Male choir

Optina Pustyn

Male choir
Optina Pustyn

Optina Pustyn male choir.
Optina Pustyn male choir.
Optina Pustyn male choir.
Optina Pustyn male choir.
Optina Pustyn male choir.

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30.09.2021

Alexander Semyonov's article on Russian choral singing history

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03.03.2022

Moscow International Performing Arts Center, 19:00

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Apart from the concert periods, the choir can be heard at the Dormition Metochion of Optina Pustyn monastery. A large choir sings on Saturday evening and at the late Sunday liturgy, also on the twelve-day and temple feasts and at the Holy Week main services. A small choir sings during the other divine services.

Divine services schedule

About us

The Optina Pustyn male choir was founded in the Dormition Metochion of the Optina Pustyn monastery in St. Petersburg in 1996. Together with a team of musical paleographers, the choir engages in the revival of ancient Russian chant legacy. Many song manuscripts from the collections of academic libraries started to sound new at daily services in the Dormition Metochion and were later included in numerous concert programmes. The Optina Pustyn choir has performed in over 35 Russian cities and towns and in over 20 countries worldwide. Over the years of its existence, the choir has released 15 solo albums, as well as a collaboration album with the I Solisti Veneti orchestra on the Warner Music label.

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Photos

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  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Saint-Petersburg Philharmonia
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Moscow Easter Festival
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Krasnoyarsk Philharmonic
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Novosibirsk Philharmonic
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Saint-Petersburg Philharmonia
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Saint-Petersburg Philharmonia
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Miass. The “Prometheus” culture palace
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Stavropol Philharmonic
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Moscow Easter Festival
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Saint-Petersburg Philharmonia
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. St.Sophia. Ohrid, Macedonia
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Kolarac hall, Belgrade
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Dnepropetrovsk, Gorky Theater
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Lugansk Philharmonic
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Barnaul Philharmonic
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Novgorod Philharmonic
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Yaroslavl Philharmonic
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Yaroslavl Philharmonic
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Abbaye de Pontigny, France
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Saint-Petersburg Philharmonia
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Bogota, Columbia

Video

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  • Optina Pustyn male choir. The Legend about twelve Robbers
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. I will make a prayer to the Lord
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Cherubic hymn. It is truly meet
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Flight of a Bumblebee. N.Rimsky-Korsakov
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Kookoo. Folk song
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594). Requiem aeternam (Missa pro Defunctis)
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Plain and plain is all around. Blaze, blaze, my Star. Evening bell
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Joy of those, who are in sorrow
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. The bell rings monotonously
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. From beyond the wooded Island. Volga song
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. O Thou Who Coverest Thyself with Light
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Every gracious creature rejoices at You, oh Lord
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. For healthy Cup
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Franz Schubert (1797-1828). Ave Maria
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Concert № 32. Music by Dmitry Bortnyansky (1751-1825)
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. The Angel is crying out. Music by Modest Mussorgsky (1839 - 1881)
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Cherubic hymn. Old Bulgarian chant
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. O Mother of God, rejoice. Music by A.Gvozdecky
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Bless the Lord, o my Soul  (Blagoslovi duche moya Gospoda)
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Evening on the Raid. Music By V. P. Solovyov-Sedoy
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. At bedtime. Music by Peter Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893). Lyrics by N. Ogaryov (1813-1877)
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Blaze, blaze, my Star
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Plain and plain is all around. Soloist – Dmitry Pisarev (baritone)
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. St. Petersburg Philharmonic
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. St. Petersburg Philharmonic 2
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. The “Sedmitsa” TV-channel

Press

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PERFORMANCE AT THE REGENSBURG HISTORICAL MUSEUM (GERMANY)

The Optina Pustyn male choir presented a panorama of chants of Christian confessions. The Gregorian chant, the znamenny chant of the Russian Church, sacred hymns from Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Serbia and Armenia were presented. Alexander Semyonov manages seven colleagues, standing in the middle of the ensemble. The singers develop astounding loudness for this small cast and cover a wide audio range. Some chants sound in their original unison form, others form polyphony, in which the top rises in jubilant melismas over long archaic fifths and octaves. The sound of the Renaissance polyphony by Orlando di Lasso brings us back to a more familiar environment. Most of the chants are performed with great calmness. The exceptions are the rhythmic Serbian “Glorification” and the Christmas chant “The Magi, Kings of Persia”. In the second part of the program, powerful secular music and Russian folk songs were performed. They are full of melancholy, which unfolds a tonal beauty of the heart and soul.

