“Aix-en-Provence may have adored Natalie Dessay, but Limoges now venerates Venera Gimadieva. She was more than equal to the challenges of this role, which demands absolute vocal and theatrical mastery… neither Callas nor Sutherland could have done a better job. There are many who bewail in specialist music publications that there are no more true Violettas, but Venera Gimadieva proves them all wrong.” Le Populaire du Centre
Hailed as "the new voice of Russia" and the star of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Venera Gimadieva has quickly become one of the most sought-after lyric coloratura sopranos in Europe. Her performances as Violetta La traviata have earned sensational reviews, with Opéra magazine describing her performance in Limoges as “extraordinary…with her captivating timbre, her flexible yet powerful voice, her strong stage presence, and her true physical beauty (which never hurts), she will be a star before long”.
Gimadieva studied at the Kazan Music College and the St. Petersburg State Conservatoire, later joining the St. Petersburg Opera where her roles included the title role of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Gilda Rigoletto, Lucia The Rape of Lucretia, Serafina in Donizetti’s Il campanello di note, and Genevieve Suor Angelica. She was a prize winner at the 2008 Rimsky-Korsakov International Competition in St Petersburg, the 2009 Competizione dell’Opera in Dresden, and the 2010 International Shalyapin Competition (first prize). In 2011, she was awarded the President's Prize for young cultural professionals by president Dmitry Medvedev of the Russian Federation. In 2014 she won the Golden Mask award for Best Female Performer in Opera category for her performance of Amina in La Sonnambula at the Bolshoi.
Having studied on the Bolshoi Theatre’s young artists’ programme, Gimadieva is now a member of the company, with roles at the theatre including Marfa The Tsar’s Bride, Ksenia Boris Godunov, Amina in a new production of La Sonnambula, Violetta in a new production of La traviata by Francesca Zambello, the title role of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow-Maiden, the Queen of Shemakha in a new production of The Golden Cockerel by Kirill Serebriannikov and conducted by Vassily Sinaisky, Sirin in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and Maiden Fevronia, and Serpina in Pergolesi’s La serva padrona. Concert performances in Moscow include Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem with the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Mikhail Pletnev at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall.
Recent engagements elsewhere include Violetta La traviata (La Fenice, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Opéra de Limoges, Opéra de Reims, Hungarian State Opera and Savonlinna Opera Festival), Gilda Rigoletto (Hungarian State Opera), and an appearance at the BBC Proms with the John Wilson Orchestra. Forthcoming engagements include her first Juliette Roméo et Juliette opposite Juan Diego Flórez’s first Roméo in Lima, and the title roles of Lucia di Lammermoor and Manon.
Venera Gimadieva is represented by Intermusica.
September 2014 / 390 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.
Violetta in Verdi La traviata
Glyndebourne Festival Opera
“Russian soprano Venera Gimadieva is a beguiling and utterly believable Violetta, laughing in giddy cascades of quavers in “Sempre libera” before growing into poised maturity and big legatos for her confrontation with Germont – a singular and striking company debut. Gimadieva’s youth and comparative inexperience (she is currently a company member at the Bolshoi but has big European Violettas and Gildas ahead in the calendar) find an innocence here that’s far from the brittle, hardened heroine we’ve seen from the likes of Netrebko. Only Ermonela Jaho has come close in recent memory to Gimadieva’s spontaneous warmth, and she has a vocal ease and facility that’s all her own. Gimadieva also has that rarest of instincts that sees her risk virtuosity and power for the drama of the moment, willing to lose herself in orchestral textures if that’s what it takes to make the scene work.”
Alexandra Coghlan, Independent, July 2014
“Venera Gimadieva and Michael Fabiano, as Violetta and Alfredo, both sing with an almost languid, big-voiced ease that’s a pleasure to witness. Her sound is creamy and penetrating, with Act I’s fireworks cleverly and convincingly negotiated…More than ever, the extended duet between Germont and Violetta exists as the opera’s emotional heart, as well as its turning point: here Cairns’s direction brings out exquisitely detailed acting from Gimadieva and Christoyannis”
Hugo Shirley, Spectator, July 2014
“Verdi’s great weepy revolves around the soprano who sings ‘the fallen woman’ of the title, the consumptive courtesan, Violetta. It needs a star turn and Glyndebourne has found one in young Russian Venera Gimadieva. Her voice is exquisite, thrillingly secure across the range, her top notes floated with beguiling purity. And she is also a compelling actress, bringing the necessary passion, despair and fragile vulnerability to the part.”
