Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Julia Lezhneva sings Rossini

I've been listening to the new CD by Julia Lezhneva for the last couple of weeks.  When it comes to music, there are always pleasant surprises in store.  Julia is a very young soprano with the voice of someone much more experienced.  The CD itself is a collection of Rossini arias which show off her vocal range, the variety of the music demands accuracy, strength of tone and a delicate touch. She handles the dynamics of the arias effortlessly, drawing comparisons to Callas from critics.  Her voice seems naturally higher in range than Callas', without any weakening in the upper register, strong and fluid with a great deal of depth for such a young singer.

Julia has had a very full career already, despite her youth, winning many awards and garnering praise from many quarters.  It appears Rossini is a favourite of hers, performing his arias at the Classical Brits last year and here performing at the St Petersburg competition for opera singers in 2007.  She doesn't have the richness of voice that we associate with mature singers like Bartoli or Netrebko, what she has is a brilliance more associated with young voices, a brightness that has warmth.  As she gains experience, I hope she keeps that brilliance, it will be the one thing that sets her apart from other singers of her generation.

Another thing to bear in mind is her range.  She appears to glide from soprano, through mezzo, down to contralto and back without sounding strained or stretched in any way, no tiny compromises.  She has a clarity of voice that is unusual in any vocal range.  I cannot recommend this singer highly enough.

I'd encourage everyone to see more opera, try something you've never heard before, preferably sung by a singer you've never heard before.  Later this month I'll be going to see my third Rosenblatt Recital, featuring Vuyani Mlinde.  If the previous recitals are anything to go by, I'll be in for a treat.

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