Leonid Mikhailovich Kharitonov was born in the small Siberian village of Golumet in 1933. His father went missing at the front during World War II; so he was raised by his mother and lived for a while with an uncle as well. His strong singing ability was noticed early on, and at the age of 19, after performing as a soloist for the Irkutsk Philharmonic for 2 years, he was accepted by the Moscow Conservatory. In 1953, Kharitonov became a member of the choir of the renowned Red Song and Dance Ensemble of the Soviet Army (now known as the Alexandrov Ensemble.) In 1965, he made his public debut as a soloist at a concert in Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. Upon leaving the Ensemble in 1972, he became a member of the Moscow Philharmonic Society, subsequently touring all over Russia and in many other countries to include England, France, Canada, the United States, Egypt, Australia, China, Switzerland, India, Korea, Czechoslovakia and more. The singer’s diverse repertoire includes Russian folk songs, Russian romances (a genre unique to Russian music similar to the ballad), opera arias and patriotic songs from the Soviet era. His main influence is the great Russian bass opera singer Feodor Shalyapin (1873-1938), whose grand piano was given to Kharitonov in 1979 by Shalyapin’s son and daughter.
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You can find his Official Russian website here.
The artist’s full Discography is located here.