Born: March 5, 1918 – Moscow, Russia, Died: December 4, 2007 – Moscow, Russia
The great Armenian mezzo-soprano and contralto, Zara [Sara] Dolukhanova [Doloukhanova, Doluchanova], was born in a musically talented family. Her mother was A leading Armenian singer while her father-engineer played the flute, the clarinet and the trumpet. She was later married to noted composer Alexander Pavlovich Dolukhanian. She first studied the piano, then the violin. At 16, she decided that she wanted to study singing. She studied at the Gnessin Institute in Moscow with V. Belyayeva-Tarassevitch.
Zara Dolukhanova sang many roles on the opera stage, but her career was especially dedicated to concert and radio. In 1944, she became a soloist with Moscow Radio, then in 1959 became a leading soloist of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. Her stage roles included Marfa in Khovanshchina, Lel in Snow Maiden as well as Verdi roles but especially Rossini, (Italiana, Cenerentola, Arsace (Semiramide)). She performed and recorded many recitals of classical lieder, Russian Romances, and popular songs of Armenia and other countries in various languages.
Zara Doloukhanova was one of the first artists to cross the iron curtain and to sing in western countries. In the late forties only the Bolshoi Ballet, Gilels, Oistrakh and possibly Moiseev’s dance group were permitted to perform. Critics raved about her deep understanding of styles and the sophistication of her interpretations. Her name is a legend. For a Soviet artist she toured extensively – England, France, East Europe, Scandinavia, Latin America. and she appeared in the USA, first in New York in 1959. In her first American tour she enjoyed great acclaim. She toured America again in 1970. In 1966 she was awarded the Lenin Prize.