M.N. Mordasova’s flat-museum

The memorial museum – Maria Nikolaevna Mordasova’s flat – is located on the third floor of a dwelling house, which was built in 1958. The first flat owners took personal part in its construction.

The museum exposition occupies the whole flat and is represented by original everyday objects of the singer, by a huge photograph library and by letters from friends and admirers of her talent. Also the full collection of Maria Nikolaevna Mordasova’s stage costumes is displayed here. The museum keeps a big collection of her songs and chastushkas’ phonograms as well as video recordings of television programs and films with the participation of Mordasova.

The Sightseeing Tour

The sightseeing tour includes visiting two memorial flat rooms. During the excursion we are talking about the life and work of Maria Mordasova and her husband, musician Ivan Rudenko. . The first room tells a tale about Mordasova’s childhood and youth, about her becoming a singer: from the soloist of an amateur choir to the title of ‘People’s Artist of the USSR’, and about the great tour activity. The second room tells us about Maria Nikolaevna’s stage image, her concert costumes and ornaments, her hobbies and interests. The decoration of the memorial museum features the style of 50’s and 60’s of the previous century.

Музей-квартира Мордасовой

The Themed Tour

Maria Nikolaevna Mordasova is remembered in different parts of our country. Admirers have fallen in love with her for her unique voice, a joyful style of performance and an uncommonly bright concert image. During the themed tour you will learn about how her stage image and performance style appeared, who participated in their creation. There will be displayed elements of folk costumes of the singer, the peculiarities of her dress and hat ornamentation will be shown, there you will learn about makeup specifics of Russian folk song performers. Moreover, visitors will learn about the preserved traditions of our ancestors in folk costume hand-embroidery and its meaning. At the end of the tour visitors will be allowed to try on the copies of Maria Nikolaevna’s stage costumes.

Maria Nikolaevna Mordasova’s Biographical Note

Maria Mordasova, nee Yarkina, was born on February, 14, 1915 in the village of Nizhnyaya Mazovka, the Tambov Region. She spent her childhood and adolescence in the nearby village of Chernyanoe. Since her school-days she had sung in the choir of the local club. She participated in off-site concerts and talent-shows both as a chorister and soloist of the rural choir. After seven-year school she worked in a kolkhoz: at first as an unskilled worker in a field husbandry brigade, and then as a milkmaid at a dairy farm. She married Ivan Mordasov. The marriage was unhappy and short. Maria went to Voronezh. In Voronezh Mordasova got a job at a clothes factory named after May 1. In 1939 Konstantin Massalitinov created an ensemble of the Russian song at the factory, where Maria Mordasova turned out to be the brightest member. Among the people this ensemble was nicknamed ‘the choir of seamstresses’.

In early 1942 the factory was evacuated to the village of Anna, theVoronezh oblast. In November of the same year the Department of Arts under the Council of People’s Commissars of the Russian Federation made a decision on establishing a professional group, later known as Voronezh State Russian-folk choir. Konstantin Massalitinov was appointed the creative director, a group of the ensemble of seamstresses from the the clothes factory became the creative center of the choir. Maria Mordasova among other enthusiasts of the folk choir creation went to villages and districts centers of the Voronezh Region in search of masters of national folk songs who became known thanks to talent-shows performances in the 30-ies.

The first Maria Mordasova’s performance as a chorister and as a soloist took place on April 20, 1943 in the village of Anna. This day is considered as the beginning of Voronezh State folk choir history. In June of the same year all the choir (50 singers, 17 musicians, 3 dancers and 2 narrators of folk tales) went to the front-line. The Red Army soldiers met Maria Mordasova’s performance which was full of soulful folk songs and lively chastushkas with significant warmth and joy whereas the war. Each stage of The Red Army attacks from Voronezh to Berlin were accompanied by ‘Mordasova’s lively chastushkas’. Thanks to the talent of the singer, her great work within front-line concert brigades and also thanks to the All-Union Radio programs Mordasova’s voice was known and admired in all corners of the Soviet Union during the war years. The fact that she was the person who opened the festival concert on the Victory Day May 9, 1945 as a soloist of the choir on the Red Square with her songs and chastushkas could be considered as a tribute to the talent of the singer.

In 1945 a young accordion player Ivan Rudenko appeared in Voronezh State folk choir. The friendship between Ivan and Maria developed quickly into a more intimate relationship and in the same year they married. After some time their marriage would become even a creative union – concert halls would house their songs and stores would sell their records where Maria Mordasova is the author of the lyrics and Ivan Rudenko is a composer.

After the war Maria Mordasova went on tours to almost all regions and territories of the USSR and many foreign countries. In 1958 she was awarded the title of ‘the People’s Artist of the RSFSR’. Mordasova worked in Voronezh folk choir until 1972. Maria continued her concert activity within a folk group ‘We are from Voronezh’ and performed solo in Voronezh Philharmonic society, she gave classes to the children’s ensemble ‘Brook’, participated in meet-the-artist events. In 1981 Maria Mordasova became a People’s Artist of the USSR, she was awarded the title of ‘Hero of Social Labor’ for great achievements in the development of Soviet musical art. Maria was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, the Order of the Badge of Honour, the Medal ‘Veteran of Labour’, the Medal ‘For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriot War 1941-1945’, the Medal ‘For Valorous Labour during the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945’. Mordasova stopped performing in the second half of 80-ies, but didn’t stop writing chastushkas. In 1994 she became an honorary citizen of the city of Voronezh. Mordasova died in September 25, 1997. She is buried in Voronezh.