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More than 30 years ago, Claudia Ivanovna Shulzhenko’s heart stopped beating. And it is not at all important that the younger generation knows about it by hearsay. The main thing is that in that distant and difficult wartime her voice raised the soldiers and commanders of the Red Army in attacks, healed the wounded and instilled confidence that the Victory was near.

Claudia Shulzhenko was and remains not just a national treasure, but a real classic and the standard of art. It would seem that not so strong voice, and not so attractive appearance, but “Blue little humble handkerchief” or “Let’s smoke” became hits. About it, without exaggeration, they say – the Soviet Edith Piaf.

The young talent of Claudius Shulzhenko
Shulzhenko was born on March 24, 1906 in Kharkov in the family of an accountant in the management of the railway. When the father began to sing, from all over the street, and the neighbors too, the listeners were catching up. Even more people came to their courtyard when Ivan Shulzhenko announced that not only a concert would take place in the evening, but also a small performance played by their father and mother, their son Kolya, and also little Klava.

Her father dreamed that his daughter would become a singer, and she was crazy about Vera Kholodnaya and other actors of silent films. Klava believed that everyone would be able to sing, the singer Klavdiya Shulzhenko, but only a few could become a good actress.

In Kharkov there was a Ukrainian drama theater, where the renowned director Nikolay Sinelnikov served. By the age of 15, Claudia had reviewed the entire repertoire of the theater and vowed to herself that in two or three years she would definitely become an actress. But it happened even ahead of schedule. At the viewing, she decided to perform the song “Sparkle the boys and the horses.” Accompanied the young Klava, then the still little-known 22-year-old head of the musical part, Isaac Dunaevsky, who at that time lived in Kharkov. She dreamed of theater, but her father firmly bent his line. And almost forcibly led her by the hand to the conservatory professor Nikita Chemizov. He taught her music, but one day he could not stand it, sighed: “You are happy, your voice has been raised from nature, you only need to develop and improve it.”

At the same time, Claudia realized for the first time that her purpose was to sing. “You have to play a song and at the same time play all the roles in it.” These words of Nikolay Sinelnikov she remembered all her life. The young performer did not have to wait long for the full halls. She always took into account the opinion of listeners, trying to build her repertoire so that they did not have a desire to leave the hall before the concert ended.

Marry Odessa
singer Claudia Shulzhenkos husband and son
Kharkov became for Claudia a city not only of childhood and youth, but also of serious love. On tour in 1928, her age-mate arrived, Odessa Vladimir Koralli (Kemper) from Odessa. In the mid-1920s, he traveled with variety theaters, led concerts as entertainers, beat tap dance, performed merry and satirical couplets. How not to fall in love with such a gifted young man? But the first meeting was fleeting. The singer went to Leningrad, where she made her debut on the stage of the music hall. Her success exceeded all expectations. Instead of the planned two songs, it was possible to perform all seven that made up her repertoire.

At the same time their second meeting took place, which marked the beginning of a family and creative union. And the birth of his son Igor in 1932 only added to Claudia Ivanovna’s desire to improve the skill of singing.

In the mid-1930s, Claudia and her husband toured extensively. The first recordings of her songs were made on the records. That is what enabled her to become the singer Claudia Shulzhenko not only recognizable, but also beloved by millions of people.

In the autumn of 1939, the 1st All-Union Variety Artists Contest was held. An authoritative and extremely strict jury did not award the first prize to anyone, although there were many talented artists among the contestants. “Chelita”, “Girl, Goodbye” and “Memo” – three songs presented by Claudia Shulzhenko made a lasting impression on the jury and the audience. She became the winner of the competition. Claudia Shulzhenko grew in popularity. Two powerful plants Gramplasttrest produced a huge number of plates with records Shulzhenko, who did not linger on the shelves …

500 concerts per year
The announcement of the beginning of the war caught the singer on tour in Yerevan. Voluntarily joining the ranks of the army in the first year of the Leningrad blockade, she gave 500 concerts. Hundreds of times the singer went to the front, speaking in front of the fighters. Her songs were played on advanced and in hospitals. At the end of 1941 in the repertoire of Claudia Ivanovna, the song “The Blue Handkerchief”, which later became legendary, was written by Polish composer Jerzy Peterburgsky.

In 1942, Claudius Shulzhenko was awarded the medal “For the Defense of the Singer Claudia Shulzhenko of Leningrad”, and on May 9, 1945 – with the Order of the Red Star. In the summer of the same year, “For outstanding achievements in the field of vocal art,” the singer was awarded the title of Honored Artist of the RSFSR.

Then the journalists wrote that the final creative credo of Shulzhenko, her artistic theme and lyrical heroine were formed during the war years.

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