In order to fully understand the power of the deep and mighty voices of the Red Army Choir, it is necessary to consider the history of Russia itself. The two cannot be separated. This choir of men, all of them soldiers of the revolution, had a fundamental role to play. Born to serve and sustain the fatherland, its task was to lift the morale of the exhausted troops, and it did so by glorifying the revolutionary ideal, allowing people to re-live the spirit of the October Revolution and the storming of the Winter Palace. As people listened to the Choir, the voices of these men, these soldiers, became the voice of the brand new U.S.S.R., the voice of the Soviets.
This strong spirit sprang from a people who had suffered much: under the tsars, during the wars, throughout the revolutions, the famines and the political indoctrination. Through all of this, the spirit of the Soviets endured, rising again after every false step, strengthened by the hardships.
But the Russian people are also open and extremely sensitive to culture, art and literature. They are a people who have had to be strong from the very beginning because their roots lie in one of the harshest territories in the world.
Their spirit, and this, their choir, is truly exceptional. It has to be, because it is the soul of Russia, it represents the country, makes it grow and shine. It is a warm, brave soul, full of life and hope.
Today, this world famous Choir was going to help the new East people to write pages of their modern history. In those voices, we already felt brighter future getting up.
Since its origins, only two historical academic ensembles have had the right to claim the prestigious title : The RED ARMY CHOIR
- The Alexandrov Ensemble, founded in 1929
- The MVD Ensemble, founded in 1939
Both of which belong to the state, the first under the patronage of the Ministry of Defence, the second under that of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. These two ensembles have been elevated to the rank of academies and are the only ones that can, therefore, receive funding from the government of the Russian Federation, on which they still depend.
During the last thirty years, the MVD Academic Ensemble, or Red Army Choir of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, has performed in over 7,000 shows, in different languages, in front of more than 20 million astonished spectators.
Under the direction of their charismatic conductor, general Viktor Eliseev, who is also the highest ranking officer to conduct a military ensemble, the troupe has performed in over 50 countries and in the most prestigious concert halls of China, Japan, Korea, Australia, Germany and France.
It is the only military body to have received a ‘Platinum Star’ on the avenue dedicated to great Russian artists and it counts, within the academy, over 400 artists (musicians, singer and dancers), 50 of whom have received the supreme title of ‘Emeritus Artist of Russia’ (equivalent to the French Legion of Honour created by Napoleon).
It was the Red Army Choir MVD Ensemble that performed in front of Pope John Paul II in Rome and on the occasion of the investiture of presidents Boris Yeltsin and then Vladimir Putin. It also performed at the opening ceremony of the Olympic games in Moscow. Every year the ensemble takes part in the official parade on 9th May, when Russia celebrates its victory in the Second World War. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 it performed in France, giving 200 performances and attracting over 21,000 spectators for a single, extraordinary lakeside performance on the Lac d’Enghien! General Eliseev’s troupe has triumphed over all continents after having considerably modernized its repertoire and its performances, allowing the Red Army Choir to reach a wider, more family audience. In September and December 2012, the Red Army Choir participated in 20 prime-time TV shows and recorded three music videos (Ameno, Carmina Burana and Caruso) for the new “Opéra Rouge” project, which has already obtained 3 platinum disks in France and is well set to be an international success.
On his side, the Alexandrov Ensemble, with which his founder (Alexandre) was replaced by his son (Boris) then the talented Viktor Feodorov, lost a little ground on his friend and nevertheless rival (both academic troop arise from two different armies. It complicates a little their relations !). Since the 80s, is the General Elissev’s troop that triumphs on all the continents having considerably modernized its directory and its performances, which allowed the Red Army Choir to reach a wider, more family public.
Only the academic ensembles under the responsibility of the Russian Federation are authorized to use the name ‘Red Army Choir’, which is also a registered trademark in over 35 countries. The academic ensembles called ‘Red Army Choir’ therefore belong to the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation. The Ukrainian and Belarusian troupes which occasionally try to exploit the notoriety of these ensembles (calling themselves “ex-Red Army” or “Russian Army” choirs) are nothing but pale copies. Well-informed spectators, however, are aware that today the ensemble directed by General Viktor Eliseev is the only true reference point.
In 2010, Viktor Petrovitch Eliseev celebrated his sixtieth birthday on the Kremlin’s stage in Moscow, in the presence of the biggest stars of Russia and Eastern European countries. We notice that is under the direction of this outstanding conductor (who also teaches at the prestigious Tchaïkovsky academy of Moscow), that the MVD Red Army Choir became the most popular russian troop of the planet, even if the Alexandrov Ensemble also continues to tour.
In 2012, the ensemble, under General Eliseev’s direction, performed in Israel, France, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia. In 2013 it was once again in France for 37 shows and it will soon move on to perform in Tunisia, Brazil, Canada, China, Turkey, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Australia, etc.
By the prestige and the eclectism of its conductor, who mixes with great panache during the shows, the traditional melodies of the Russian folklore, the songs of the Patriotic War and the most famous classic airs or international varities (the Ensemble plays Bizet, Wagner, Mozart but also Michel Legrand, Francis Lai…), the MVD Academic Ensemble is one of the major artistic troops of the international scene today, as written in the English newspapper « Daily Telegraph » : « The Red Army Choir Ensemble is a part, as well as Bolshoi, the greatest russian shows and constitue a world artistic treasure ! ».
The Red Army Choir remains a real symobol which the name still resounds on all the planet during their triumphant tours.