« Memorable », « thrilling », « outstanding », « a sensation » : Venera Gimadieva made an astonishing debut this summer at Glyndebourne Festival. Having studied on the Bolshoi Theatre’s young artists’ programme, Gimadieva is now a member of the company. French audience (Limoges, Reims) have already enjoyed her Violetta, and Venera Gimadieva will soon make her Parisian debut, in that role at Opera Bastille. Don’t miss her !
Can you tell us about what decided you to sing and about your debut ?
I started singing when I was 11 years old, just for fun, for myself and without any expectations. But a music teacher in my school noticed me and offered singing lessons. I don’t quite remember my very first debut. Time to time, we had some music competitions and little concerts organised by my school. I always wanted to take part and used to win some of the competitions. I was very lucky with my teachers. They changed one another, carefully passing me on as a kind or a relay, they looked after my voice and technique before I could do it myself right up to my entering Bolshoi Theatre.
Can we describe your voice as « soprano lirico-leggero »? Or how would you define it ?
It is difficult for me to define my voice in only one term. I would always look at the part and think whether this part is right for my voice, therefore the definitions might be different.
This summer, you sang Violetta in Glyndebourne Festival, with a huge success. Did you expect such a marvellous reception?
Success, or the lack of it, is impossible to predict. With every project I am hoping to do my best and to succeed, especially when I am lucky enough to work with such a master as Mark Elder. Working with him on the part of Violetta took me on a very new professional level, and this new discovery very much influenced my performance. What happened in Glyndebourne last summer wasn’t just my achievement though, it was a great result for the whole production team.
In a few days, you are going to sing Violetta again in Paris’ Opéra Bastille. Is it your first time in our city?
I have been to Paris before but this is the first time I am going to perform there, and I am very excited about this opportunity.
Next season, you will be Juliette in Lima, with Juan Diego Florez’ first Romeo. Do you like French opera? Which roles would you like to sing ?
Juliette is my first chance to sing in a French opera. I have sung quite a few of French art-songs but never a full operatic part. I started learning French when I got this part, and I am now hoping to progress while learning Juliette. I am sure it will be a fantastic experience. One of my dream roles is also Massenet’s Manon, I would really like to sing it one day.
Can you tell us a bit about your main projects, about the roles you would like to sing or the artists you would like to work with ?
At this point of my career I would like to stay with bel canto repertoire like Lucia di Lammermoor or Elvira in I Puritani. I would love to work with such wonderful maestros as Zubin Mehta, Antonio Pappano or Simon Rattle, but I am also aware that there are many young talented musicians out there whose names I have not heard yet, so I am happy to explore and to keep my mind open.
Have you ever sung with period instruments, and do you like baroque music ?
I love baroque ! It would be great to sing a baroque part, but I don’t think my voice is ideal for this style, so it would take a lot of work and preparation before I could sing something like Handel’s Cleopatra.
Apart from music, do you have other hobbies or passions ?
Even though I am very pressed with time, I take every opportunity to go camping, to spend as much time with nature as possible. When I was a child I used to spend every summer in the country, since then I always dreamed to live somewhere close to a forest. Of course, being based in Moscow, it’s not easy to stay close to nature but when I can it gives me a lot of joy. It is around nature that I truly rest and get ready for my next role.