International media have described the 23-year old-Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva as among ‘few young singers being widely celebrated so early in their careers’ (Independent) and as possessing the voice of ‘angelic beauty’ (New York Times), ‘pure tone’ (Die Welt) and ‘flawless technique’ (The Guardian).
Alex Ross in the New Yorker commented: “she sent me scurrying to the Internet to find out more… Lezhneva has extraordinary potential as a Baroque and bel canto singer” while Norman Lebrecht outlined Lezhneva as ‘heading for the stratosphere’.
Having earned an honors degree in vocal studies and a piano diploma from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory Academic Music College as well as completing the postgraduate course at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice under the guidance of Dennis O’Neill supported by the Fellowship of the Kempinski Arts Support Programme, Julia Lezhneva has completed her academic education at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Yvonne Kenny gaining MMus degree with distinction.
Ms. Lezhneva came to international attention at the age of 17 as the Grand Prix winner of the 6th Elena Obraztsova International Competition for Opera Singers.
At the age of eighteen, Ms Lezhneva has shared the concert stage with Juan Diego Flуrez at the opening of the 2008 Rossini Opera Festival under Alberto Zedda as well as made her first professional recording (Naпve) performing soprano 2 part in J.S.Bach’s B-minor Mass with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre.
In January 2010 Ms Lezhneva made her debut at the Salzburg Mozartwoche Festival performing the soprano second part in Mozart’s Great Mass with Marc Minkowski and MDLG. In April 2010 she participated in the memorial concert for late Polish president Lech Kaczynski, singing the soprano part in Mozart’s Requiem under Marc Minkowski at the Main Square of Krakow.
Ms Lezhneva caused a sensation in London at the 2010 Classical Brit Awards, singing Rossini’s Fra il padre at the Royal Albert Hall upon the invitation of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sharing the gala stage with Angela Gheorghiu, Rolando Villazon and Bryn Terfel.
Ms Lezhneva’s European concert tour and Naпve recording of Vivaldi’s opera Ottone in villa with il Giardino Armonico and Giovanni Antonini as well as debut solo concerts at the Salzburg Festival 2010 with Mozarteum Orchestra and Marc Minkowski, yielded extraordinary success and exceptional resonance in the international press.
Naпve released the artist’s first solo recording in spring 2011, Rossini arias with Marc Minkowski and Sinfonia Varsovia. The CD reached the number one spot in French classical charts and earned several major international awards including the Diapason d’Or de l’Annee ‘Jeune talent’, MDR ‘CD des Jahres” and Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice.
Highlights of the 2010-11 season included concert performances of Mozart’s Cosм fan tutte – singing the role of Fiordiligi – with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble, a debut at La Monnaie as Urbain in a new production by Olvier Py of Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots conducted by Mo. Minkowski, Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol and Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta at the Salzburg Festival, opposite Anna Netrebko, with Ivor Bolton conducting the Mozarteum Orchestra, Mozart’s Mass in c-minor under Giovanni Antonini also at the Salzburg Festival, and an American debut in performances of the Mozart Requiem with Louis Langrйe and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center. Ms Lezhneva’s acclaimed stage debut at La Monnaie earned the artist one of the most prestigious international opera awards – Opernwelt ‘Nachwuchssangerin des Jahres 2011’.
The season 2011/2012 saw Ms Lezhneva’s debut with Cleveland Orchetrsa under the baton of Franz Welser-Mцst performing the Mozart’s Great Mass in C. The artist has been concertizing throughout Europe with several solo programmes, including a Handel tour throughout Grenoble, Lausanne & Berlin Staatsoper as well as a ‘Mozart Da Ponte’ tour throughout France, both projects with Marc Minkowski & Les Musiciens du Louvre. Ms Lezhneva performed a role of Trasimede in a worldwide premiere European tour (Krakow, Caen & Vienna Konzerthaus) and made a live recording of A. Vivaldi’s ‘Oracolo in Messenia’ for Virgin Classics. In return to the Salzburg Mozartwoche 2012, the artist performed soprano 2 solo in J.S. Bach’s Magnificat & W.A.Mozart’s Litanie KV243 with Marc Minkowski & MDLG. Ms Lezhneva also performed recitals with pianist Mikhail Antonenko throughout Russian Federation and Europe, including such venues as St-Petersburg Philharmonic, Ghent Festival of Flanders and Torroella Festival. Ms Lezhneva performed a concert with Philippe Jaroussky under Diego Fasolis & I Barrochisti in Neumarkt as part of their special duet project.
Julia Lezhneva has enjoyed an overwhelming success performing G.Rossini’s La Donna del Lago Elena’s aria during the Victoires de la Musique Classique Ceremony 2012, sharing the Gala stage alongside Renйe Fleming, Natalie Dessay, Philippe Jaroussky and Nathalie Stutzmann.
