Guest of the Opera
The young mezzo-soprano Lena Belkina is already in demand all over the world.She sang her way into the international limelight back in 2012 with her Angelina in Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Carlo Verdone/Gianluigi Gelmetti). The live video recording made by Mondovision was awarded the 64º PRIX ITALIA and the Warsaw Music Gardens Festival audience prize. What entranced the Oscar-winning director about his star performer was her extraordinary charisma: “…una fotogenia straordinaria, e la giusta dolcezza malinconica e sognante nei suoi grandi occhi neri…” (“extraordinarily photogenic, with the ideal melancholy, dreamy sweetness of her big dark eyes”) (Verdone in Cultura). Since then, this film version, produced by Andrea Andermann, has been shown in more than 150 countries. For summer 2014, the Ukraine-born singer has been engaged by the Rossini Opera Festival. Lena Belkina is singing the major role of Arsace in a newly revised edition of the opera Aureliano in Palmira. This, the first performance of the opera at the festival, is directed by Mario Martone. A special highpoint was that Lena has been allowed to sing Giovanni Battista Velluti’s great cadenzas: a particular honour granted to no-one else since the great castrato’s death, they are published by Unitel Classica. Next in her diary is Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, in a production at the Teatro Real Madrid. Earlier she brought her Olga in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin to the Teatro Comunale in Bologna. She was subsequently invited to the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St Petersburg to sing Polina/Milozvor opposite Elena Obraztsova’s Countess in The Queen of Spades under Mikhail Tatarnikov. Other important appearances in recent seasons have included the New National Theatre Tokyo, where she sang Cherubino in 2013, under the baton of Ulf Schirmer in a production by Andreas Homoki; and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, where she was engaged to sing Rosina in the revival of Claus Guth and Axel Kober’s new production of Il barbiere di Siviglia. She made her début at the Vienna State Opera in Die Zauberflöte in 2011. More appearances followed, including in Le nozze di Figaro, La Traviata, Rusalka and Manon. Lena Belkina’s successful career has seen her collaborating with many important conductors, including Marco Armiliato, Adam Fischer, Ivor Bolton, Paolo Carignani, Bertrand de Billy, Jiří Bělohlávek and Riccardo Muti. Lena Belkina was born in 1987 and gained her first stage experience as a child, singing folksongs in her home-town of Dzhankoy in the Crimean peninsula. Inspired by the performances of Maria Callas, she took singing lessons from the age of 14, and completed her piano studies at music school with distinction. As an aspiring singer she studied at the Tchaikovsky Academy of Music in Kyiv from 2003 to 2009, under Prof. Eugenia Miroshnichenko and Nikolai Gorbatov. She won Ukraine’s most important singing competition, the Boris Gmyria, and made the transition to the Leipzig Opera, where she was a member of the company from 2009 to 2012. As early as 2010 she sang Elmira in Floridante in the opening concert of the Handel Festival in Halle, in the Leipzig Bach Festival, and Etelia in Meyerbeer’s rarely-heard opera Emma di Resburgo in the Vienna Konzerthaus. In 2012 she completed her studies, gaining distinction in Prof. Roland Schubert’s class and a degree from Leipzig’s Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy College of Music and Theatre.
Photo: Misha Blank