A scandalous incident happened in the opera and ballet theatre in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, it seriously shocked cultural community of the city. A concert “Bas Singers of the 21 century” dedicated to the 130th birthday of famous Russian opera singer Fyodor Shalyapin was held in the city. One of four singers participating in the concert, soloist of the Moscow Philharmonic Society, Vladimir Baikov entered upon the scene awfully drunken.
Baikov’s first turn (which by the way became his last one) was Ralph’s air from George Bizet’s La Jolie Fille de Perth, it was number three in the concert program. The artist came out of the wings with some delay, which certainly puzzled the audience a bit. Then the singer came up staggering to the edge of the scene and began singing after a prelude.
But what the man was singing was extremely indistinct. Graduate of the Moscow Conservatory sang off key, mumbled words and swayed from side to side. At first, the audience though it was a joke (rather unhappy one, by the way), people even applauded; but later it was perfectly obvious that the singer was actually drunken.
The audience became very much indignant at the manner of the Moscow singer; they even stamped their feet and whistled, but Vladimir Baikov ignored the indignation of the audience and the noise and sang the air to the end.
The man withdrew behind the wings accompanied with whistles and indignant cries. Only wonderful talent of other actors participating in the concert saved the event from failure. The incident is an awful scandal for the opera theatre, as nothing of the kind happened there since the theatre was opened.