Petrov, Yosyp [Петров, Йосип], b 15 November 1807 in Yelysavethrad, Kherson gubernia, d 11 March 1878 in Saint Petersburg. Opera singer (bass). In the years 1830–78 he appeared at the Saint Petersburg Theater. With a remarkable acting proficiency as well as a singing range of almost four octaves, Petrov is known as the founder of the vocal school in the Russian Empire. He premiered the leading parts (usually created for him) in notable Russian operas: Mikhail Glinka’s Ruslan and Liudmila and Ivan Susanin, Aleksandr Dargomyzhsky’s Rusalka and The Stone Guest, Anton Rubinstein’s The Demon, Peter Tchaikovsky’s Vakula the Smith and Mazepa, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Maid of Pskov, and Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov. Mussorgsky was composing the comic opera The Fair at Sorochyntsi with the intention of casting Petrov in a leading part, but left the opera unfinished when Petrov died. Petrov’s biography, by E. P. Lostochkina, appeared in 1950 and another, by V. Stasov, in 1952.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]