Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Clementina (Keila) Shermel


Born in 1925 in Simferopol, Crimea. Her father was a Red Guard and partisan. In his time he took a strong part in the underground revolutionary movement. In 1929 she settled with her family in Moscow, where Sh. in the eve of the Second World War, completed a Russian ten-year school. During the Second World War her family evacuated to Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, where Sh. studied singing with a Professor Sidarov-Mikhailov, from the Kharkov Conservatory, and after one year she studied  and even performed as a soloist in the local symphonic orchestra. When the war ended, Sh. joined the vocal section of the Moscow (now Tchaikovsky) Conservatory, and still studying, practicing in the Moscow Opera Studio, where she played significant roles in the well-known operas.

After completing the conservatory in 1950, she performed as a soloist in several Moscow universities. In the span of 1956 until 1958, Sh. joined as a soloist in the Frunzer (Kyrgizye) State Academic Opera Theatre as "Amneris" in Verdi's "Aida," Mussogorsky's "Boris Gudonov" ("Marina Tnishek") in "Rigoletto" ("Madelena"). Tchaikovsky's "Opritshnik" ("Di adelike morozova"), and in "Yevgeni Onyegin" ("Olga'), together twenty-eight opera parties. She returned, due to family issues, to Moscow. she turned to concert activities and enriched Yiddish estrade [?] music with European classical music, early on in Moscow, then across many cities of Soviet Russia. In her program Rachel's aria in Halevy's operat, "The Cardinal's Daughter," Ravel, Schuman, Shostakovich, Shaferin, Mura Deli, Yiddish folk songs and compositions from the Soviet-Jewish composers L. Pulver, L. Yampolsky, Rivka Boyarska, L. Kahan, Nisenevich, Shoynsky,

Birnov, Z. Kompaneyets, to the songs of the poets: Sh. Driz, A. Vergelis, Sh. Halkin, M. Teyf, L. Kvitko and Y. Keler.

About her concert the composer Motl Poliansky writes:

"Everywhere she shows deep understanding of the music, both for the literary texts. Theatrical exterior effects, overly polished--this is not in Clementina Shermel's manner. The 'playing' is not Yiddish songs, she sings, ...Hence the independence and limitation of its inhabitants is of course independent, her harsh, unmentioned and good-natured jest. Clementina Shermel's voice is impressive in all registers. Especially warm is the type of tenor of her breast registers. Her voice is bursting with such tempo that it is the custom of the people to mark with the epithet 'Zayd (Silk?),' 'Samet (Velvet),' and there are minutes when there seems to be a gentle violin, a magical violet chant."

The theatre critic I.U. Larin writes:

"The artist Sh. possesses a remarkable sense of the spectator. Sh. really has a significant vocal culture, a kind of breathing mastery. No noticeable efforts while singing. Consequently, this is why ease is felt, not entirely the range of its voice resources [?]. The old man testifies about an excellent vocal school. In every meticulous musical work, let there be an operatic aria; if a folk song, at least one of its styles are noticeable, dramatic angezetiktkeyt and a significant expression. The listener met at such a concert not only with a high-cultural singer, but also with a experienced actress. It has to be noted that before Sh. is actually a sense of measure when expressing strong emotions. It is remarkable that in such a highly tragic request as Rebecca Boyarski's compositions to Sh. DRIZT 'Babi Yar', Sh. is very TSURIKGEHALTN and doe not withhold and provide its vocal resources."

Sh.E. from Yeshue Lyubomirski.

  • S. Rabinovitsh -- A naye yidishe zingerin, "Morgn frayhayt," N.Y., 18 April 1962.

  • A teatral -- K. shermel -- a naye yidishe zingerin, "Naye prese," Paris, 27 April 1964.

  • B. Rabinskov -- (Russian) "Birobizhanskaya zvyezda," 12 October 1964.

  • Motl Palianski in "Naye pres," Paris, 15 March 1967.

  • I.U. Larin (Russian) -- "Zabakalsk robotgik," 2 October 1969.

  • G. Lyuris (Russian) -- "Vostotshnaya sibirskaya pravda," 12 October 1969.

  • B. Miller -- "Kontsertn fun yidisher lid," "Birobidzhaner shtern," 21 October 1969.

  • Natala boloksheyeva (Russian) agenter fun "Novosti."






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 7, page 6254.

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