This year the Royal Opera's performances of Don Giovanni will feature the up-and-coming soprano Julia Lezhneva. In an autumn tour of Japan she will appear in the role of Zerlina. She recently wowed audiences at the Kanagawa Kenritsu Ongakudo with her performance in the Baroque opera L'Oracolo in Messenia.
Trasimede, the role she sang in that opera, is a comprimario, but the character sings arias that feature overwhelmingly compelling and technically complex passages. As she began to sing in the second act, it was clear that the audience was immediately enthralled, and the moment she finished, the hall erupted in shouts of "brava!" The applause continued for so long that one wondered whether she would be forced to sing an encore. During the intermission after Act 2, people rushed to the CD sales counter in the lobby, and a complete recording of the opera that contained Lezhneva's aria virtually flew off the shelves. It seemed that no one could resist the impulse to hear the aria again. That is how wonderful Lezhneva's singing was.
Twenty-four-year-old Julia Lezhneva was born on the island of Sakhalin. At the age of 17, she attracted the world's attention by winning a prize in the Elena Obraztsova Competition for Young Opera Singers. Since then, she has performed alongside many veteran singers, including performing works of Rossini with Juan Diego Flórez and works of Handel with Placido Domingo. The New York Times praised "the angelic beauty" of her voice, while Opernwelt mentioned her "pure tone," and The Guardian lauded her "flawless technique." The entire world anticipates a bright future for this young soprano.
In an interview before her performance, Lezhneva's expression and voice radiantly conveyed her love of singing. Concerning her role of Zerlina in Don Giovanni, she said, with a mischievous look on her face, "[Zerlina] is young and cute. She is surrounded by friends and happily anticipating her wedding, and that's me exactly!" There is no doubt that Julia Lezhneva will astound audiences with her sweet beauty and amazing vocal ability. She will arrive in Japan after her debut with the Royal Opera in June.