the first prize went to the Bolshoj tenor Denis Koroljov, who had enormous success wiht the cavatine from Prince Igor.

The newspaper Soviet Culture wrote on September 24, 1966 an article Victory of Soviet musicians: Among the 96 young singers, two were from the USSR: D. Koroljov and the soloist of the Leningrad choir, G. Seleznev. The lyric tenor Denis Koroljov especially successfully sang works by Schubert, Mozart, and the arias of Vladimir in Prince Igor and of Lenskij. After demonstrating his pleasant timbre and high musical culture, Koroljov received the first prize.

In 1967 in the competition Schubert and the XX century, Koroljov got the 2nd prize. The special feature of that complex competition consisted in the fact that together with Schubert's lieder, it was necessary to perform works of contemporary composers, such as Krenek, Berg, Hindemith.

In 1970, Koroljov begins to work with the concert master of the Bolshoj orchestra, T. Z. Mosesova. In their joint programs were Russian romances, works by Western and Soviet composers. Those concerts were given in Moscow, Leningrad, Kostroma, Novosibirsk, Erevan and abroad. The two were later married.

During his years at the Bolshoj, Koroljov sang lyrical roles: Duca (1966), Almaviva (1966), Alfredo (1966), Indian Guest (1966), Simpleton (1968), Lykov (1970), Anatol Kuragin (1975), Markiz (Igrok, 1975), Manilov (creator of the role in Mjortvye dushi/Dead souls by Rodion Shchedrin, 1977), Mozart (1977), Ferrando (1978), Mikola (Semjon Kotko by Prokofyev, 1970), Berendej (1978); Zinovij Borisovich (Katerina Izmajlova, 1980), Antonio (Obruchenie v monastyre, 1983, )...

Among Koroljov's partners were: G. P. Vishnevskaja, E. V. Obraztsova, E. E. Nesterenko, A. P. Ognivtsev, Ju. A. Guljaev, Ju. A. Mazurok, B. A. Rudenko, G. V. Olejnichenko, A. A. Ejzen, T. I. Sinjavskaja, G. K. Ots, ....

Koroljov toured the USSR: from Riga and Tallinn to Chita and Jakutsk, from Leningrad to Ashkhabad and Frunze. He also toured foreign countries: Hungary, Poland, GDR, Bulgaria, Romania, France, FRG, Austria, the USA, Italy, ...

In 1975, the Bolshoj was invited to tour the USA for the first time. Koroljov sang the following roles: Markiz, Anatol Kuragin, Lenskij, and Simpleton. After each performance, he was positively acknowledged by the American press.

The New York Post wrote on July 12, 1975: An exceptional lyric tenor that would bring any opera house honor.
The Daily News wrote on June 30, 1975: The high, beautiful, powerful lyric tenor of Denis Koroljov is ideally suitable for Lenskij. In order to find an equal talent, it is necessary to go back to Ivan Kozlovskyj's records...
The Daily News wrote on July 6, 1975: ... and Denis Koroljov again repeated his excellent Lenskij.
The New York Times wrote on June 29, 1975: Denis Koroljov as Lenskij possesses an attractive beautiful tenor, which he uses very expressively and emotionally...
The New York Post wrote on June 30, 1975: Denis Koroljov as Lenskij was extremely attractive, by his beautiful face, by his interpretation of the role, by his beautiful voice and by the lyricism of his performance.

Koroljov's recordings include:
V burju (Ljonka, conducted by G. P. Provatorov); Skupoj rytsar/The miserly knight (Alber, conducted by G. Rozhdestvenskij); Igrok/The gambler (Markiz, conducted by A. Lazarev), Die lustige Witwe (Camille de Rosillon, conducted by A. Mikhajlov).

With Melodija, Koroljov recorded arias, romances, lieder by M. I. Glinka, P. I. Chajkovskij, S. Rachmaninoff, G. V. Sviridov, F. Schubert, R. Strauss.

Koroljov participated in concerts with orchestras of the All-Union Radio and Television, singing Russian and Soviet songs.

For many years, Koroljov taught singing at the Moscow Chajkovskij Conservatory.

Reference: Koroljov's website (defunct)

The above rave reviews from Munich and New York City prove, if anything, that professional opera critics were already back in the 1960s and 1970s just as competent as most Youtube posters are nowadays. Koroljov's voice is ill-placed, his diction mannered, his tone-production unfree, his top strained. In short: he is the classic example of what in German (and particularly in Austrian German) is described by the priceless term Knödeltenor, literally: dumpling tenor – he sings as if a large dumpling was stuck in his throat. Whoever was or is reminded of Kozlovskyj by Koroljov's Geknödel (knödeln means to sing like a Knödeltenor, in English I propose to coin the verb to dumpel, in which case Geknödel means dumpeling)... I repeat: whoever is reminded of Kozlovskyj by Koroljov's Geknödel is as deaf as a door post.

Denis Koroljov sings Erlkönig
In RA format

Denis Koroljov singsRigoletto: Serdtse krasavits
In RA format

Denis Koroljov sings Evgenij Onegin: Kuda, kuda vy udalilis
In RA format

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