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A star is born! The Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva is the vocal revelation that everyone is talking about. Still only 21, a protégée of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and the winner of several major awards, Lezhneva makes her solo recital debut with a programme of arias by Rossini, a composer of whom is particularly fond. She is accompanied by the Sinfonia Varsovia conducted by its new artistic director Marc Minkowski.
In 2007 Julia Lezhneva won the prestigious Elena Obraztsova International Competition for Young Opera Singers in St Petersburg, for which the judges included Teresa Berganza, Christa Ludwig and Eva Marton. She has sung opposite Juan Diego Flórez at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, and made her UK debut, aged 19, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko, also performing Rossini. Her London debut, introduced by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, came at the 2010 Classical Brit Awards singing Elena’s Final Rondo from Rossini’s La Donna del Lago in the Royal Albert Hall.
In October 2010 she confirmed her status as one of the world’s most exciting talents by winning the First International Opera Competition held at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris. Her performance in the recent Naïve recording of Vivaldi’s opera Ottone in Villa, conducted by Giovanni Antonini, has been praised to the skies by the international press. Her debut solo concerts at the 2010 Salzburg Festival with the Mozarteum Orchestra and Marc Minkowski likewise achieved extraordinary success. Minkowski has followed the young singer’s career closely; it was he who invited her in 2009 to take part in Bach’s B minor Mass, her first recording, and in summer 2011 she will sing the part of Fiordiligi under his baton in a new production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte at Salzburg. Despite her youth, Julia Lezhneva has a huge and extremely varied repertoire, ranging from the Baroque and bel canto styles to Romantic and contemporary music.
Gioachino Rossini: La donna del lago (The Lady of the Lake)
La donna del lago (The Lady of the Lake), Act II: Tanti affetti in un momento
Gioachino Rossini: Guillaume Tell (William Tell)
Guillaume Tell (William Tell), Act II: Ils s'eliognent enfin
Gioachino Rossini: Semiramide
Semiramide, Act I: Bel raggio lusinghier
Gioachino Rossini: Otello, ossia Il moro di Venezia
Otello, ossia Il moro di Venezia, Act III: Canzone: Assisa a' pie d'un salice
Gioachino Rossini: La Cenerentola (Cinderella)
Act II: Della Fortuna instabile
Gioachino Rossini: Le siege de Corinthe (Sung in Italian)
Le siege de Corinthe, Act III: L'ora fatal…Giusto ciel! in tal periglio
3rd April 2011
“The 21-year-old Russian soprano — winner of Finland’s prestigious Mirjam Helin singing competition in 2009 — is clearly a name to watch. Hers is a bright, high soprano of limpid timbre and an easy coloratura technique”
“She has attractively full tone in the lower middle, where much of the music lies, and she possesses the flexibility to negotiate exceedingly challenging coloratura...[Minkowski] should lead Rossini more frequently - his vigour, intelligence and sheer polish are most welcome here.”
29th April 2011
“Lezhneva's voice is perfectly suited to a flamboyant coloratura piece such as "Tanti Affetti", from La Donna del Iago, with her tiptoeing trills teetering delicately along. But the standout here is "Assisa a' piè d'un salice...for which the liquid harp glissandi and subtle strings of the Sinfonia Varsovia provide the most delightful, sensitive setting.”
5th May 2011
“Her sense of line is unquestionably superb, as is her technique: there are trills and staccatos here, the likes of which we hear all too rarely.”
“there is real flair and talent here, with much of the coloratura neatly despatched, and some stylistic grace that is admirable...Minkowski and his Polish musicians are marvellous, especially in a knockout account of the Cenerentola overture.”
“a pure, pellucid soprano with an intriguing hint of mezzo plangency, fluent movement between the registers, and scintillating (if faintly aspirated) coloratura...this is a highly enjoyable debut recital, by turns affecting exhilarating, from a soprano of impressive accomplishment and still more exciting potential. Orchestral accompaniments are trim and alert”
“she delivers truly heart-stopping versions of the coloratura showpieces...Marc Minkowski's conducting is full of joie de vivre and sparkle too.”
The Arts Desk
26th June 2011
“Lezhneva’s vibrant pyrotechnics during "Tanti affeti" from La donna del lago are as wittily entertaining as they are musically appropriate...There’s crisp support from the Warsaw chorus and effortless, gossamer-light orchestral backing. Remarkable indeed.”
“she sings with pinpoint accuracy, real elegance and musicality, and the voice itself is warm and round and womanly and beautifully clean...there is a gorgeous relaxed feel to her singing...This lovely disc, neatly accompanied by Marc Minkowski and the Sinfonia Varsovia, is genuinely the herald of a special new voice.”
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