Saturday marks the centennial of Estonian baritone Georg Ots (1920-1975) who was at the peak of his popularity from the beginning of the 1950s until his death.
Ots, who has a Tallinn street named after him adjacent to the Opera and Ballet House, made his solo opera debut with a small part in Evgeny Onegin, a Tchaikovsky opera based on the Puskhin verse novel of the same name, and later took on the lead role of that opera as well as in many others, including those of Escamillo in Bizet's "Carmen", Renato in Verdi's "Un ballo in maschera", Don Giovanni in the eponymous Mozart opera, and Porgy, in Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess".
Ots sang in Estonian, Russian, Finnish, German, Italian and French, and could also speak all those languages. He became hugely popular not only in the Soviet Union, but also in Finland, and also got to perform in various other European countries. He was also an actor.
Standard Ots fare from closer to home include this rendition of the "Saaremaa Waltz", taken from ERR's Menu portal
Readers with Estonian can follow ETV's broadcasting plan marking what would have been Ots' 100th birthday, here.
Other footage from the Ots era include his Entel-Tentel final concert (Entel-Tentel was a television broadcast of children's songs hosted by ETV in its Soviet incarnation (named Tallinna Televisioonistuudio – TTS – 1955-1965) here).
Editor: Andrew Whyte