Interview with Julia Lezhneva in Belgium
The Russian soprano, Julia Lezhneva was last here in Barga as part of the Cardiff International Academy of Voice series of concerts performed in the city during the summer of 2009 (articles here and here)
We said then “It is not often that one name is singled out but really one voice stands out head and shoulders, even taking into account her diminutive stature, above the rest. That is the nineteen year old Russian soprano, Julia Lezhneva. Write that name in your diaries folks … “Julia Lezhneva”
A comment at the end of that article from monacu summed up very neatly just how much of an impression she made on the city and he ended hoping that she would return once she became famous.
The remarkable thing about Dennis O’Neill’s students is the high technical standard at which all of them, without exception, sing. Tutti bravi indeed. For anyone who attended the first two Barga performances of the Cardiff Adademy this year, it was no surprise to see Maestro Sardelli in the audience — and even less surprising to note his rapt attention when Julia Lezhneva performed. Her voice has the range and heart-stopping tonal purity that are achieved by only a handful of each generation’s opera singers. When you are famous, Ms. Lezhneva, as you almost certainly will be in short order, we hope you will remember Barga and return to us.
Since 2009 she has gone on to take her place on the world stage but she has not forgotten Barga and via her father Michael, regularly sends messages and videos of her latest performance.
The video below is of an interview with her on Belgium radio where she talks about her role in Les Huguenots (Meyerbeer)
Opéra de la Monnaie – Place de la Monnaie Bruxelles, 1000 BELGIUM
Orchestre Symphonique et Choeurs de la Monnaie
Marc Minkowski, Conductor
Olivier Py, Director
Marlis Petersen, Soprano: Marguerite de Valois
Henriette Bonde-Hansen, Soprano: Marguerite de Valois
Mireille Delunsch, Soprano: Valentine
Unknown, Soprano: Valentine
Julia Lezhneva, Soprano: Urbain
Blandine Staskiewicz, Soprano: Urbain
Eric Cutler, Tenor: Raoul de Nagis
John Osborn, Tenor: Raoul de Nagis
Philippe Rouillon, Bass: The Count of Saint-Bris
The Russian soprano, Julia Lezhneva, was born into a family of geophysicists. She began playing the piano and singing at the age of five. In 2004 she graduated with distinction from the Gretchaninov Music School; between the ages of 14 and 18 she continued her vocal and piano studies at the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory. In 2008 she received an honours degree for her vocal studies and a diploma for piano. In September 2008 she began studying with the tenor Dennis O’Neill at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice. She has attended master-classes with Elena Obraztsova in St Petersburg in 2007, and with Alberto Zedda at the Accademia Rossiniana in Pesaro in 2008.
At the age of 12 Julia Lezhneva began to take part in vocal competitions and festivals. She won the Grand Prix at both of Elena Obraztsova’s international competitions, the first Competition for Young Singers (2006) and the sixth Competition for Young Opera Singers (2007), in which she also won the Spectators’ Award. She made her debut in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with Mozart’s Requiem, with the Moscow Virtuosi conducted by Vladimir Minin. Since then, she has increasingly been in demand around the world, both on the concert platform and the opera stage.
Julia Lezhneva has given solo recitals in the Great Halls of both the St Petersburg Philharmonic Society and the Moscow Conservatory. She has also appeared in concerts in the St Petersburg Conservatory, and took part in the Elena Obraztsova Gala Performance at the Bolshoi Theatre, with the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra conducted by Giuliano Carella.
Last year Julia Lezhneva gave solo performances in Tokyo, at the invitation of Musashino Cultural Foundation, and in Kosice, Slovakia, at the invitation of tenor Peter Dvorský. She also took part in a joint concert with the Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flores as part of the Rossini Opera Festival 2008 in Pesaro, under the baton of the leading Rossini interpreter Albert Zedda. Julia also performed the soprano solo in J.S. Bach’s Mass in B minor (BWV 232) in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and recorded it with Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble conducted by Marc Minkowski.
Julia Lezhneva’s repertoire includes works by Antonio Vivaldi, Riccardo Broschi, Mozart, J.S. Bach, Georg Frideric Handel, Rossini, Bellini, Alessandro Scarlatti, Schubert, Gustav Mahler, Charpentier, Gretchaninov, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninov.
In 2008 she was given the independent Russian ‘Triumph’ award for her contribution to culture and art.