Tamara Milashkina

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Tamara Milashkina
Тамара Милашкина
Milashkina in Verdi's Falstaff, 1962
Tamara Andreyevna Mirnenko

(1934-09-13)13 September 1934
Astrakhan, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Died10 January 2024(2024-01-10) (aged 89)
Vienna, Austria
EducationMoscow Conservatory
OccupationOperatic soprano
SpouseVladimir Atlantov

Tamara Andreyevna Milashkina (née Mirnenko; Russian: Тамара Андреевна Милашкина [Мирненко]; 13 September 1934 – 10 January 2024) was a Russian lyric and dramatic soprano. A member of the Bolshoi Theatre from 1958 to 1989, she also appeared at La Scala in Milan, throughout Europe and at the Metropolitan Opera. She focused on roles by Tchaikovsky such as Lisa in Pique Dame and Tatyana in Eugene Onegin. She was the first Soviet soprano to be trained at the studio of La Scala in Milan, and her Italian repertoire included Verdi's Leonora in Il trovatore, Elisabetta in Don Carlo and Aida, and Puccini's Tosca.

She often appeared alongside her husband, the tenor Vladimir Atlantov, on stage and in recordings. She made many recordings, including less frequently performed Russian operas such as Tchaikovsky's The Oprichnik and Rimsky-Korsakov's The Noblewoman Vera Sheloga, and videos of Dargomyzhsky's The Stone Guest, Rimsky-Korsakov's Sadko, and Pique Dame.

Life and career[edit]

Tamara Andreyevna Mirnenko was born in Astrakhan on 13 September 1934.[1][2] She first worked as a librarian.[1] Although she had little musical training, she applied for studies at the Moscow Conservatory and was accepted due to the natural quality of her colourful voice.[3] She studied there with Elena Katulskaya [Wikidata]. In 1956 she received the Gold medal of the International Youth Festival.[4] She became a member of the Bolshoi Opera in 1958[4] while still studying,[3] making her official debut as Tatyana in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin;[1][4] she remained one of the leading sopranos until 1989.[4] Her roles included Lisa in Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame, Katharina in Shebalin's The Taming of the Shrew, Liubka in Prokofiev's Semyon Kotko, Fevroniya in Rimsky-Korsakov's The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya, Verdi's Leonora in Il trovatore and Aida, and Puccini's Tosca.[2] Her Russian repertoire also included Yaroslavna in Borodin's Prince Igor, the Tsarina in Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tale of Tsar Saltan, Natasha in Prokofief's War and Peace, Maria in Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa; another Italian role was Elisabetta in Verdi's Don Carlos.[1][4]

She studied further at the opera studio of La Scala in Milan in 1961/62, where she appeared in 1962 as Lidia in Verdi's La battaglia di Legnano,[1][4] conducted by Gianandrea Gavazzeni, as the first Soviet soprano.[5] In Bolshoi productions, she performed there also in 1964 as both Lisa in Pique Dame and Natasha in War and Peace, alongside Juri Mazurok as Prince Bolkonsky, and Alexander Vedernikov as General Kutusov.[6]

Milashkina as Tatyana and Yury Mazurok as Onegin in a 1971 Bolshoi production

Milashkina appeared at the Vienna State Opera from 1971 first as Lisa, with great success,[1] later also as Leonora, Tosca, Aida and Elisabetta.[7] She performed as Tosca at the Opéra de Paris in 1969, and both Tosca[1] and Tatyana at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1974,[5] as Tosca also at the Opéra de Paris.[1] She appeared as a guest at other leading opera houses of Europe, such as the Oslo Opera House, the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki, and at the Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest in 1974.[1] She performed at the Greek National Opera as Leonora in Il trovatore and Lisa in 1974 and as Tatyana in Eugene Onegin in 1976.[4] She toured extensively with the Bolshoi, including to New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1975[5] for Eugene Onegin and Pique Dame; she performed alongside her husband, tenor Vladimir Atlantov, in Onegin conducted by Fuat Mansurov[8] and in Pique Dame conducted by Yuri Simonov.[9] Reviewer Harald C. Schonberg from the New York Times summarised about Onegin that there "was the special kind of authenticity that only Russians can supply in this singularly beautiful opera".[8]

In 1973, she received the title People's Artist of the USSR,[1][2][4] and the Glinka State Prize in 1982.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Milashkina was married to the tenor Vladimir Atlantov;[1] they had a daughter, Lara, born in 1963.[10] After her retirement from the Bolshoi, they lived in Austria.[11]

Tamara Milashkina died in Vienna on 10 January 2024, at the age of 89.[11][12]


