New generation is coming!!!
I’ve heard many opinions but I personally believe in a new generation of opera singers! I don’t agree that we have no voices today or bad voices. Not all people can become great but that doesn’t mean there is nobody! That’s why I try to keep up with new talents in the opera world. I’ve decided to introduce you very talented female opera singers of today who are just reaching their top but who have already had a lot of success on their way. They are three sopranos Nino Machaidze, Marina Rebeka and Julia Lezhneva.
Nino Machaidze is a beautiful Georgian soprano. She graduated from her hometown’s State Conservatory. Later she also studied at the Academy for young artists at La Scala that gave her career a new impulse for development. The international recognition for Nino was in Salzburg when she replaced Anna Netrebko in a role of Juliette. This was a huge success!!! I got to know her years later when I saw new production of «La Boheme» in Salzburg. She sang Musetta and I liked her timbre a lot. It’s very soft like honey and at the same time very powerful and strong. I’m mad about Nino’s high notes!!!! When she sings them they fly away like into another universe! Insanely good!!!
Nino Machaidze has two CD recordings: «Romantic arias» and «Arias and scenes». They involve a usual repertoire of lyric-coloratura sopranos (for example, Lucia, Manon, Violetta etc). Here Nino presents her own vision of these heroines and I have to say, it’s really special. For example, after listening to her CDs I’ve rediscovered Manon’s aria «Adieu notre petite table». I’ve always thought: «Well, I know this. But it’s so short! Why do many singers include it in their recitals?». I really didn’t see much melody in it, don’t know why. And when I heard Nino’s interpretation, I fell in love with this aria completely! She sings it with such deep emotions, even though she’s never sung it on stage yet! Now every time I hear this piece I’m moved again like the first time even if it’s another performer. I hope we won’t wait too long to see Nino in the whole opera. I think she’ll be marvelous!!!
The remarkable role in Nino’s repertoire is Juliette in Gounod’s opera. When I watched the Salzburg production with her and Rolando Villazon, I believed them, their characters. Nino’s Juliette is so full of energy, love and strength. Her duet with Rolando is also very touching and truthful! In the recording you also feel joy and energy that Nino Machaidze brings in «Je veux vivre».
All belcanto arias are well sung too. Her light coloratura and brilliant high notes make a great combination for such famous heroines as Lucia, Amina, Marie.
Another beautiful and young soprano is Marina Rebeka. She is from Latvia. She began her studies in Latvia, later she graduated from the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome and the Accademia Rossiniana in Pesaro. Her career has been going up since Salzburg (again!) where she debuted in Rossini’s «Moise et Pharaon». My first «meeting» with Marina Rebeka happened last year when I watched new production of «Don Giovanni» by Metropolitan opera!
The first thought that comes to mind when you hear her singing is «Wow! What a unique and interesting timbre!» (at least in my case it was like that:)). Her voice shines in Mozart’s operas; you can really appreciate its purity and tenderness.
By now Marina has just one solo CD called «Mozart Arias». It has a compilation of well-known arias like «Der Hölle Rache Kocht In Meinem Herzen» (Die Zauberfloet), «Crudele? Ah no, mio bene!» (Don Giovanni) or «Dove Sono i bei momenti» («Le Nozze di Figaro»). I like her Donna Anna in particular. Maybe because I saw her in this role for the very first time. But you have to admit she is really good at it! Her crystal clear singing is very captivating; the intonation is very good (which is very important, especially for Mozart). This album is just a huge pleasure for a listener! I really hadn’t known how Marina Rebeka would manage the Queen of Night arias but….she surprised me in a good way! I’d love to see her as an evil woman on stage someday:).
Another surprise for me was aria «Dove Sono i bei momenti» from «Le Nozze di Figaro». Mozart has composed beautiful, endless music lines for this piece. Marina Rebeka sings them with a very light, pure voice, without any pressure and you don’t want her to stop. In my opinion the real beauty of Marina’s timbre opens up here like nowhere else!
A very unique performer in my list is amazing Julia Lezhneva. This 23-year old-Russian singer is an alumni of many prestigious music institutes like the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory Academic Music College, the Cardiff International Academy of Voice, London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Julia came to international attention when she became the Grand Prix winner of the 6th Elena Obraztsova International Competition for Opera Singers at the age of 17!!! Another remarkable moment of her career is the performance at the 2010 Classical Brit Awards where she sang Rossini’s «Fra il padre» upon the invitation of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. She was a sensation of that evening! Later Julia signed the exclusive contract with the recording company «Decca».
Julia Lezhneva has had performances in many prestigious concert and operatic halls of Europe, USA and Asia and shared a scene with many famous conductors and singers including Diego Fasolis, David Angus, Vladimir Minin, Plácido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Juan Diego Florez, Jose Carreras, Philippe Jaroussky etc.
Ms Lezhneva is a huge fan of baroque music. She has always wanted to sing it. She used to listen to many baroque performers, especially Julia admires Cecilia Bartoli (who doesn’t?!). Baroque music is her sort of first love that’s why she is now following such a repertoire. The flexibility of the voice and the technique allow her to manage all the difficulties of baroque style with flying colors! A striking example of Julia’s skills is a solo CD «Alleluia». It includes four sacred motets by Handel, Vivaldi, Porpora and Mozart. The pieces themselves are just divine and very beautiful but with Julia’s singing…they are even better! Especially, I admire her performance in Vivaldi’s «In furore», «Alleluia» and Handel’s «Saeviat Tellus Inter Rigores». You enjoy every single note in her fast coloraturas. Her intonation is so precise that all the arias sound so incredibly, even perfectly clear! I love this recording a lot!!!
Besides, Julia Lezhneva has recorded Rossini’s opera arias for her another solo CD which was my first ever experience of listening to her. Moreover, Julia constantly takes part in recording rarely-performed baroque operas or chamber pieces (ex. Handel’s «Alessandro», Vivaldi’s first opera «Ottone in Villa» etc.). Mostly you can see her performing in concert versions rather than in opera productions cause Julia enjoys it more right now but in the nearest future she is going to appear in opera houses with Mozart repertoire. So her career is developing very fast and I’m looking forward to her next astonishing projects!
By and large, looking at these young and perspective ladies we should be glad that we can observe their careers and success. I hope those of you, who had no idea about these performers, will decide to get to know more about them now and you’ll enjoy their talents as much as I do!
P.S. What young and talented singers could you recommend to listen to? Leave comments below.