Irina Vasilieva is an opera singer, soloist of the Mariinsky Theater, Laureate of international competitions. Her unique soprano captivates listeners with a combination of vocal power and beautiful timbre, coupled with unsurpassed mastery of performance. Vasilieva performed on the best music stages in the world, sang with Placido Domingo, collaborated with renowned Russian and foreign conductors.
The future opera star was born in the Tajik capital Dushanbe in 1970. There she received her primary professional education: in 1988 she graduated from a music school (piano class). Then Vasilieva left for Leningrad and became a student at the St. Petersburg Conservatory named after Rimsky-Korsakov, which bears the title of the oldest conservatory in Russia. Irina studied at the department of special composition and improvisation with Professor Sergei Slonimsky, as well as at the department of solo singing with Professor Evgenia Verlasova.
It is worth saying a few words about the wonderful teachers of Irina Vasilyeva, who comprehensively developed the natural talents of their student. Sergei Mikhailovich Slonimsky is a famous composer, professor, and holder of the title of People's Artist of the RSFSR. He composed three dozen symphonies, 3 ballets, 8 operas, wrote music for films and performances. Among his students are composers Vladimir Migulya, Sofia Levkovskaya, Mehdi Hosseini. Evgenia Konstantinovna Verlasova is a famous opera singer (soprano), "Honored Artist of the RSFSR", who has performed at the Mariinsky Theater for over 30 years.
Of course, with such knowledge and skill received from the great professionals in their field, a successful vocal and musical future awaited Irina Vasilieva. In total, she spent more than 10 years on higher musical education. In 1993 she graduated from the department of composition at Slonimsky, and in 1999 - the vocal class of Perlasova. At the final exam she sang Francesca's aria from Rachmaninov's opera Francesca da Rimini.
Career start and the Academy of Young Singers
Already during her studies, Irina began to appear on the stage of the Opera Studio of the Conservatory. In 1998 she was entrusted with performing the part of the Countess from Mozart's Marriage of Figaro. Also in her student years, Vasilieva took part in the Hans Gabor International Opera Singing Competition and the Rachmaninov International Vocal Competition. However, she won her first victories a little later.
After graduating from the conservatory in 1999, Irina was admitted to the Academy of Young Singers at the Mariinsky Theater. This creative workshop opened a year earlier and was a trainee troupe that gives young singers the opportunity to practice on stage. Vocalists enrolled in the Academy perform in performances of the Mariinsky Theater, tour, prepare for festivals, and participate in master classes. Since its foundation, the head of the trainee troupe has been Larisa Gergieva, a teacher and People's Artist of Russia.
On the stage of the Mariinsky Theater, Vasilieva made her debut on 24 May 2000 with the part of Welgund from the opera Rhine Gold by Richard Wagner. For 6 years of work at the Academy of Young Singers, she performed the following musical parts on the stage of her native theater and beyond:
- opera "Moor" by Stravinsky - part of Parasha (2000);
- Verdi's Requiem - soprano part (2001);
- the opera La Bohème by Puccini as Musetta (2001);
- opera "Journey to Reims" by Rossini - part of Corinne (2001);
- Beethoven's symphony No. 9 - soprano part (2002).
Irina performed with the part of Parasha at the Los Angeles Philarmonic Hall. Here she was lucky to sing on the same stage with the great tenor Placido Domingo. In September 2000, they together presented to the public Act II of Wagner's opera Parsifal.
With the beginning of her professional career and the acquisition of stage experience, Vasilyeva began to successfully perform at music competitions. In 1999 she received a diploma at the Elena Obraztsova vocal competition. In the same year she was awarded at a vocal competition in Verona, Italy. And in 2000 Irina was awarded a special diploma and a prize at the Rimsky-Korsakov competition among young opera singers. The jury recognized her as the best performance of a work written by a 20th century composer.
In 2001 Vasilieva took part in a master class of the opera singer Renata Scotto from Italy. The first tour of the young vocalist took place in 2002, when she went to Helsinki with the opera "Moor". Soon Irina started recording solo discs, and in 2003 she gave a concert in Tsarskoe Selo. In 2004, the singer became a laureate of a vocal competition in Tallinn named after Isabella Yurieva. The jury awarded her first prize.
Since 2005 Irina Vasilieva has been working with the Mariinsky Opera Company. Since then, she has performed about 30 vocal parts from the theater's musical repertoire. The most notable ones are:
- Cook ("Nightingale");
- Cook ("The Tale of Tsar Saltan");
- Anthony ("The Tales of Hoffmann");
- Empress ("A Woman Without a Shadow");
- Mercedes ("Carmen");
- The Governess ("The Turn of the Screw");
- Yenufa ("Yenufa").
In 2006, the singer was nominated for the Golden Mask award for her role as Governess in The Turn of the Screw. And although she did not receive the award, the production itself won the Best Performance in Opera nomination. It is noteworthy that the opera is performed in English and accompanied by Russian subtitles. This is a common practice in order to preserve the original language of the work. For example, Vasilieva sings in various productions in Italian, German, French, Czech.
Irina's repertoire includes both complex operatic roles, which are not subject to every vocalist, and chamber music. The vocal parts performed at the concerts are taken from the musical works of Bach, Mozart, Verdi, Stravinsky, Handel.
Of course, the Mariinsky Theater occupies an important place in Vasilyeva's creative biography. However, the singer's performances were not limited to its walls. She performed at music venues in London, Paris, Tel Aviv. In 2006 she gave a solo concert in Toronto.
Since 2012, together with the accompanist Larisa Gabitova, Vasilieva has been engaged in an interesting project, which is based on the search, restoration and embodiment on the stage of lost or little-known ancient works. The first such work presented to the public on the stage of the Glinka Academic Capella was the opera Ariadne by the composer Giovanni Ristori.
The artist's personal life is not mentioned in official sources. She had a personal website a few years ago, but now she has no access to it. Perhaps some of Irina Vasilyeva's fans will open an Internet page dedicated to her work in the future, so that opera lovers can enjoy recordings of her performances at the Mariinsky Theater, as well as listen to the singer's studio albums.