Dmitri Vdovin

A good voice is not enough — it takes talent, too
Dmitri Vdovin
photo: Vanya Berezkin

How is it to work with young people from all over Russia?
Not only Russia. Mostly it is Russian-speaking singers from the former Republics of the USSR. We have young singers from the Ukraine a lot, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, Belarus… As I usually say, I am still living in the USSR.
You miss that period?
I miss that I was young at that time (laughs). The people were also more positive. They weren’t so nervous about tomorrow, they had confidence in the future. Of course there were bad sides, too. But when you are young it is not so important. There was a lot to compensate for our problems. But I wouldn’t like to go back now. Anyway, here I have some of the best aspects of that period. For example, this wonderful, warm international communication. Here we all are friends and we support one another. We had about 60 foreigners these past 8 years. Many of them became international singers and sometimes they sing together at Milan, Berlin, London, New York — and of course they support one another because that’s what we did here. It’s part of our policy to create a special atmosphere and teach young people how to live and work together.
What are the characteristics of this young generation?
I should say they are much more pragmatic and mostly in the good sense of the term. Sometimes of course they are more involved in financial situations, they have some ego problems. We were a lot different from them. But they are much more focused on their professional career and on how to create themselves, to improve themselves in readiness for the future. They don’t lose time, like we often did because of this confidence we had in the future and also because our professional area was protected. We had also a lot of state support. All this made us a little bit childish. Those kids today have only themselves, and not much support from any institutions. They have to train and develop their skills in order to get somewhere. Not just financially but in terms of lifestyle, as they have the chance to work with great musicians, stage directors, to appear at the most important Opera Houses all over the world, to travel a lot. Opera singing is still a chance for social advancement in Russia and other countries around Russia. Because, you know, very rich people don’t sing. Never.

When we arrived, his big office with the piano, the flowers and the incredible view was already full of young artists waiting for his advice. For the last eight years Dmitri Vdovin is the Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Young Artist Program. Artists from all over Russia come here to give an audition, he selects the best of the best and is in charge of training them. Dmitri Vdovin explains to Lina Stefanou why rich people never sing and seek the reasons why the Opera is probably moving to the Eastern countries. (NOMAS, Moscow, p. 107)