Milashkina recorded extensively for Melodiya.[4] She recorded Tchaikovsky's early opera fragment Undina in 1963, with tenor Yevgeny Raykov and the Moscow Radio Opera Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Yevgeny Akulov.[13] In 1974 she recorded her most famous role, Lisa in The Queen of Spades, opposite Atlantov, with Bolshoi forces conducted by Mark Ermler.[14][15] She recorded Tosca the same year, again with Atlantov and conducted by Ermler; a reviewer noted that she was a "thrilling if unsubtle singer" who lived the role, summarising: "hers is a Tosca to rank with some of the finest".[16] In 1979 she recorded Eugene Onegin, with Yuri Mazurok in the title role and again Atlantov and Ermler; a reviewer wrote that she was "clearly an intelligent artist and compensates for her occasional lack of vocal allure by her identification with a role which suits her voice type".[17] In 1980 she recorded the role of Natalya in Tchaikovsky's The Oprichnik, conducted by Gennady Provatorov.[18] She recorded the title role of Rimsky-Korsakov's The Noblewoman Vera Sheloga in 1985 in another Bolshoi production conducted by Ermler.[19] She also recorded Mazeppa, and the soprano solo in Shostakovitch's 14th Symphony.[15]


Milashkina took part in a 1979 Bolshoi DVD production of Dargomyzhsky's The Stone Guest conducted by Ermler, as Donna Anna alongside Atlantov as Don Juan and Alexander Vedernikov as Leporello.[20] In 1980, a Bolshoi production of Rimsky-Korsakov's Sadko was recorded as DVD, with Atlantov, Milashkina and Irina Arkhipova, conducted by Yuri Simonov.[21] She appeared as Lisa again in a 1983 DVD recording of Pique Dame from the Bolshoi, conducted by Simonov, with Mazurok, Atlantov and Elena Obraztsova as the Old Countess.[22][23]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kutsch, K. J.; Riemens, Leo (2012). "Milaschkina, Tamara". Großes Sängerlexikon (in German) (4th ed.). De Gruyter. pp. 1324–3125. ISBN 978-3-59-844088-5.
  2. ^ a b c "Tamara Milashkina". The Free Dictionary. 13 September 1934. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Tamara Milashkina". Soviet Life. Embassy of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics in the USA. 1986. p. 39. Retrieved 16 January 2024.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Tamara Milashkina". Greek National Opera. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  5. ^ a b c Bagnoli, Giorgio (1993). Tamara Milashkina. La Scala Encyclopedia. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-671-87042-3. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  6. ^ "Milan Dazzled by Bolshoi". The New York Times. 22 November 1964. Retrieved 16 January 2024.
  7. ^ "Vorstellungen mit Tamara Milaschkina". Vienna State Opera. 2024. Retrieved 16 January 2024.
  8. ^ a b Schonberg, Harald C. (28 June 1975). "Opera: Bolshoi Adds New Dimension to 'Onegin'". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  9. ^ Schonberg, Harald C. (4 July 1975). "Bolshoi 'Pique Dame' Is the Real Thing". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  10. ^ "Vladimir Andreevich Atlantov". historicaltenors.net. Retrieved 16 January 2024.
  11. ^ a b "Die Volkskünstlerin der UdSSR, Tamara Milaschkina, starb im 90. Lebensjahr". Pravda (in German). 11 January 2024. Retrieved 16 January 2024.
  12. ^ "Ушла из жизни Тамара Милашкина". classicalmusicnews.ru (in Russian). 10 January 2024.
  13. ^ "Tchaikovsky: Complete Operas". prestomusic.com. 2024. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  14. ^ "The Queen of Spades by Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky performed in Russian". operadis-opera-discography.org.uk.
  15. ^ a b Nowotny, Walter (31 August 2019). "Geburtstage im September / Tamara Milaschkina wird 85". Online Merker. Retrieved 16 January 2024.
  16. ^ Levine, Robert (4 July 1975). "Tosca À La Russe–Exciting, If Noisy". classicstoday.com. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  17. ^ Moore, Ralph (February 2018). "Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893) / Eugene Onegin". musicweb-international.com. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  18. ^ "Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Gennadi Prowatorow Опричник (The Oprichnik)". metason.net. 2024. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  19. ^ Corfield Godfrey, Paul (September 2015). "Nicholas Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908) / The Noblewoman Vera Sheloga". musicweb-international.com. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  20. ^ "Stone Guest DVD". ccmusic.com. 2024. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  21. ^ "Sadko Atlantov, Milashkina, Arkhipova (Bolshoi 1980) (DVD)". vaimusic.com. 2024. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  22. ^ McLellan, Joseph (28 October 1990). "Classical Recordings". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  23. ^ Horowitz, Joe (24 December 2019). ""Pique Dame" at the Met — and at the Bolshoi". artsjournal.com. Retrieved 15 January 2024.

Further reading[edit]

  • Who's Who in Opera, edited by Maria F. Rich, Arno Press, 1976.
  • The Metropolitan Opera Encyclopedia, edited by David Hamilton, Simon & Schuster, 1987; ISBN 0-671-61732-X

External links[edit]