After the rise in popularity, a streak of oblivion came, but Velikanova taught in Gnesinka, went on tour
Photo: TASS Newsreel.
Lilies of the valley, the sound of bells in her voice and internal tragedies … Not to say that Gelena Velikanova was very pretty: such a modest flower, very cute in appearance. But it was she who became the television face of many songs that are remembered today. There were prettier singers and they sang the same songs for the radio. And on TV they called Velikanova.
She was always well dressed and with good taste. And not with the help of customers. I bought my own dresses. In later years I arranged them according to my sketches. I didn’t save money: I like the suit, so go ahead.
She was the fourth daughter in the family of a Lithuanian peasant. In Poland, my father met a beautiful pani from a non-poor family, after which the couple had to flee to revolutionary Russia. They fled according to all the rules of romanticism: with a secret wedding. We ran all the way to Moscow. They loved each other, they had children. Her mother gave birth to Helena already in her forties, a risk and a rarity unheard of in those days.
Helena’s father became a gambler. Real, remove all the furniture from the house when it is lost. And he often lost. Two boys and two girls grew up, sometimes hungry. After another crushing defeat at the card table, Marcel Velikanis was paralyzed. Tired of debts and poverty, Helena’s mother did not abandon her husband, she was with him until her last hours. But years later, this terrible death would bring another misfortune to the Velikanovs: the eldest son, feeling poor health, feared that the same fate awaited him, and committed suicide.
So Gelena was among those graduates of the school of 1941, about whom they write: “Tomorrow there was a war.” The family was evacuated to Tomsk. The middle brother, Vladimir, a pilot, crashed in a plane and burned. Mother died. Helena was a nurse at the hospital and also sang in concerts for the wounded. She returned to Moscow at the end of the war, together with her older sister, and entered a music school.
Serious, determined. No sighs on the bench and walks in the moonlight – in her youth, it could be assumed that Velikanova did not have a personal life. She seemed to anticipate her future song about a girl being left out of her. Yes, she Helena she sang on stage, but she was already married at the age of thirty to the poet Nikolai Dorizo. She gave birth to a daughter, Lena. She was a little before the takeoff of her with the Lilies of the Valley.
Gelena Velikanova. 1965
Photo: TASS Newsreel.
Lilies of the valley for Gagarin
In 1958, composer Oscar Feltsman wrote a song to Olga Fadeeva’s lyrics “Lilies of the Valley”. He told me that he did it in a quarter of an hour, gave the result to Gela Velikanova and went on vacation. In addition to Helena, another singer, Nina Dorda, also received the song. Nina was broadcast on the radio, Gelena was shown on TV. “Lilies of the valley” sounded everywhere. But there is always a catch: at a meeting of the Composers’ Union, someone said that “Lilies of the Valley” is an example of vulgarity. Not a single newspaper that existed at that time could do without the attacks on Lilies of the Valley. “Komsomolskaya Pravda” was no exception and wrote about the “thoughtless perception of life”, meanness and meanness. Only this was nonsense compared to what was later published in the newspaper “Soviet Culture”. There, the composer Anatoly Novikov, the author of a dozen songs about Lenin and the party, and in general the author of six hundred songs, none of which anyone remembers today, published the article “Let the lilies of the valley wither.”
Helena Velikanova withered, she did not sing the song on tour for a long time. They said that she has a bad effect on young people, even corrupts them. People liked “corruption”, they danced with pleasure under it, but Velikanova could not withstand the flurry of attacks. By the way, Yuri Gagarin flew into space under Lilies of the Valley. In the detachment of the first cosmonauts was Pavel Popovich, who came up with a couplet:
“Today you brought me
Not a bouquet of scarlet roses,
And a bottle of “Capital”.
Let’s go up to the reeds
Let’s hope from the bottom of our hearts.
And why do we need these lilies of the valley?
And before the flight, Gagarin asks to turn on the music. And Popovich from the control center asks if Yura wants Lilies of the Valley. And he sings to the friendly laughter of his companions, seeing Gagarin in space.
DEATH TWO HOURS BEFORE THE CONCERT
There were other legendary songs: “You and I are two shores”, “Rulata Rula”, “Letka-enka”, a wonderful interpretation of the song “You are my fallen maple”, works by Edith Piaf and even Bulat Okudzhava. Divorce from Dorizo, marriage to documentary filmmaker Nikolai Generalov (died 1992). Loss of voice, after which she took a long time to recover: her voice returned, but it became lower.
She did not fit into the world of pop: no ability to make connections and make friends “correctly”, accumulate values, ask for something. They say that somehow she wanted to put an alarm in the apartment, she called a friend for help. She came and was surprised: “Gelya, why do you need an alarm? You have nothing to steal.”
After the rise in popularity, a streak of oblivion came, but Velikanova taught in Gnesinka and went on tour. Her daughter Elena Dorizo became a translator, gave birth to her granddaughter Dinara, and lived upstairs in a house on Bolshoi Afanasevsky Lane. And then the time came when the fashion for “old songs about the main thing” came. They remembered Velikanova, awarded the title of People’s Artist of Russia, and a star was opened in her honor near the Rossiya cinema and concert hall. Already 75 years old, she was preparing for a farewell concert at the Casa del Actor on November 10, 1998. Prepared. She took off her dress, walked into the bathroom with a towel over her shoulder, and never left. There are two hours left until the canceled concert…