Mikhail Kisselev was born on November 4, 1911, in Kozlov (later Michurinsk), in the Tambov region of the Russian Empire. He studied singing at the Ural Conservatory under Professor Mikhail Umestnov and  in 1942 became a soloist with the Sverdlovsk Opera; two years later he joined the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre.

From 1952 onwards he was a leading soloist with the Bolshoy Theatre of the USSR, where for many years he sang dramatic baritone roles including: Rigoletto, Amonasro, Prince Igor, Gryaznoy, Demon, PrinceNi kita Kurlyat’yev, Robert, Tomsky, Figaro, Escamilio, Mazeppa, Pavel (The Mother by Tikhon Khrennikov) and many others. He toured in France, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Poland, Canada and Bulgaria to great acclaim.

In chamber repertoire, Mikhail Kisselev’s interpretation of songs by Glinka, Borodin Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninov was distinguished by a masterly craft with great attention to detail and consummate performance.  He was an outstanding teacher, generously sharing many professional secrets and singing techniques with his pupils; whether young beginners or professionals seeking to improve their performances.

During our years of collaboration and friendship, I prepared numerous operatic roles and lieder programmes under his direction, many of which have been successfully recorded on CD. Mikhail Kisselev was an phenomenal singer/actor, a wise and kind teacher with great charisma. His experience, energy and creative imagination fuelled his ability as a superlative interpreter of vocal music. He was and still is for me an idol in the profession, as well as in life, and I feel incredibly privileged to have met him.

For more than 20 years I worked under his guidance and supervision until his death in January 2009. He was a great inspiration and those years were amongst the happiest and brightest years in my life and career.

An extract from "My 20 Years with an opera legend"

Vassily Savenko

Mikhail Grigor’evich Kisselev (1911 – 2009)

People’s Artist of Russia, State Premium Laureate.

A tribute celebrating the centenary of his birth.

"Tchaikovsky, The Enchantress, Prince Nikita aria act II", Archive recording