Lev Leshchenko is an iconic figure of the Soviet and Russian stage. Under his voluminous baritone in 1980, an Olympic bear flew into the evening sky of Moscow, and every year Victory Day is celebrated. Leshchenko is called the Russian Frank Sinatra. Some of his songs are over 40 years old, but they are still in demand.
Childhood and adolescence
Lev Valerianovich Leshchenko was born on February 1, 1942 in Moscow. My father participated in the Soviet-Finnish war, then worked at a state farm, from where he was transferred to the accounting department of the capital's vitamin plant. During the Great Patriotic War, he was the staff of the special-purpose regiment of the convoy troops. After 1945 he continued to serve in the border troops of the KGB. Leshchenko's mother died early. When he was about two years old, she died of tuberculosis in the larynx. The paternal grandparents were from Ukraine, and the mothers were from Ryazan.
At first, the singer's family lived in Sokolniki, in one of the communal apartments. After the death of his mother, Leo was actually raised by a family friend, Andrei Fisenko. My father constantly disappeared at the service. Since Fisenko was a military man, he raised Leshchenko in the army: he took him with him to the shooting range, political studies. Already at the age of four, he mastered adult soldier's skiing and did not allow himself to be capricious, which is typical for children of this age.
Leo's grandfather on his father's side was the first to discern the vocal abilities of his grandson, when he enthusiastically listened to Utesov's records, and then tried to imitate him. At first, he himself studied singing with him, and then took him to the choir of the House of Pioneers. In 1952, at a celebration in honor of May 1, Leshchenko performed as part of a children's choir in front of Joseph Stalin.
When Leshchenko was 11 years old, his father was given a new apartment on Voykovskaya Street (near the Dynamo metro station) in a large house. Law enforcement officials, as well as Olympic champions and other players of the Soviet national teams in various sports became the neighbors of the future singer. Thanks to them, Leshchenko also became interested in sports. For six years he was seriously involved in basketball, also attended a swimming club. Soon the choir leader recommended that Leo concentrate only on singing.
After school, Leshchenko decided to enter the theater university at the vocal department. However, he failed miserably at the entrance exams to GITIS. Then Lev temporarily decided to get a job at the Bolshoi Theater as a stage worker. He also failed the second attempt to enter GITIS. His father advised him to choose a more serious specialty. Then Leo gave up his dream of becoming an artist and went to the assemblers at the instrument plant.
In 1961, Leshchenko joined the ranks of the Soviet army. He was assigned to the tank forces. He served in Germany. I was a loader in the tank. The unit commander noticed his vocal abilities and sent him to a military ensemble, where he began to solo. After the army, he again decided to enter GITIS. And on the third attempt, Leshchenko becomes a student.
Leshchenko's creative career began with the second year of GITIS. Then he began to play in the operetta theater. Lev got there with the light hand of Georgy Ansimov. At that time he was the main director of the operetta theater and part-time teacher at GITIS. It was he who took Lev to the trainee group. During the summer holidays, Leshchenko traveled with the theater around the Union on tour. Two years later, he became an artist of the main cast.
Leshchenko appeared on the stage in 1970. Soon he recorded his debut album "Don't Cry, Girl". With the composition of the same name, he was included in the number of participants in "Song-71".
All-Union fame came to him a year later: after performing the composition "For that guy" at a song festival in Poland. Then he took first place, for which he received an award. The Poles gave the singer a long standing ovation. At the final concert, he sang the song three times. In the same year, Lev became a laureate of another international competition - "Golden Orpheus", which was held in Bulgaria.
In 1975 Leshchenko presented the song "Victory Day" to the public. For a long time, the censors did not give the go-ahead for its performance, as they considered the music "too joyful." The song, which later became legendary, could sink into oblivion. But thanks to Yuri Churbanov, who at that time was the husband of Galina Brezhneva, she still sounded at a concert dedicated to Police Day. After that, viewers literally flooded television with letters in which they admired the song performed by Leshchenko. Since then, many have covered it, including Joseph Kobzon, but Leshchenko's version is still out of competition.
In the 90s, the singer took up teaching in Gnesinka. Among his students are Marina Khlebnikova and Katya Lel. He also tried his hand at being a TV host.
Leshchenko was married twice. The first wife was the artist Alla Abdalova. They met at GITIS, were together for 10 years and separated in 1976. The official reason for the gap is the struggle for ambition, which is often found in the unions of two people of the same profession. Leshchenko and Abdalova recorded several songs in a duet, including "Song of Moscow", "Old Maple".
Irina Bagudina became the second wife of Leo. The girl had nothing to do with creativity. Irina was a student at the Faculty of International Economics at Moscow State University, the daughter of a diplomat. They met on vacation in Sochi, where Leshchenko decided to stay after the tour. In 1976, the couple legalized the relationship.
Leshchenko has no children. In an interview, the singer admitted that he and his second wife were very worried about this, but over the years the pain dulled, but did not go away.