Mittelbayerische, Von Gerhard Dietel, 30.06.2017

THE CHOIR’S 20-TH ANNIVERSARY (ST. PETERSBURG PHILHARMONIC)

“From Gregorian Chant to Russian Choral Concert”: this title fully conveys the musical stylistic diversity of church and spiritual works performed that evening. There were no empty seats in the Academic Philharmonic hall. As the chorus performed the liturgical chants, the impressed audience could admire series of pictures of the centuries-old history of the Church on the Philharmonia white walls. According to the rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, Archbishop Ambrose, the choir's works on restoring ancient singing traditions give listeners a unique opportunity not only to listen to a magnificently performed piece of music, but also to connect with the prayerful experience of our ancestors. At the end of the last singing, the grateful audience did not let the choir members leave the stage for a long time. The applause did not stop. The artists performed three more vocal pieces as an encore.

St. Petersburg Theological Academy, 28.09.2016

FESTIVAL IN AUVERS-SUR-OISE (FRANCE)

The Optina Pustyn male choir from Russia filled the Cathedral of Our Lady in Auvers-sur-Oise with a truly cosmic harmony. The band sings a capella. It is managed by Alexander Semyonov, standing in the center of the ensemble. The concert was opened with “Cherubic Hymn” and the old Bulgarian chant “Thou Who Coverest Thyself with Light”. The ingenious Boris Petrov succeeded in Pavel Chesnokov's “Eternal Council”. The glorious Bulgarian chant “Joy to All Who Sorrow” (“Vseh skorbyaschih radoste”) harmonized by Popov-Platonov allows to hear each voice separately. Pavel Chesnokov's song “Save, God, your people” enabled us to immerse into euphony velvet voice of Vladimir Miller, endowed with one of the richest voices in the world. The concert finished with the Russian folk song “The bell is ringing monotonously”, the countertenor Alexander Gorbatenko performed a solo. His voice has a strong sensuality and spirituality.

Classique d'aujourd'hui, Bruno Serrou, 12.06.2013

CONCERT TOUR IN SWEDEN

The Optina Pustyn male choir has been successfully touring the Swedish capital. On October 4 the ensemble held a concert in the one of the oldest churches in the country – the Storkyrkan (“Big Church”) in Stockholm. It was opened in 1306; the kings are crowned and married there. This is not the first meeting of Russian singers with Swedish audiences, but the huge church was still full of people.

The Moscow Patriarchate, 6.10.2008

THE “CHANTS OF AN ANCIENT CHURCH” PROGRAM

I was able to feel the uplifting grandeur of music on April 28 at one of the concerts of the X Easter Festival Choir program in the Temple of St. Gregory of Neokesaria in Derbytsi. That day, the Optina Pustyn male choir from St. Petersburg treated us with masterpieces of singing art. An exceptional program was performed, featuring Christian chants of the 10th - 17th centuries. Nineteen songs formed a peculiar mini-anthology of church chant. This performance became one of the precious adornments of the diverse festival choir program.

Belcanto.ru, Igor Koryabin, 09.05.2011

CONCERT IN BELGRADE (SERBIA)

The Optina Pustyn male choir gave a divine, spiritual and expressive concert in the Belgrade Cathedral. This famous Russian choir consists of singers with the highest vocal and artistic capabilities. Their voices range from countertenors to deep bass sung by Vladimir Miller, one of the most famous Russian singers. The applause in the temple is inappropriate, but the audience was overwhelmed with such strong emotions that they gave the choir a long standing ovation. Father Petar Lukic, the abbot of the cathedral, gratefully addressed the Russian choir in his solemn sermon. He emphasized that their singing is a kind of spiritual communication.

Saborna crkva, 03.10.2007

THE “SINGING TRADITIONS OF ANCIENT RUSSIA” PROGRAM (SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA)

The Sacred Music Evenings season at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic opened with chants of the Sovereign Singers performed by the Optina Pustyn male choir. The ensemble was conducted by Alexander Semyonov, the author of many transcriptions of church and secular works. Prayers and spiritual chants were performed. The concert was accompanied by information about Russian history and explanations of singing features.

St. Petersburg Metropolitanate of the Russian Orthodox Church, 18.10.2013

CONCERT IN YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK (RUSSIA)

The Optina Pustyn male choir from St. Petersburg gave its first concert in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on January, 9. In the first part of the program Russian church chants of the 17th-20th centuries were performed. The second section contained arrangements of Russian folk songs and works by Russian composers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Bishop of Yuzhno-Sakhalin and Kuril, Archimandrite Tikhon (Dorovskikh) expressed gratitude to the choir musicians for a Christmas present to the parishioners of Sakhalin churches. The audience did not let the musicians go for a long time. The ensemble performed several encore songs.

