“Angelic beauty” is The New York Times’ description of the voice that belongs to Julia Lezhneva, a leading soprano and a soloist of choice of many top orchestras, festivals and concert halls. “Perfect”, “flawless” and “pure” are the terms most often used by the world’s top critics, who marvel at her “unforgettable spiritual expression” (The Guardian). The Süddeutsche Zeitung that she could “…almost make her voice disappear, performing the craziest vocal tricks and garland fireworks…”
Ms. Lezhneva’s international career skyrocketed when she created a sensation at the Classical Brit Awards at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2010, singing Rossini’s Fra il padre at the invitation of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
A decade later, she explores a broad repertoire with orchestras, conductors, festivals, operas and oratories. She made to great acclaim her debuts with Berliner Philharmoniker and at the Musikverein Wien, in October 2019 and December 2019, respectively. In spring 2020 season she returned to Mozartwoche Salzburg, this time with Sir András Schiff, as well as to the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées with a performance of Handel’s Alessandro with Kammerorchester Basel and Diego Fasolis.
This season, she will give her debuts with Wiener Philharmoniker, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Wiener Symphoniker and the HR Symphonieorchester.
The world’s top orchestras who invite Julia Lezhneva include the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Münchner Philharmoniker, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Mariinsky Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Orquestra Nacional de España, Evgeny Svetlanov Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and Seoul Philharmonic.
She works regularly with very well-known conductors like Adam Fischer, Giovanni Antonini, Herbert Blomstedt, Andres Orozco-Estrada, Paavo Järvi, Vladimir Jurowski, and Andrea Marcon.
In 2019 she was “Artist in Residence” at Kissinger Sommer; in 2020 she will return as “Fokus Artist” to Rheingau Musik Festival with four different programmes. She is a welcome guest at the Salzburg Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Lucerne Festival, Dubrovnik Festival, Festival de la Vézère,Sion Festival, Nordland Musikfestukke Bodö to name a few.
Ms. Lezhneva’s debut in Handel’s Alcina as Morgana at the Staatsoper Hamburg was widely celebrated in September 2018. She was immediately invited to return for Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini) and additional performances of Alcina. In 2021, she sings the role of Poppea in Händel’s new production of Agrippina (director: Barrie Kosky)– again at Staatsoper Hamburg. She appears in several other opera productions including Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso (Angelica), Porpora’s Polifemo (Galatea), Germanico in Germania (Ersinda), Carlo il Calvo (Gildippe), Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (Susanna, Barberina), Handel’s Tamerlano.
In winter 2019 she had her debut in Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium; the same season saw her in Händel’s Messiah and La Resurrezione, Vivaldi’s Juditha triumphans; spring 2019 she sings in Haydn’s Schöpfung and Mahler’s Symphony n° 4.
Julia Lezhneva gives Lieder recitals, too, that brought her for example to Kissinger Sommer (2019) and to Vienna (2019); her repertoire includes Lieder from Russian, English and German composers.
An exclusive Decca recording artist, Ms. Lezhneva released her latest solo album, Graun Arias, in 2017. Recorded with Concerto Köln, it won an OPUS Klassik in the following year. Other releases include Vivaldi Gloria with Franco Fagioli and Diego Fasolis (2018), Porpora Germanico in Germania with Max Emanuel Cencic (2018), Handel Arias with Il Giardino Armonico (2015), Ms. Lezhneva’s much acclaimed solo-debut Alleluia, also with Il Giardino Armonico (2014), and Pergolesi Stabat Mater with Philippe Jaroussky, Diego Fasolis, I Barocchisti and the Swiss Radio and TV Choir (2013).
Born in 1989 in a family of geophysicists on Sakhalin Island off the Pacific Coast of Russia, Ms. Lezhneva began playing piano and singing at the age of five. She graduated from the Gretchaninov Music School and continued her vocal and piano studies at the Moscow Conservatory Academic Music College. At 17 she came to international attention as the winner of the Elena Obraztsova Opera Singers Competition, and was invited to share the stage with Juan Diego Flórez at the opening of the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro in the following year. In 2009, she won first prize at the Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition in Helsinki and the following year took first prize at the Paris International Opera Competition, as the youngest contestant in each competition’s history. Opernwelt magazine named her “Young Singer of the Year” in 2011 for her debut at La Monnaie in Brussels. The following year she performed at the Victoires de la Musique Classique in Paris.
Julia Lezhneva’s teachers and mentors include Dennis O’Neill, Yvonne Kenny, Elena Obraztsova, Alberto Zedda, Richard Bonynge and Thomas Quasthoff.