David Gillard, Daily Mail, July 2014
"As Violetta, the doomed heroine, the Russian soprano Venera Gimadieva was a real find. Her voice was full of power and emotion, from the joyousness of the opening party scene to her soft and pitiful end and she acted the part to perfection. Unlike many Violettas I have seen, she also looked the part, slim and beautiful, which added to the impact and credibility of her dying moments.”
William Hartston, Daily Express, July 2014
“Russian soprano Venera Gimadieva of the Bolshoi Opera is memorable in the title role. Her voice is thrilling, wonderfully controlled and expressive. She is also physically ideal, having a dark fragile beauty that recalls the real Lady of the Camellias, Marie Duplessis, immortalised by the Alexandre Dumas novel on which Verdi based his opera.”
Clare Colvin, Sunday Express, July 2014
“[Gimadieva] has all the makings of an outstanding interpreter of this star soprano role. She looks the tubercular courtesan to perfection: slim, with her almond-shaped face framed by the long black hair of Marie Duplessis, the model for Dumas’s Lady of the Camellias, on which La traviata is based. Gimadieva’s looks recall the young Galina Gorchakova, and her voice that of Anna Netrebko when she first emerged. She is a committed actress and her voice fills the medium-sized Glyndebourne auditorium without obvious effort…by “Alfredo, Alfredo” at Flora’s soirée she was spinning ear-caressing pianissmi; and in Addio del passato (Adieu to past dreams), tinged with regret and nostalgia, she had found her stride and her conquest of the audience was complete.”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, July 2014
“Venera Gimadieva is thrilling in this elegant update… She is a soprano of huge presence, compelling to watch, with a voice of thrilling security and range, and a special quality to her quieter singing that makes you hang on every note. It's a remarkable, touching Glyndebourne debut.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, July 2014
“The alluring Venera Gimadieva, based at the Bolshoi, makes a most impressive Violetta, singing with a vibrant clarity that never wobbles, even at pianissimo – inevitably, she puts one in mind of Netrebko, but her musical discipline is superior.”
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, July 2014
“Russian soprano Venera Gimadieva made a house debut of the utmost distinction: her Violetta was flawless across the board, with the power and warmth of her voice, secure and evenly produced across the entire range, supported by interior acting that was searingly committed and extraordinarily moving.”
Mark Valencia, What’s on Stage, July 2014
“How often in a lifetime do you catch an evening like this, where all three principals are not only up to the very highest vocal standards but also work as one with the conductor to make sense of every phrase, every word, in an intimate space for which Verdi’s chamber opera might have been crafted? Russian soprano Venera Gimadieva, in another Glyndebourne debut of stunning impact…the climactic cries of “love me, Alfredo” pierce the heart with full vocal weight and intensity.”
David Nice, The Arts Desk, July 2014
“Glyndebourne’s got talent. Or rather, the privately funded opera company on the Sussex Downs has unearthed an unusually gifted young Russian called Venera Gimadieva…Her soprano is bright, even, fresh, shapely. She meets with effortless ease the exacting vocal demands set by Verdi for his leading lady in La traviata – and has a matching stage confidence.”
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, July 2014
“In the star role of Violetta, Russian soprano Venera Gimadieva makes a definite splash in her Glyndebourne debut. She looks absolutely convincing as a call girl to high-society, and acts as capably as she sings”
George Hall, The Stage, July 2014
“This production has a sensation in Venera Gimadieva, whose voice seems limitless in its range of colour, from declamatory fortissimo to wafer-thin, consumptive pianissimo. And she looks fabulous.”
Stephen Pritchard, Observer, July 2014
“The other reason for joy is Gimadieva’s Violetta. In looks, acting ability and vocal timbre the young Bolshoi soprano inevitably invites comparison with Anna Netrebko…she sings with ravishing lyricism, has a pianissimo that could melt glaciers, the boldness to deploy it at crucial moments, and the intelligence to make every phrase convey expression without seeming histrionic.”