Sakhalin and Kuriles— SKR.SU, 10.01.2011

CONCERT IN DACHAU (GERMANY)

The anticipation of heaven as a place of absolute harmony was expressed in the music. The Optina Pustyn male choir from St. Petersburg gave an inspiring concert of Russian sacred and secular music. The ensemble's style features are calmness, depth and spirituality. The choir sounds crystal clear and harmonious. One-part Gregorian chants are striking in their expressiveness and ascetic simplicity. Ancient chants from Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece and Byzantium were performed with versatile differentiation, easy register change and precise tone. Russian classical secular music and folk songs were performed too. None of the soloists entered later or earlier, not one singer drowned out the other, the sound seemed to be monolithic. “Flight of the Bumblebee” by Rimsky-Korsakov arranged by Alexander Semyonov sounds fascinating.

Merkur.de, Von dr. Bärbel Schäfer, 08.05.2009

CONCERT IN VASTERVIK (SWEDEN)

The Optina Pustyn male choir from St. Petersburg came on a concert tour in Sweden. The fact that they drove into little Vastervik looks like a miracle. The main concerts are held in Stockholm, Uppsala, Linkoping. The choir had performed on Swedish TV the day before. The first part of the program was ecclesiastical; many hymns were sung from 17th century manuscripts. The second part was secular: Sviridov's music for Tolstoy's drama “Tsar Fyodor”, “Flight of the Bumblebee” by Rimsky-Korsakov and much more were performed. The choir is small. The leader, Alexander Semyonov, stands in the middle and seems to be writing music with his hands. He is not only engaged in conducting: about a third of the program consisted of choral arrangements created by him.

Västerviks-Tidningen, Rune Engelbrektson, 31.01.2007

CONCERT TOUR IN FINLAND

The world famous male choir Optina Pustyn will come from St. Petersburg to Finland in November. This ensemble was created in 1996 to revive old church chants. In recent years, they have presented many pieces of music found in the monastery libraries. The program will also include famous Russian folk songs. The musicians also promise to perform something more familiar to the Finnish audience.

KONTAKT, №3-2012

THE “GLORIFICATION OF CHRISTMAS” PROGRAM IN SMOLENSK (RUSSIA)

The concert of the male choir Optina Pustyn became a Christmas present for the Smolensk audience and left an unforgettable impression. The audience did not let the artists go for a long time, several musical pieces were performed as an encore in addition to the main program.

Smolensk Metropolitanate of the Russian Orthodox Church, 11.01.2018

PERFORMANCE IN MUROM (RUSSIA)

The Murom Annunciation Monastery will host a concert of one of the best choral groups in the country – the Optina Pustyn male choir from St. Petersburg. The choir's creative interests are not limited by the Old Russian repertoire. The musicians try to convey the great richness and diversity of Russian choral music.

REGNUM, 28.04.2006

IV INTERNATIONAL SACRED MUSIC FESTIVAL. KYSHTYM (RUSSIA)

At the end of the concert, the House of Culture shook with applause for a long time. Priest Mikhail Chirkov, rector of the Church of the Nativity of Christ in Kyshtym, did not hide his emotions: “The Optina Pustyn сhoir is a precious pearl in the crown of the festival. What a palette of voices! What a consonance! No other feelings but delight and admiration! Thank you for such a wonderful gift, for coming so far to present us your magnificent art!”

Ozersk.Ru, 03.09.2019

“THE MILLENIUM OF RUSSIAN CHURCH SINGING” PROGRAM

Singers of the Optina Pustyn male choir presented a panorama of Russian church music from ancient chants to modern monastic chants and brilliant compositions by Rachmaninoff. Its highlight was the performance of unique polyphonic compositions with virtuoso eccentric bass. This music has no analogues in Europe. The choir's brilliant singing manner allows to highlight a new direction in the choral art – Russian baroque singing.

Blagovest-info, 22.02.2010

CONCERT IN TALLINN (ESTONIA)

The depth of the music combined with professional and meaningful performance made listeners cry regardless of their nationality or religion. The performance of folk songs was remembered for the presence of a real Russian style.

Moles.ee, Valery Petrov, 28.06.2007
Alexander Vitalievich Semenov

Notes

  • Decipherments
  • Synod chant books
  • Arrangements

Contacts

Alexander Semyonov

Artistic Leader

Alexander Semyonov

E-mailas@optinachoir.ru
Elizabeth Semyonova

Production Manager

Elizabeth Semyonova

Phone+7 (904) 519-65-08 E-mailas@optinachoir.ru

mapThe Optina Pustyn male choir. The Metochion of Optina Pustyn Monastery in St. Petersburg

27/2 nab. Leytenanta Shmidta V.O. St. Petersburg 199034 Russia