His mother was originally a serf who was seduced by a local landowner. Started singing at the age of 5. Local rich merchants heard his singing and sent the talented boy to study in Petersburg where Anton Rubenstein took an interest in him.
Entered the Petersburg Conservatory. 1893-1894 in Italy. In 1894, soloist at the Khar’kov Opera Theatre.
From 1895, soloist at the Petersburg Mariinskii Theatre (now the Kirov Opera House). Invited by Cosima Wagner to come to Bayreuth. Taught singing from 1915.
Professor, 1916. Worked with many famous composers such as Glazunov, E. Napravnik, E. Mravinskii and D. Shostakovich. Reburied at the Aleksandro-Nevskaia Lavra.
Born November 21, 1867