The young Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva has been described as possessing a voice of ‘angelic beauty' (The New York Times), ‘pure tone' (Opernwelt) and ‘flawless technique' (The Guardian). Born into a family of geophysicists on Sakhalin Island in 1989, she began playing the piano and singing at the age of five. After graduating from the Gretchaninov Music School, she continued her vocal and piano studies at the Moscow Conservatory Academic Music College. At the age of 17 she came to international attention winning the Elena Obraztsova International Competition, and at 18 she shared the concert stage with Juan Diego Flórez at the opening of the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro under Alberto Zedda. In 2008 she began studying with tenor Dennis O'Neill in Cardiff, supported by the Kempinski Arts Fellowship Programme and then completed her training under Yvonne Kenny at London's Guildhall School. She has also attended masterclasses with Elena Obraztsova in St. Petersburg, Alberto Zedda in Pesaro and Thomas Quasthoff in Verbier. In 2009 she won first prize at the Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition in Helsinki and the following year took first prize at the Paris International Opera Competition, the youngest entrant in each competition's history.
In 2010, Julia Lezhneva created a sensation at the Classical Brit awards at London's Royal Albert Hall, singing Rossini's Fra il padre upon the invitation of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. In 2011, Opernwelt named her ‘Young Singer of the Year' for her debut at La Monnaie in Brussels. In February 2012 at the Victoires de la Musique Classique ceremony in Paris, she enjoyed an overwhelming success singing Rossini, sharing the gala stage with Renée Fleming, Natalie Dessay, Philippe Jaroussky and Nathalie Stutzmann. In summer 2012, she appeared at the Salzburg Festival for the third consecutive season, singing Asteria in Handel's Tamerlano alongside Plácido Domingo and Bejun Mehta. Her stage and concert appearances in 2010 -2011 have included the Brussels and Berlin State operas, the Mostly Mozart (Lincoln Center) festival (Mozart's Requiem under Louis Langree), the Cleveland Orchestra (Mozart's C minor Mass under Franz Welser-Möst), Les Musiciens du Louvre (solo, sacred and operatic programmes and including Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte under Marc Minkowski) and Il Giardino Armonico (Caio in Vivaldi's Ottone in Villa under Giovanni Antonini) & Europa Galante (Trasimede in Vivaldi's L'Oracolo in Messenia under Fabio Biondi) during the European concert tours.
Julia Lezhneva's 2012/13 season includes European tours with Giovanni Antonini and Il Giardino Armonico, a concert tour of Handel's Il trionfo del tempo with René Jacobs and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, concert performances of Handel's Alessandro at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Paris's Salle Pleyel and the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, a concert performance of Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia under Sir Roger Norrington in Paris, and an appearance with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow under Vladimir Fedoseyev, as well as recitals with pianist Mikhail Antonenko.
Julia Lezhneva performs in many prestigious concert and operatic halls throughout Europe and the USA, including the Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican in London, Lincoln Center Avery Fisher Hall in New York, Cleveland Severance Hall, Salle Pleyel, Theatre des Champs-Elysees and Salle Gaveau in Paris, Wiener Konzerthaus and Theater an der Wien, Berlin Staatsoper, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Brussels Theatre Royal de la Monnaie, Madrid L'Auditori, Grand Hall of Moscow Conservatory and the Pushkin Museum, The Bolshoi Theatre, Grand and Glinka Halls of the St-Petersburg Philharmonic, as well as for the Salzburger Festspiele, Salzburg Mozartwoche, Verbier, Beaune, Torroella and Misteria Paschalia Festivals.
Ms Lezhneva collaborates with renowned conductors, including Marc Minkowski, Giovanni Antonini, Franz Welser-Moest, Renee Jacobs, Louis Langree, Fabio Biondi, Jean-Christoph Spinosi, Diego Fasolis, Alberto Zedda, Vladimir Fedoseev, Vladimir Minin and singers, including: Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dennis O'Neill, Juan Diego Florez, Philippe Jaroussky, Max Emmanuel Cencic, Bejun Mehta, Franco Faggioli, Nathalie Stutzmann, Vivica Genaux, Ann Hallenberg among others.