Richard Morrison, Times, July 2014
Opera Ball / Badische Staatskapelle
cond. Justin Brown
“… soprano Venera Gimadieva infatuated audiences with Juliet’s aria "Je veux vivre" from Gounod's opera Romeo and Juliet. Considered the new voice of Russia… her performance was celebrated as a sensational success.”
Christiane Lenhardt, Badisches Tagblatt, May 2013
Violetta in Verdi La Traviata / Opera de Rheims
"(...) la Violetta de Venera Gimadieva fait chavirer les oreilles autant que les yeux – chair veloutée de la voix, expressivité et tempérament déjà très affirmés pour cette jeune soprano russe à qui l’on promet un bel avenir. A mille lieues des courtisanes désincarnées vues récemment sur les planches, l’élégance de sa ligne et de ses robes galbe une féminité dont elle révèle l’ambivalente attraction, entre idéalisation et asservissement aux désirs des hommes."
“Venera Gimadieva’s Violetta is devastatingly beautiful, both to the ears and to the eyes. Her voice has a velvety richness, and her expressiveness and temperament are already very established for this young soprano from Russia, whose future looks highly promising. Her Violetta is a thousand miles away from the disembodied courtisanes that we have seen recently on stage, and the elegance of her figure and her dresses underline the ambiguous attraction of the femininity she portrays, caught between idealisation and enslavement to the desires of men.”
Gilles Charlassier, Concert Classic, May 2012
Violetta in Verdi La Traviata / Opéra de Limoges
“The production was made extraordinary by Venera Gimadieva’s Violetta. This very young singer, house artist at the Bolshoi since 2010, was a revelation. With her captivating timbre, her flexible yet powerful voice, her strong stage presence, and her true physical beauty (which never hurts), she will be a star before long … This production will be revived in Reims and in Rennes. It’s really worth the detour”.
« La représentation est transcendée par le Violetta de Venera Gimadieva. Cette très jeune chanteuse, permanente au Bolshoï depuis 2010, est une magnifique révélation. Un timbre prenant, une voix à la fois souple et puissante, une présence scénique évidente, et ce qui ne gâte rien, une véritable beauté physique, pourraient la propulser très vite au rang de star … Cette production sera reprise à Reims et à rennes. Elle vaut vraiment le déplacement. »
Catherine Scholler, Opéra magazine n°74, June 2012
“Venera Gimadieva, a soprano from Kazan who is already singing big roles at the Bolshoi, was a revelation: she dazzled the audience with her agility, her high-flying technique, her fresh and lustrous tone and her breath control. She already has everything required for a first rate career.”
ODB Opera, April 2012
“Aix-en-Provence may have adored Natalie Dessay, but Limoges now venerates Venera Gimadieva. She was more than equal to the challenges of this role, which demands absolute vocal and theatrical mastery. The whole range of emotions, from love to hate and from joy to death, filtered through her tone. “Ah forsé lui”, for example, demands precision and great breath control; and “Sempre libera” requires perfect vocal technique. But nothing gave her cause to fear. She let herself be carried by the arpeggios and trills, and reached the high C effortlessly. Neither Callas nor Sutherland could have done a better job. There are many who bewail in specialist music publications that there are no more true Violettas, but Venera Gimadieva proves them all wrong.”
Le Populaire du Centre, April 2012
Violetta in concert performance of Verdi La Traviata / Göttingen Symphony Orchestra
“Venera Gimadieva used a varied palette of dynamics for the role of Violetta, ranging from powerful, yet never shrill high notes through to a moving, wonderfully tender pianissimo. She gave the part clear, distinctive musical contours, and shaped the role with great expressiveness … vocal brilliance.”
“Venera Gimadieva hatte für die Rolle der Violetta eine große dynamische Bandbreite parat, die von kraftvollen, aber nirgends rohen Spitzentönen bis zu einem bewegenden, wunderbar zarten Pianissimo reicht. Sie gab der Violetta klare, unverwechselbare musikalische Konturen, gestaltete ihre Partie mit großer Ausdruckskraft und vokalem Schmelz.“
Göttinger Tageblott, October 2011
“Such a Queen of Shemakha hasn’t appeared at the Bolshoi for many years – none of the sopranos in the previous production of The Golden Cockerel could be compared with Venera Gimadieva. Her voice feels comfortable throughout the whole range, singing out all coloratura with amazing precision and not ignoring even the slightest nuance of the role. And what a great top E at the end of the second act!”
Kultura, October 2011