RIA Novosti-Kultura (newsline)
From the article The Wife of the RF President Attended a Concert in Honour of Composer Pakhmutova
The wife of the RF President Svetlana Medvedeva last Friday attended a concert in honour of Alexandra Pakhmutova, who is celebrating her birthday in early November... During the performance the audience and Pakhmutova were treated to a number of surprises, to wit, a communication session with the ISS. And also some unexpected duets such as Joseph Kobzon and Dima Bilan.
Vecherni Chelyabinsk (newspaper, Chelyabinsk)
From the article by S Grigoryeva, Nastya Belkovskaya Will Get Her Prostheses
The family of our well-known compatriot Igor Belkovski have managed to raise a fantastic sum necessary for the prostheses to be made. We heard the good news from her uncle, Chelyanbink journalist Sergei Belkovski.
Our newspaper reported earlier how the young girl lost both legs as a result of a horrendous road accident in Moscow. It took Nastya ten months to learn to live anew.
In this time her family and friends were raising funds for German prostheses that would enable the girl to walk relatively normally. The tragedy was reported in the mass media but because of the economic crisis people were unable to donate much money.
Then the artiste Vladimir Vinokur advised Nastya’s parents that they should turn for help to Joseph Kobzon. Igor Belkovski and Joseph Davydovich have known each other for a long time.
Kobzon raised the issue with the Moscow government. And through his help the problem was resolved.
IA Tatar-inform (Kazan)
From the article Seven Years since the Terrorist Act at Dubrovka
Seven years ago, on October 23rd 2002, a terrorist act was committed at Dubrovka in Moscow. At 9.15pm on this day armed people in camouflage burst into the building of the Dubrovka Theatre centre in Melnikov Street. The musical Nord Ost was on, playing to an audience of 700. The terrorists announced that they were taking everybody – spectators and theatre staff – as hostages, and proceeded to mine the building… The following morning, after the Special Services had made several attempts to establish lines of communication with the militants, the member of the Duma, Joseph Kobzon, walked into the building. He soon after brought out a woman and three children… October 28th 2002 was declared a day of mourning for the victims of the terrorist act in the Russian Federation. On December 31st 2002 President Putin signed a decree to award Kobzon and Leonid Roshal Orders of Courage for their bravery and selflessness in risking their lives to rescue people.
Dinamo fetes Yashin
Dinamo FC commemorated the 80th birthday of the great Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin. This man lives on in the hearts and memories of more than one generation and not only among sportsmen but also people in general. He is deservedly called the Gagarin of football… The celebrations were attended by people from the world of sport and the world of song. Lev Leshchenko, Vyacheslav Dobrynin and Joseph Kobzon shared their impressions of recent matches played by Russian teams.
Vesti Rossia, 20.00
PRESENTER: Moscow is remembering Muslim Magomayev. A monument was inaugurated in Leontyev Way, where the singer lived, on the first anniversary of his death, and a new concert hall was named after him - Gulya Boltayeva, reporting from the commemoration event.
Joseph Kobzon, who called Magomayev a benchmark in art, sang one of his most popular songs, The Hope.
Joseph KOBZON, People’s Artist of the USSR: ‘There are many talented, memorable performers. But such outstanding personalities, as Muslim Magomayev are extremely rare - not just in the art of singing but in general.’
IA REGNUM (online)
The arts festival Days of Russian Culture will be held in Ivanovsk region from 27th October to 4th November...
The festival will start with a concert by the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Belorussia and Russia led by Merited Artist of Russia, Professor Alexander Yakupov. It will end on a high note on 4th November, which is the Day of National Unity, with a performance by People’s Artist of the USSR Professor Joseph Kobzon and the Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Ministry of the Interior conducted by the People’s Artist of Russia, Major-General Victor Yeliseyev.
Vesti Rossia, 11:00
Item No. 9 À. Golobev
PRESENTER: The Alexandrov Russian Military Ensemble is currently touring Poland. The tour is timed to coincide with the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the country from the Nazi invaders. Concerts will be given in more than ten cities. The main one involving Joseph Kobzon took place in Warsaw. The entire audience sang and danced along with the Alexandrovites.
Yekaterina Zorina on cases when military discipline can be waived.
Yekaterina Zorina’s report
CORR: The People’s Artist of the USSR is smiling as he walks along a rainy Warsaw street. Joseph Kobzon had not been to Poland for nearly 40 years and it seems that he had been looking forward to the reunion as much as his Polish audience.
KOBZON: We got a wonderful welcome. Despite nasty weather, the spirit is high. I am even remembering, with pride and joy, the time I won the 1964 Sopot Festival prize.
CORR: It was after winning in the Polish Sopot contest that Kobzon was awarded his first title – Merited Artist of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR. Then there was the Friendship International Festival and another first prize, this time in Warsaw.
The love of Polish audiences has proved to be strong. Today Kobzon is in Warsaw together with the famous Alexandrov Russian Military Ensemble, and it is a definite full house.
