Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva releases her 4th CD Alleluia this week. It is named after the final movement of Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate K165, which is the last of 4 motets on the recording, the others being by Vivaldi (In furore iustissimae irae, RV626), Handel (Saeviat Tellus Inter Rigores, HWV240) and Porpora (In caelo stele clare fulgescant).
The 23-year-old teams up with specialist early music ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, directed by Giovanni Antonini, for this, her first recording on the Decca label. While the works by Vivaldi, Handel and Mozart are relatively well known, the recording of Porpora’s motet is a world premiere. Lezhneva says the “vocal lines are completely natural and very comfortable for my voice, even though they are written in an instrumental way. Porpora’s music fits my voice like Chopin fits a pianist’s hands. Its joy is phenomenal – it’s a tonic to sing this music.”
Lezhneva has been mentored by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, who invited her to appear at the 2010 Classical Brit Awards. Dame Kiri has said, “From time to time a really outstanding talent appears and I believe that Julia Lezhneva is just that. The brilliance of her voice and technique are extremely impressive.”
Since her appearance at the Classical Brit Awards, Lezhneva has sung at the Salzburg Festival, making her solo debut with the Mozarteum Orchestra and Mark Minkowski. She has gone on to perform at the Barbican Centre in London, the Konzerthaus Wien, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Berlin Staatsoper, the Lincoln Center in New York, and La Monnaie in Brussels.
Praised for her “pure tone” (Opernwelt) and “flawless technique” (Guardian) her solo Rossini album rose to #1 in the French Classical Charts and won her the 2012 Diapason d’Or Award for “Young Talent”, Gramophone’s “Editor’s Choice” and the German MDR “CD of the Year”.
A graduate of the Gretchaninov School of Music, the Moscow Conservatory and the Cardiff International Academy of Voice, Lezhneva has studied with the best, amongst them Elena Obraztsova, Dennis O’Neill and Yvonne Kenny.
Julia Lezhneva attracted international attention at the age of eighteen, when she performed in company with Juan Diego Flórez at the opening of the 2008 Rossini Opera Festival. She made her recording debut soon after, performing in J S Bach’s Mass in B minor with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre. She toured extensively in Europe with Il Giardino Armonico as Caio in Vivaldi’s Ottone in villa winning critical acclaim for her live performance as well for her recording.
Alleluia is available on March 8th 2013, on the Decca label, catalogue number 0289 478 5242 1.