Russian baritone Leonid Yakovlev (1858-1919). Yakovlev was a member of a small opera company in Tiflis when he was heard by Tchaikovsky and recommended to the director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. His first appearance there was in Gounod's Faust (1887). In addition to creating Rubinstein’s Demon, Yakovlev created the role of Yeletsky in The Queen of Spades. He was immensely popular, both as a singer and an actor, at the Mariinsky until vocal problems forced his retirement from the stage.Massachusetts-born soprano Ellen Beach Yaw(1869-1947) was practically booed off the stage of the Metropolitan Opera after she failed to live up to the highly touted billing, "[Yaw] can sing them [the notes] better than any living soprano now before the public." During her “peak” years Yaw was known as having the highest vocal range in recorded muscial history, taking that crown away from Lucrezia Ajugari. In spite of a poor showing at the Metropolitan, her high notes were said to be quite true. When asked by a New York Times reporter, "How high can you sing?" she answered: "I sing the E an octave above the E over high C. But of course I can't give much musical value to a note as high as that. It must be quick and staccato. But the G above the high C I can hold."
Russian tenor David Yuzhin (1868-1923). As a youth he sang in church choirs. He was professionally trained in St. Petersburg. Like many of his contemporaries, he gained experience by appearing in Kharkov, Odessa and other cities. In 1901 he joined the Bolshoi where he met his future wife, Nataliya Yermolenko. They both sang with Zimin's Private Opera in Moscow.Soprano Nataliya Yermolenko-Yuzhina (1881-1937?). She studied with Zotova in Kiev and later, in Paris with Paul Vidal. She made her debut (1900) in Kiev as Lisa in The Queen of Spades. She was a member of the Mariinsky Theatre and the Bolshoi, among others. She married Russian tenor David Yuzhin in 1906 and together they joined the Zimin's Private Opera. In 1908 she traveled to Paris, where she sang the role of Marina in Rimsky-Korsakov's second revised edition and first Paris presentation of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov. During the Russian Revolution she began an extensive tour, and after 1924 she settled in Paris.