Tatiana Furtas: Chuvash songs take for the soul
Article in the newspaper “Suvar” No. 48 dated December 9, 2022 (Russia, Kazan) about the concert in the city of Kazan.
Tatiana Furtas: “Chuvash songs take for the soul”
At the end of last week, a live concert “With Love for My Motherland” by the author’s project “With Love for My Motherland” took place, which included the presentation of a concert program and a subsequent conversation with the audience performed by opera singer Tatyana Furtas and pianist Valentina Arkhipova. They introduced the audience to the works of Russian and Chuvash composers. Tatiana Furtas performed songs and romances very beautifully. It was very interesting to listen to Chuvash works performed by a Russian singer. In the Chuvash culture, the genre of opera developed later than all peoples. The first steps of the Chuvash opera are F. Vasiliev, G. Hirbyu, A. Aslamas. In the opera “Shyvarman” F. Vasiliev raised the Chuvash folk song to an unattainable height.
Tatiana Furtas spoke very actively about Chuvash composers. She sings Chuvash songs without an accent, we all thought she was a Chuvash, but I was wrong. The singer is from a mixed family. Father is Ukrainian, mother is Russian. I would like to know why she connected her work with the Chuvash song. Before the concert, I went to find out what nationality she was, as a very interesting surname. She just smiled at my question, then I found out why. Valentina Arkhipova started a conversation with me, saying that singers need to protect their voice before performing, so they need to be silent. Opera singers do not talk at all before going on stage, since the voice apparatus has already been put in a certain position, therefore it is undesirable to knock it down.
- You sing so beautifully in Chuvash. What is your nationality?
- Thanks for the kind words! I am Russian, my mother is Russian, my father is Ukrainian. They met in the Urals, and then moved to live in the city of Alatyr. I love the music of Chuvash composers. If I don’t speak Chuvash, but I learn songs quickly. I also sing in English, French, German, as well as in Hindi (the state language of India), which I do not know, but I sing songs in this language. Whatever language the song is written in, I always translate it into Russian, study the content, thoughts, feelings, and pass everything through my heart. And not only the general content, but also additionally translate each word separately. I meet with native speakers, consult with them so that the words are heard correctly on stage.
- Tatyana, you are an opera singer, laureate of international competitions. Please tell us about your creative work.
- Now I work at the Department of Musical Instruments and Solo Singing of the Chuvash State Pedagogical University named after Yakovlev. I received my higher education here, and then in Nizhny Novgorod – at the vocal department at the Nizhny Novgorod State Conservatory. M.I. Glinka. Then I was invited to work at the Chuvash State Pedagogical University named after Yakovlev and the Chuvash State Opera and Ballet Theatre, where I worked for 7 years. In recent years, I have been actively engaged in concert and performing activities, before the pandemic I often went on tour to Italy, Germany, visited France, Austria, and Thailand. She also performed with an orchestra. I especially remember the concert in Thailand.
- In which country did you like the audience the most?
- Every country is good in its own way. However, in Italy the audience is more receptive to classical music. In my opinion, they have more musicality in their souls and in their hearts than others. So, concerts there often start at 21.00 and go on for 3-4 hours. End after midnight, but they are in no hurry to disperse. Opera is in their blood. It was also well received in Germany. And it should be noted that in Germany a lot of people are interested in Russian culture. For the first time, I thought that it would be very difficult for me to perform works in German, as there are many combinations of consonants that are uncomfortable for singing. He was wrong. Since childhood, I have listened to the music of Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, but as for the German language, my love for it came through one musician – a native of Italy, but a German by birth. It was through him that I came to know the beauty of this language. He found me through the Internet and offered to sing in German. He said that my timbre is very suitable for playing German Lieder. I told him about Italian arias, that they are mainly in my repertoire. He asked to listen to one piece of Mozart, previously unfamiliar to me, I agreed. I was so disturbed by the performance of Mozart’s Abendempfindung by the German singer Barbara Bonny that I, of course, agreed. And now German songs from Barbara Bonny’s repertoire are also in my repertoire.
- Are the songs of Chuvash composers part of your repertoire?
- Of course. And by the way, I not only sing them, but I can also talk about them, as, for example, today during a conversation after the performance of the concert program. – Valentina Anatolyevna, I also wanted to know about you. Please tell us about yourself. – I have been living in the Chuvash land for a long time, as soon as I got married. She spent her youth in Kazan from the age of 12 to 23. First she studied at the music school at the conservatory, then at the conservatory. Studied for 11 years. And so for me Kazan is my hometown. When I graduated from the conservatory, my husband and I began to live in Cheboksary.
- Are you a Chuvash?
- No, I am Mari, I was born in the city of Yoshkar-Ola. I love Chuvash music very much. Chuvash songs are very close to Mari songs. They are in my heart. There are many musicians in our family. Sister – Elina Arkhipova – composer. Her son, Grigory Arkhipov, is the conductor of the Opera and Ballet Theatre. We are all dedicated to music, as a family. The fact that we started this cycle of concerts in Kazan, my second hometown, is very gratifying for me.
- Admission to this concert is free. Is this a benefit concert?
- I won a grant for the implementation of this project in the Union of Theater Workers. And this allowed us to make the concert free for the audience. In Kazan, we give the first concert of this project, the next one will be in Shumerla, and then in our city – Cheboksary, in a historical place – the mansion of the merchant Efremov, which now houses an art gallery of Russian and foreign art. An exhibition dedicated to the heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812 will soon open there. We will add two more works to the program that relate directly to that era.
- Tatiana, please tell us how long you have been working together with Valentina Anatolyevna?
- A long time ago. With Valentina Anatolyevna, we learned many works in various languages, mainly opera arias and whole parts. And in 2021, when there was still a pandemic, they presented to the public a concert of works by Russian, German, Italian, French composers, it was simultaneously held online, with broadcast around the world. It was the prize for third place in an international competition organized by an American opera star promotion company. We presented works by composers from many countries, and included in the concert program, including works by Chuvash composers. In general, Chuvash music is very beautiful, we chose mainly lyrical melodies that touch the soul. As for the work “Favorite Cheboksary”, it is both solemn and lyrical at the same time, I really like it, it looks like a hymn to the city. It is very popular. It is sung both in Chuvash and in Russian.
- Today you sing the songs of Anisim Aslamas the most. Is this your favorite composer?
- His music takes the soul, fascinates. His music is connected with Chuvash melos. His works are the most in my repertoire, I really like him. He was incredibly talented and musically gifted. So, when he was studying at a music school, the St. Petersburg composer Ivanishin came there to present scenes from his new opera “Narspi” to students. He played the opera on the piano, and Aslamas was immediately able to repeat the longest passage, the overture, without notes by ear. He heard, listened and remembered everything. Ivanishin was delighted with such abilities of Anisim. In addition to the fact that God gave such a talent to Aslamas, he was also very hardworking and diligent. He was also a participant in the Great Patriotic War. From 1942 until the victory, he liberated Berlin and Warsaw. He has many medals. All Chuvash composers, whose works we performed today, they are all war veterans. Therefore, the music of war times and the concept they are interconnected. Another favorite composer is Timofey Fandeev. In 1945 he liberated the Far East and China. These two composers worked at our Pedagogical University. It is also very expensive for me. Timofey Fandeev studied music under the guidance of his father, who was an excellent accordion player, even making the instruments himself. Since childhood, he grew up in the world of music. Fandeev, Aslamas and Khirbyu are the Chuvash composers closest to my soul.
- Thanks for the interview. Come visit us again.
- We’re happy to. As soon as you call.