Born Israel Levinson on 4 September 1872 in Poltawa, Russian tenor Alexander Davydov had some vocal lessons c1890, but his debut at Dnepropetrovsk was so heavily criticized that he moved into smaller roles. He moved to the Maryinski Theatre in 1900 where he sang the role of ‘Hermann’, about which the critics were ecstatic. During the next 10 years with the Maryinski, he regularly toured USSR and Europe, his repertoire being enormous.
Sadly he became deaf and left the opera stage (1914), continuing for c10 years with concert appearances. He then moved to Paris, and in 1934 took on a new role as stage director for a production of ‘Prince Igor’. In 1935, he returned to Russia and became a sought-after vocal tutor.
His most respected roles included French, Italian, Russian and even German (as e.g. ‘Loge’) operas. Reputedly Davydov recorded more than 400 records. He died in Moscow on 28 June 1944.