Obituary: Coloratura Soprano Bela Rudenko Dies at 88

By Francisco Salazar

On Oct. 13, 2021, Coloratura Bela Andreevna Rudenko died at the age of 88.

Born on August 18, 1933, in Anthracite, Ukraine, the soprano studied at the Odessa Conservatoire and graduated in 1956.

In 1955, she made her debut at the Odessa Opera and ballet theatre and became a soloist for the Kiev Opera in 1956. From there, she began touring throughout the world in France, Japan, USA, Canada, Great Britain, Mexico, Brazil, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Philippines, Italy, Germany, and Yugoslavia.

At the age of 27, she was awarded the title of people’s artist in Ukraine and was the Laureate of the USSR State Prize in 1971.

A year later she made her debut at the Bolshoi Theatre as Ludmila in “Ruslan and Lyudmila” and would remain a soloist with the company from 1973 to 1988. With the company, she performed numerous operas including “War and Peace,” “The Barber of Seville,” “La Traviata,” and “Lucia di Lammermoor.”

Outside the standard repertoire, she was known for singing the works of Rachmaninoff, Grechaninov, Rimsky-Korsakov, Arensky, Glinka, and Glière.

In 1995, she gave her farewell performance as a singer at the Bolshoi Theatre in Tchaikovsky’s “Iolanta.”

Andreevna as taught at the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire from 1977 to 2017 and in 1992, the coloratura soprano worked with the Bolshoi Theatre development fund. She was also Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Theatre Opera from 1995 to 1999 while teaching at the Kiev Conservatory.

She is survived by her daughter Kateryna Rudenko and her son Teymur Oglu Polad Bulbul.