Ermolenko-Yuzhina, Natalija

Russian soprano, 1881 - 1937 (?)

As Jaroslavna in Borodin’s “Prince Igor”

Biographical notes:

She studied in Kiev and Paris and made her debut under the name of Ermolenko as Lisa in The Queen of Spades at Kiev in 1900. She went to St Petersburg in 1901 and to the Bolshoi Theatre in 1905. She met the tenor David Yuzhin, whom she married, adding his name to her own professional name. For two seasons both singers joined Zimin’s Private Opera in Moscow. She was also among the most admired members of the distinguished company “Opéra Russe” that performed in Paris in 1908, introducing Boris Godunov to the West. From 1915 to 1920 she appeared at the Mariinsky Theatre. Her repertory included Brünnhilde, Norma, Valentine, Lisa, Jaroslavna, Violetta and Carmen as well as many roles in Russian operas. One of her greatest success was Serov’s Judith. In 1924 she emigrated to Paris, where she is reported to have made occasional appearances. She was listed in the announcements for the Scala season 1906/07, but her appearances there, if any, have not been traced. No details have come to light from her later years. She has been given the death-date of 1948 in Paris.


In the title role of Serov’s “Judith”



Singers Of Imperial Russia Vol. 2


Mike Richter’s Opera Page: The Record of Singing Vol. 1



As Tamara in Rubinstein’s “The Demon”


Ermolenko-Yuzhina was considered the leading Russian dramatic soprano of her time. Unfortunately, she made comparatively few recordings but these are truly great! Her voice got along very well with the acoustic process.

The great singer Oda Slobadkaya heard her as Norma being greatly impressed by her, particularly in the dramatic moments of the score, but she had reservations concerning Ermolenko-Yuzhina’s florid technique which she felt was not really equal to all the demands of the role. Listen to the two Norma arias where she gets in trouble indeed. But there is a stunning and truly breathtaking portrait of Judith, a phenomenal Senta, a masterly Lament of Yaroslavna, two arias of Aida (also a duet with her husband David Yuzhin whose voice was at the beginning of a decline), and Nastassia’s aria from Tchaikovsky’s The Enchanteress. She is one of my favorite dramatic sopranos.

Her complete recordings:

Moscow: Gramophone 1908

- Qui Radames verrà...O patria mia (Title role in Aida / Verdi)

- Pur ti rivego...Fuggiam gli ardori with David Juzhin (Title role in Aida / Verdi)

Moscow: Gramophone 1909

- I shall don my robe of byssus (Title role in Judith / Serov)

- Casta diva...Ah, bello, a me ritorna (Title role in Norma / Bellini)

Moscow: Gramophone 1910

- Looking down from Nizhni (Nastasia in The Enchanteress / Tchaikovsky)

St. Petersburg: Gramophone 1911

- Un bel dì vedremo (Cio-Cio-San in Madame Butterfly / Puccini)

 Senta’s Ballad in Russian (Senta in The Flying Dutchman / Wagner)

- The Guardsman: Little Nightingale (Tchaikovsky)