Ustinov and Nikitin sing “Smuglyanka”


N. Ustinov and Victor Ivanovich Nikitin (Виктор Иванович Никитин) sing “Smuglyanka” (Смуглянка) with the Alexandrov Ensemble, conducted by Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov, 1947. Ustinov is the first soloist, and Nikitin provides the harmony.

What impresses me about this is that the Ensemble has been using the same very successful arrangement of Smuglyanka since at least 1945. Even today it gives great pleasure in Moscow when Ivanov and Bogachev sing it, and people are having fun imitating it in Japan, where it’s just as much fun. That’s over 60 years! Good old Smuglyanka.

The photo of the soloist on the record cover has now been identified by a soloist who knew Nikitin and Belyaev. He thinks it is probably a bad photo of Belyaev. I now think it is unlikely to be Nikitin, as he was not a soloist after 1951, and they were still wearing the tunics then. The dress uniform in the photo was not worn until roundabout 1970.

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