Romance went through the centuries and didnt become old-fashioned, it will go with us into the future, and will light and nourish hearts of next generations.
Word romance (romanza) came to us from Spain, where it had the meaning of poem on Spanish (Romance language), written for musical performing, and in Spain this genre appeared under effect of Arabic poem about lost beloved. Collections of such songs were titled as romancero.
The beginnings of romance in Russia are in vocal chamber music of XVIII century: cantus, aria, Russian song, and finally romance- lyrical piece for voice and accompaniment. And term romance in Russian literature was used for the first time by Gavriil Derzhavin and Grigory Khovansky.
In the beginning of XIX century in Russia romance gave place to a sentimental category of Russian art song category of romance song which follows folklore traditions. This genre reaches its fullest flower in creative work of such poets as Koltsov, Alexey Merzlyakov and Nikolay Tziganov (Among the even valleys, Dont sew for me, mother, red sarafan). A.S. Pushkin had influenced particularly on the Russian vocal art. His poetry gave impulse for development of romance lyrics. Several talented romance composers appear: Gurelev, Varlamov, Alyabyev, Verstovsky. In the middle of XIX century fields of classic and everyday life romance are divided. Genre of Russian romance influenced on creative life of gypsies a lot. Varvara Panina was among the most well-known Gypsy singers of the middle of XIX century.
Beginning of XX century is highlighted by development of technical progress. Use of gramophone and records contributes to the aim of romance popularization. Due to the survived recordings we can hear voices of stars of city romances of Anastasia Vyaltseva, Nadezhda Plevitskaya, Mikhail Vavich, Natalia Tamara and of course Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin.
Among performers of romance in the early XX century Alexander Vertinsky stands out for his particular creative style. At that time Boris Fomin creates his masterpieces: By a long road, Your green eyes, Ah, guitar-friend.
The 30th years -romance is performed in rhythm of tango, by means of radio and portable gramophone in each house can be heard voices of Ivan Kozlovsky, Sergey Lemeshev, Klavdia Shulzhenko, Izabella Uryeva, Vadim Kozin.
In 1929 great turning point happened. During the All-Russian music conference in Leningrad romance was acknowledged as a counter-revolutionary genre, and consequently was not recommended for stage performing. So the genre of romance met decades of underground being, and it has to live together either along with the Soviet song, or with folk song of remote areas. Workers, or thieves' songs, or gypsy folk music. In Petersburg romance survived due to the lofty poetry style and academic conservatoire sphere, best representatives of which has been never afraid of writing romances for movies (A. Petrov, I. Shvarz, Gladkov, etc.)
1960th 1970th years were years of Valery Agafonov and Yury Borisov.
My romance came to me not at once. I think that before one begins to sing the romances he has to gather life experience, in other words, you have to endure love, happiness, going away of the person who is close to you. One is not able to perform a romance without such trial. Romance is like a short life, and in the short period of time singer has to be in time to tell the story of life its not so easy.
In childhood I heard firstly classic romance, and even tried to perform in music school songs by Varlamov, Gurelev, Dargomizhsky, and later, - of course, Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Rahmaninov. Before participating in the competition Spring of romance I tried my skills in singing romance on the small stages, and only later when I felt myself confidently, or rather say having felt the genre of romance, I decided to try something of bigger scale. In that way my romance career has started.
Id like to say as well that its very important to meet in this genre a real professional and friend, because romance is a chamber genre, and every detail is perfected in it, and only with a true musician its possible to make a masterpiece. For me such a person was Mikhail Aptekman. For me and for many others he was a real master, purposeful, persistent, efficient, and the one who has got the feeling of music. Misha always presented his ideas with confidence, but still he was always open for an honest dispute, because it is a joint process, and only by means of good dispute its possible to create music. So in my life this man played a very important role, he was a teacher, friend, master and inspirer.
Of course its not possible not to mention my pedagogue Sofia Alexandrovna Yalisheva (national artist of Tatarstan, honored artist of RSFSR, soloist of Mariinsky Theatre) who has inspired me to perform classic romance (Rahmaninov, Glinka, Dargomyzhsky, Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Schumann, Saint-Saens, Grieg, and others). With the help of these two professionals I won the First Prize of the competition Romasiada (Moscow), and received bunch of complements from no one less than the well known and by me adored master of romance Nikolay Slichenko, and singer of the same scale Nani Bregvadze. I was astonished to the depth of my heart by fact that I was standing with these masters on the same stage. And later it was a lot of different concerts on various stages, in various cities and countries.
Im also thankful to the competition Spring of romance on which I was awarded Grand Prix, and rather say Im thankful to its organizer Galina Kovzel. This delicate and beautiful woman has brought on the stage wonderful idea Holiday of romance, and its a big event for St.-Petersburg because people in this city sincerely love romance and will always listen to it.
I thank my destiny for the meetings with great people who devoted all their life to romance, and I hope that romance will sound for ever in my life.