Memorial House-Museum of Leonid V. Sobinov

"Have You Heard It..."
The exhibition's structure:
  1. Yaroslavl.
  2. Moscow.
  3. S.- Petersburg.
  4. European Triumphs.
    • La Scala.
    • Grand Opera.
    • Madrid.
    • Berlin.
    • Results.
Photoalbum: (descriptions are available only in russian yet)
Note: "Have You Heard It..." - the phrase from the popular Russian romance "Singer". Composer - A. Rubinstein, author - A. Pushkin. Contemporaries associated it with L.Sobinov.

Memorial-House Museum of L.V. Sobinov - view from the Sobinov avenue.

In 1995 the first and unique memorial museum in Russia was opened. It was Memorial-House Museum of Leonid V. Sobinov.


Leonid V. Sobinov Leonid Sobinov (26. 05. 1872 - 14.10. 1934) - the outstanding Russian opera lyrical tenor. He graduated from Moscow University, Legal Department, and School of Music and Drama of Moscow Philharmonic Society. He has been the Bolshoi Theatre soloist since 1898, the soloist of the Mariinski Theatre in S. - Petersburg since 1901 and he actively performed on the best world opera stages within the period from 1904 till 1914. L. Sobinov worked as the first elected Director of the Bolshoi Theatre in 1917 - 1918. In 1923 the singer was titled as Merited Artist of Soviet Republic. And in 1934 he started his career as the Artist Director of the Opera Studio named after K. S. Stanislavski.

L.V.Sobinov, A.V.Nezhdanova and K.S.Stanislavski in the day of awarding the Order of the Red Banners. 1923. The name of Leonid Sobinov is standing in a line with other famous persons of Russian Silver Age Culture as F. Shalyapin, S. Rakhmaninov, A. Block, K. Stanislavski etc. Sobinov and Shalyapin, both, these names are the faces of Opera Art of the end of XIX - the beginning of XX c. heir creation completed the whole page not only in the Russian Opera Art but in the world one.
The Sobinov Family. The father of the singer (Vitali Vasilevich Sobinov) is sitting at the table L. Sobinov was born in 1872, 26 May, in Yaroslavl. His family belonged to petty-bourgeoisie level. The singer remembered about the period of childhood as the most happy and calm one within his life. Always his memories were connected with his mother, who died very early, but thanks to her wonderful singing Sobinov started to sing himself. After the father's death L. Sobinov redeemed brothers and sisters heritage shares and ordered the house reconstruction project according his child memories. But the Great Revolution closed the "dream way". Only after 80 years later the time to original Sobinov House came again.
Moscow. Imperial Bolshoi Theater The singer started his career in the Imperial Bolshoi Theater in 1898. After five years later he occupied the unique niche at the Russian Opera Stage thanks to his talent and hard work. His contemporaries called him Russian nightingale, critics - Russian Opera Stage Orpheum because of his "radiant (multi-spectrum)" timbre voice. As the classical Russian vocal school representative, L. Sobinov knew bel canto in perfect, more than that he combined it with the Russian Dramatic Art Traditions.

L.V.Sobinov as Lenski in the Opera "Eugen Onegin" by P.I.Tchaikovski. 30’s. L.V.Sobinov as Werther in the Opera "Werther" by J. Massenet. L.V.Sobinov as Lohengrin in the Opera "Lohengrin" by R.Wagner. L.V.Sobinov as Romeo in the Opera "Romeo und Julia" by Ch. Gounod. L.V.Sobinov as Chevalier des Grieux in the Opera "Manon Lescaut" by J. Massenet.
L. Sobinov was the person of highest spirit culture, intellectual and democratic educated. He came into the World Opera Art History as:
listen to the gramophone record the best Lenski (Opera "Eugene Onegin" by P.Tchaikovski).
listen to the gramophone record Werther in the Opera of J. Massenet,
listen to the gramophone record the brightest Lohengrin (Opera of R.Wagner)
a wonderful Romeo (in the Opera "Romeo und Julia" by Gounod),
Chevalier des Grieux (the Opera "Manon Lescaut" by Massenet).
Sobinov used to sing more than 40 operas and never experienced a performance that could be considered a failure.

Leonid Sobinov as Ernesto in the Opera "Don Pasquale" by G.Donizetti. 1904.