Normally you can tell how much a performance is looked forward to from the queues by the box office. If they are there the artist is in demand. There are no queues to the box offices of the Warsaw Palace of Science and Culture but this time this is not indicative because it is just that all tickets for the ensemble’s concert were sold out two months ago. The queues are now to get into the concert hall.
‘It was very hard to get tickets. We were literally on high alert. As soon as we knew about the tour we bought tickets immediately and were probably the first in Poland to do so. These are beautiful Russian songs, sometimes you can’t hold back the tears.’
CORR: While a rehearsal is on, the dresser Lyuba is ironing parade tunics in a military tempo. The Alexandrovites have already covered half of Poland on their tour.
Leonid MALEV, head of the Alexandrov Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army: This tour is also unusual, as it’s tied in with the 65th anniversary of the victory in the Second World War. It was on these very days that the Red Army was liberating Poland.
CORR: They are greeted with ovations everywhere. A lady from the audience told us that she had learnt Russian thanks to her love of the Russian Army’s choir, to be able to sing martial songs along with them.
Another devotee was not satisfied with just singing along and, during a rehearsal, asked to sing with the ensemble. Andzhei even started on Evening Bells. But then he got shy.‘When I have heard the maestro Kobzon I must be silent.’
From the article The Children’s Arts and Sport Festival Kinotavrik will take place in Sochi
The ninth International Children’s Arts and Sport Festival Kinotavrik will be held in Sochi October 31st – November 8th.
During the festival Joseph Kobzon, Mark Rudinshtein, Boris Grachevski and other art celebrities will meet the public...
From the article by Valeri Leontyev: To Grab Happy Moments from Time!
Valeri Leontyev gives three concerts in Israel. November 19th-21st will be momentous for all who can appreciate the talent of the singer and his much-loved songs – new and old, including some from the anniversary album, Years of Wandering, which is a mixture of new compositions and golden hits.
Joseph Kobzon said that, ‘Leontyev is in a continuous search, looking for new ideas for his shows and ballets. Very unfortunately, we have very few stars of this magnitude, artists who can keep their artistic individuality and the love of the public over many years. Leontyev is an amazing artist, who, unlike numerous other pop singers, has remained popular and in demand for 40 years, who is loved and admired. Leontyev carries on working furiously and this is why he is in such wonderful shape, both physical and artistic.’
Baltic Information Agency
From the article Half-a-Century-Old Palace and Thousands of Princesses
The Wedding Palace on English Quay is 50 on 1st November.
Even on its birthday Wedding Palace No 1 will not stop working for one minute. ‘Our main achievement is not the number of years but the couples we married,’ say the staff. There are many celebrities among those couples: marriage certificates were issued here to Joseph and Ninel Kobzon, Nikolai and Galina Valuev, Alla Pugachova and Phillip Kirkorov... And, of course, thousands of less famous St Petersburgers creating happy families...
Nevskoe Vremya (newspaper, St Petersburg)
From Victor Kazakov’s article, Joseph Kobzon: ‘Good Lord, What They Sing!’
The eminent singer is in favour of the reinstatement of censorship in art.
At 72, Joseph Davydovich still shines on the stage, and is an active member of the State Duma. After complicated surgery he has not become any less energetic or cheerful. His example inspires his peer audiences to also keep up their spirits. What is it that helps Joseph Kobzon to hold fast through life’s trials and tribulations, what are his guiding lights? This is what he told the NV correspondent in an interview.
‘Joseph Davydovich, I was surprised to hear that you support the idea of return of censorship?’
‘When I did the casting of young singers at the Five Stars Festival I listened to many songs and, pardon me, got a poisoning by the young performers. Not because I am an artist stricken in years. But because the quality was really too awful. They are young, capable, wearing chic outfits, many of them talented. But, Good Lord, what they sing! You see a singer, lovely figure, loads of sex appeal, then she caterwauls, “Lips a-pout, bums about, boobs tra-la-la.” I will forebear mentioning Shnur’s songs, smash hits such as “The filthy bitch – left me with my itch” or “Kiss me everywhere an’ all, I’m a grown-up girl”. What is this! I understand there is a genre of thieves’ songs sung at parties and so on. But they are not worth being taken to the big stage, to wide audiences.
‘I do agree that there ought to be art censorship. Please don’t confuse it with draconian tsarist censorship or anything of that kind. Censorship in art means an arts council. An arts council made up of genuine professionals, master performers, composers, poets. Their advice can’t be bad.’
CORR: ‘Do you like taking other people’s advice?’
‘I grew up in a period of renaissance. I was lucky. A whole constellation of true masters were active in the song trade at the time. They were still around and I was simply friends with most of them… And what great poetry did those composers lay to music! The poetry of Yevtushenko, Rozhdestvensky, Dolmatovsky… Could you give me any names of today’s authors that are as powerfully resonant? These days a young singer comes out on stage and announces grandly: ‘Both music and words are mine.’ It’s good at least that he says, ‘Words.’ We used to say, ‘Poetry.’
