Obituary: Galina Pisarenko Dies at 88

By Francisco Salazar

On Oct. 23, 2022, Russian soprano Galina Pisarenko died at the age of 88. 

Born in Leningrad on Jan. 24, 1934, began studying piano at the Gnessin State Musical College and also studied economics at the University of Moscow. She also studied foreign languages at the Maurice Thorez Institute for Foreign Languages of the Moscow State Linguistic University,

Following her graduation in 1957, she went to the Moscow Conservatory and studied with Nina Dorliak. She would graduate in 1961.

Shortly after she became a member of the Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre Moscow Academic Musical Theatre where she would remain until 1990.

Among the opera she performed with the company included “La belle Hélène,” “La finta giardiniera,” “Don Giovanni,” “May Night,” “The “Tsar’s Bride,” “Così fan tutte,” “L’elisir d’amore,” “Manon,” “Iolanta,” and “La bohème.”

Outside of Russia, she performed at the Komische Oper Berlin from 1972 to 1976 as well as in Tokyo, and Rome.

In 1991, when a group of performers mostly from the Academic Musical Theatre formed the Moscow New Opera, Pisarenko joined them and directed the company from 1994. She also taught at the Moscow Conservatory and was regarded as one of the best modern voice teachers.

Among her students were Elena GusevaAlbina Latipova, Irina Romishevskaya, Albina Shagimuratova, and others who became prominent opera singers and won international competitions. She gave master classes in Austria, Ecuador, Greece, Japan, Poland, Portugal, and South Korea, and authored books on the art of singing.

Pisarenko was also a member of the International Tchaikovsky Competition and other vocal competitions and founded the Nina Dorliak Competition. She was also awarded the title of People’s Artist of the RSFSR and was president of the Moscow Mozart association.

Her voice survives through numerous recordings including Rachmaninoff’s “The Bells,” and songs by Karol Szymanowski, which she performed alongside legendary pianist Sviatoslav Richter. She also recorded Dargomyzhsky’s “Rusalka.”