The first international scene where Sobinov performed the opera "Don Pasquale" by Donizetti (in 1904) was the world famous theatre La Scala.

Theatre La Scala. Milan. Italia.

His performances were accompanied by triumphs and success not only in Russia but all over the world -

Sobinov sang in national language in every country. He spoke in Italy fluent, sang in German perfect, and he'd learnt Ukrainian at the end of his life.

The so-called "Symphonic seasons of S. Kusevitski" performed by famous russian artists, including F.Shalyapin and L.Sobinov, during 1907-1908 in London and in Berlin were well known all over the Europe. Leonid Sobinov also was singing in Berlin in the Royal Theatre for the emperor Wilhelm. Other remarkable compositions include "Adelaide" by L.Beethoven performed in Germany, one of his favorite works. But the begin of the First World War in 1914 interrupted the triumphs of Sobinov and the other Russian Opera Singers in European theatres.

Royal Theatre. Berlin.

According to the contemporaries words Leonid Sobinov was the person with rare charming. He loved a lot and he was loved a lot. The famous beauties of that time were falling in love to outstanding singer - Elisabeth Sadovskaya, the actress, Vera Karalli, the ballet dancer and the silent cinema star, etc.

L.V.Sobinov together with Maria Karzhavina (his first wife). 1893.

Although his first marriage to Maria Karzhavina, his the Philharmonic Society schoolmate, lasted not so long period, during all his life Sobinov loved and took care of his first sons - Boris and George.

L.V.Sobinov and his sons. 1898.
Portrait of N.I.Sobinova.

In 1915 Sobinov was marred with Nina Mukhina. She was the famous Soviet sculptor Vera Mukhina sister, the "Worker and Collective Farmer" monument author. It was the happy marriage. Their daughter - Svetlana- is a family traditions keeper until nowadays.

N.I.Sobinova together with her daughter Svetlana. 1923.

Unfinished portrait of  Boris Sobinov (the son of L.V.Sobinov). 1910. Painted by George Sobinov. Canvas. Boris Sobinov. 1931. Portrait of Boris.L.Sobinov, the elder son of L.V.Sobinov. 1956.

Nowadays there is a chance to tell the truth about the dramatic pages in Sobinov Family History in contrast with the former Soviet period when Sobinov was painted as "fortune son", government's favorite. Both his sons Boris and George had a strong musical education, both were successfully exploring the art of painting and litherature. Also, the boys have received a military education. When the civil war has began, both fought in the White Army because they were faithful to the oath of allegiance and to their honour and obligation. They lived rather tragic life - Juir was killed in 1920 in Ukraine during the Civil War. Being an oppositioner to the soviet government, Boris has choosed to emigrate to Germany.

George Sobinov. 1915.

Boris graduated the High Art School in Berlin. He became a lecturer and professor in the High Art School and composer.

In 1945 he was stolen from Berlin American Zone by NKVD and was condemned to 10 tears prison in USSR. He was liberated in 1955 and died in 1956. The Memorial Museum keeps safety his comb, eye-glasses and spectacle case. Nina and Svetlana Sobinov presented his musical notes which were created in German in 1920-1930. This music is unknown to Russian auditorium because his works hasn't been performed here yet. This is still approaching. The name of Boris Sobinov is another name of talented composer who would be opened to people. His music was performed in Finland, Poland, France, and Germany where the musical notes and other documents could survive.

We would appreciate any information about the little known emigration period of life of Boris Sobinov. You can contact us at mp@yarmp.yar.ru


The splendid life of Leonid Sobinov as a "choosen musician", as a "favourite of the public" is a soviet myth. The revolution destroyed the life of the whole gigantic country, and deeply changed the life of the Sobinov family. Only nowadays we are able to find out dramatic facts of the family members life. There are some historical pages which remains to be little known to the present day..

The 35 anniversary of scenic life of Leonid V. Sobinov. Moscow. Bolshoi Theatre. 1933.

We would be glad to hear from our colleagues, no matter whether they are experts or amateurs, who are interested in the history of Russian music art of the end of 19th - the beginning of 20th century. Please, send email to: mp@yarmp.yar.ru


Yaroslavl Museum Collection devoted to Sobinov's creation is unique because of its size and quality in contrasts to other different museums collections. It represents the artist's life in general and through variety aspects. You may browse the photoalbum. (use back and forward buttons; descriptions are available only in russian yet).