Iola Tornagi and Maria Rastenberg. The names of these two women have long been lost in history. Plus, in reality, these women have not done much for history either. Nevertheless, if they didn’t exist, then one of the most famous Russian romance songs of the 19th century would not have been created. Today, the romance song “Dark Eyes” is one of the most frequently performed works, which makes you experience incredible emotions and feelings.
It was a happy story …
It happened in the 19thcentury. Famous Russian-Ukrainian writer Yevgeny Grebinka visited his neighboring landowner Rastenbeng, where he met his daughter, Maria. And of course, he fell head over heels in love with a young girl. He then wrote a poem called “Dark Eyes”, describing his feelings for the girl. A year later, Yevgeny and Maria were married. In 1843, the poem got published. And 40 years later, after the death of the author, writer’s lyrics were set to music by a little-known composer German and arranged by Gerdel, revealing to the world one of the most famous Russian romance songs. The song probably has less of the original lyrics by Grebinka, but it still conveys his deep emotions.
Oleg Pogudin – Dark Eyes
The most famous performance of the romance song
The romance song “Dark Eyes” is the most often changed musical work. Today we won’t heat the original version of the song. Each performer brings not only his performance, but also changes the lyrics. Only the first few sentences and the general meaning of the song remain unchanged.
The most common performance of the song is expressive and very emotional, created and first performed by famous Russian singer Fyodor Chaliapin. He redid the lyrics a little and added two new verses. Romance song by Chaliapin was dedicated to his beloved Italian ballerina Iola Tornagi. A well-known and promising dancer arrived in Russia on tour. Chaliapin instantly fell in love with her, and even the language barrier could not interfere. Iola left ballet for Chaliapin, and became the wife of the famous Russian “bass” and the mother of his five children. Iola forever remained in Russia, even when Fyodor moved abroad.
Fyodor Chaliapin – Dark Eyes
Other performance versions of the Russian romance
Since that time, there have been several dozen performance versions of the famous romance song. Someone added to the romance a verse beginning with the words “white tablecloth has a wine stain…”The famous Russian poet, singer and actor of the 20th century Vladimir Vysotsky also sang this song in his own manner.
Vladimir Vysotsky – Dark Eyes
Later a jazz version of the romance song was born.
Louis Armstrong Ochi Chernyie – Dark Eyes
Russian romance song “Dark Eyes” is sung in many languages, including French and Spanish.