Lezhneva continues her artistic relationship with the Salzburg Festival, for the third consecutive season, gaining extraordinary success from both public & press singing the role of Asteria in Handel’s Tamerlano at the Grosses Festspielhaus alongside Plбcido Domingo, Bejun Mehta and Franco Fagioli under Marc Minkowski & MDLG.
The past 12/13 season overviews Lezhneva’s further projects with Il Giardino Armonico & Giovanni Antonini – her new DECCA Solo Album ‘Alleluia’ was released in March 2013 to major critical acclaim as well as numerous solo concerts dedicated to the CD programme were performed throughout Europe. The CD has been topping numerous classical charts around the world, particularly in Germany, Belgium, UK & Australia. The CD received numerous 5 star reviews from around the world as well as gained the Gramophone’s “Editor’s Choice”, Luister 10 & ECHO-Klassik awards apart from others. Lezhneva performed the role of Piacere in Handel’s Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno concert version with Rene Jacobs & Freiburger Barockorchester throughout Europe, including Paris Salle Pleyel, Theater an der Wien, Madird l’Auditori, as well as the same role with Il Giardino Armonico & Giovanni Antonini for the Budapest Spring Festival and Misteria Paschalia Festival in Krakow. The artist appeared at the televised SemperOpernBall in Dresden alongside Vittorio Grigolo and performed two recitals in Moscow debuting at the legendary ‘December Nights Festival of Sviatoslav Richter’ at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts’ and returned to the Great Hall of Moscow State Conservatory.
The present 2013/2014 season already saw Lezhneva’s triumphal performances of Handel’s Alessandro (Rossane) in concert version opposite M.E. Cencic, L. Aikin & Xavier Sabata under George Petrou and Armonia Atenea, gaining standing ovations and great critical acclaim throughout the tour in Bucharest Atheneum, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Paris Salle Pleyel & Theater an der Wien. The artist continues to perform solo concerts with Il Giardino Armonico / GIovanni Antonini – this season in Bilbao Philharmonic, Barbican Hall London, Vienna Konzerthaus, Zagreb Lisinski Concert Hall, Valladolid, Murcia and for Halle Festspiele Handel.
Lezhneva performed a recital with pianist Mikhail Antonenko at the Quincena Festival gaining standing ovations on August 6 2013 and will continue performing recitals during this season at the venues, including St.-Petersburg Great Philharmonic Hall, Moscow Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts (December Nights Festival), Vic L’Atlantida, Pamplona Teatro Gayarre and Girona Auditorium.
Lezhneva debuts in her first Australian tour with recital at the Melbourne Recital Centre & concert for Hobart Baroque Festival. The artist will also appear at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow on December 26 2013 participating at the Elena Obraztsova Anniversary Gala.
January 2014 will see Lezhneva perform Soprano Solo in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Philippe Jaroussky (Alto) under Diego Fasolis and I Barrochisti at the Essen Philharmonie, Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Lucern KKL. In April 2014 Lezhneva will concertize with Helsinki Baroque Orchestra under Aapo Haekkinen in a Solo tour including Helsinki Music Centre and Lisbon Gulbenkian.
As of November 2011, Ms Lezhneva is an exclusive DECCA solo artist.
Julia Lezhneva performs in the prestigious concert and operatic halls of Europe, USA and Asia, including the Royal Albert Hall and Barbican Hall in London, Lincoln Center Avery Fisher Hall in New York, Cleveland Severance Hall, Salle Pleyel, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Theatre des Champs-Йlysйes, Salle Pleyel, Thatre du Chatelet & Salle Gaveau in Paris, Wiener Konzerthaus and Theater an der Wien, Berlin Staatsoper under den Linden, Berlin Konzerthaus, Dresden SemperOpern, Brussels Theatre Royal de la Monnaie, Tokyo, Grand Hall of Moscow Conservatory, The Bolshoi Theatre, Grand and Glinka Halls of the St-Petersburg Philharmonic, as well as for Salzburger Festspiele, Salzburg Mozartwoche, Verbier, Beaune, Torroella, Quincena Musical, Wratislawia Cantana, Misteria Paschalia & Rossini Opera Festivals.
Julia Lezhneva collaborates with renowned conductors, including Marc Minkowski, Giovanni Antonini, Alberto Zedda, Franz Welser-Moest, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Rene Jacobs, Louis Langree, Fabio Biondi, Jean-Christoph Spinosi, Diego Fasolis, David Angus, Vladimir Fedoseev, Vladimir Minin and singers, including Plбcido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dennis O’Neill, Juan Diego Florez, Jose Carreras, Vittorio Grigolo, Piotr Beczala, Philippe Jaroussky, Max Emmanuel Cencic, Bejun Mehta, Franco Fagioli, Xavier Sabata, Nathalie Stutzmann, Vivica Genaux among others.