CORR: ‘And so you are a staunch orthodox?’
‘No, why? I do notice if there is anything good among the new crop. Even before Dima Bilan was swamped by adulation I had often mentioned liking the young man, graduate of Gnesin’s institute, for his ability to sing not only pop songs but the classics as well and for being a worthy thinking person, not one of those who are likely to choke in a wave of fashion or cheap fame. At the Slavic Bazaar festival in Vitebsk we stayed at the same small hotel and outside our windows girls were screaming, “Dima! Dima!” day and night, which does not surprise me at all. This is his time, his hour of glory. And I wish Dima to go through the fanfare test with honour, stay on the song stage for a long time and create not just a wave of popularity but something of true value.’
CORR: ‘You are known as an outspoken opponent of lip synching but wouldn’t you agree that if it were banned tomorrow all our much-loved pop stars of older generations would have to retire, since the power of their voices has long faded?’
‘The voice is a unique instrument capable of remaining young for many years if of course you nurture it and steadily look after it. I was forecast a vocal death many years back. I was the first in our country to do two or three concerts a day. But, as you can see, I’m still singing rather than miming. You should never under any circumstances spare yourself. An athlete training hard is always better than the one who is fond of having a rest.
‘When I moved into my first Moscow flat my neighbours were terrified: Kobzon would be bawling morning till night. I never opened my mouth while at home; no one ever heard Kobzon warming up his voice at home. But I never permitted myself to go on stage without preparing my instrument for work. I absolutely had to warm it up and get in a fit physical and breathing condition.
CORR: ‘You said once, “By helping people I’m paying back debts.” What did you mean?’
‘No one in Dnepropetrovsk, which was my home town I left to go to Moscow after the army, could believe it: how come Kobzon’s gone to Moscow to study! Meaning the Kobzons had been devious, pretending to be poor; just think of a fortune they must have forked out to secure his entry to a Moscow university! There were six of us children in our family and we were very poor indeed.
‘I came to Moscow wearing my soldier’s uniform since, having outgrown my size while in the army, I didn’t own a pair of ordinary trousers that would fit me. I stayed at a hostel and worked picking potatoes: a sack of potatoes earned potato-picking at a collective farm lasted me a winter. And there were always people who helped me: composers, poets, bureaucrats that I turned to. Teachers from the Gnesin Institute. Then came a time when I became sufficiently well-off and able to do some good for people. And I started doing it with the greatest pleasure. I don’t want any thanks in return. Boris Pastukhov, my Komsomol leader, used to say to me: “Look, when will you stop fussing about with your letters! Do you really think that everybody believes you are doing it out of the goodness of your heart?” To which I said, “What matters is that I think so and what bad may be spoken of me doesn’t worry me in the least.”
‘I have “my” orphanage for older children in Yasnaya Polyana that has been running for 25 years. Since my mother died I have also taken over the Tula orphanage for pre-school children. I do not just see them on holidays, distributing flowers and sweeties. I am aware of everything that is going on there, and of all their needs, including health care, furniture, bedding, redecoration of the buildings. This is a proper job.
‘A well-known Moscow journalist was sent by her paper to write a feature on “Kobzon’s houses”, to dig up dirt, so to speak. She arrived at Yasnaya Polyana, looked around the orphanage, talked to children and staff and then suddenly burst into tears. She was ashamed.’
CORR: ‘The press has lately been paying more attention to your health than ever before, there have been reports about the surgery you’ve gone through. How do things stand in reality?’
‘Premature hopes! (Laughing) This is of course what I say to my enemies. And I thank my friends for their support, letters, phone calls, kind words. My will has defied disease so far.’
CORR: ‘You used to smoke and drink but unlike many other artists you managed to stop in time.’
‘I smoked for 52 years but stopped as soon as I knew that it was a question of life or death. Life is more exciting! There was a period I was into drinking, but not to the extent of binges, and I never went tipsy on stage. But once I felt I was drinking a lot, so that it was beginning to affect my physical fitness and I caught myself thinking of how to skip a concert in order to spend an evening with friends, I took myself in hand and managed, as you say, to stop. A sober way of life, time spent meeting interesting people, working, giving concerts, is far more exciting than the jolliest of parties.
‘Besides, I don’t like being idle and have always got pleasure out of working my socks off so to speak. They say Kobzon is rich! He is. Because Kobzon has worked more than the others. I have not had a single square metre of state-granted living space in all my life. I always bought it. I worked and bought, worked and bought.’
CORR: ‘You have a big strong beautiful family. Are there never any conflicts or do you simply avoid washing your dirty linen in public?’
‘Family is my mainstay. But there is no need to idealise. Naturally, we help each other – always. But there’s no dearth of arguments. Once I refused to speak to my son for a whole year. When my children were in their teens our country was going through a disco boom and my wife and I stayed awake all night waiting for Andrei or Natasha to come home. Those were more dangerous times than today.’
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