Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Zhidkova is a favourite of conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Christoph von Dohnányi and Claudio Abaddo. Mostly associated with the Wagner repertoire,
she has performed to great acclaim on the stages of the Bayreuth Festival, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro Real Madrid, the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theatres, and many others.
Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Zhidkova made her professional debut at Deutsche Oper Berlin as Olga in Götz Friedrich’s acclaimed production of Eugene Onegin. She continued to appear with the company in a series of roles including Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro and Dorabella Così fan tutte. Shortly afterwards she was invited to appear at the Bayreuth Festival for three consecutive years as Flosshilde and Schwertleite, and in 2004 she made an acclaimed debut as Waltraute Götterdämmerung for Teatro Real Madrid. She continued her exploration of the Wagnerian repertoire with Fricka Der Ring des Nibelungen in Tokyo; Brangäne Tristan und Isolde in Madrid; Kundry Parsifal in Nice and for Deutsche Oper am Rhein; Venus Tannhäuser for Semperoper Dresden and Adriano Rienzi for Leipzig Opera.
In 2008 she debuted to great success as Judith in Bartok’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle at Teatro alla Scala, a role she has since created on several international stages including the Mariinsky Theatre and the Barbican, London (both conducted by Gergiev), De Nederlandse Opera and Orchestre National de Paris. Her interpretation of the role was later awarded the National Theatre 'Golden Mask' Award, for best singing actress in Russia in 2011.
Very much in demand on the concert platform, Zhidkova has performed with conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Daniel Harding, Nikolaus Harnoncourt or Christoph von Dohnányi. In frequent collaboration with Claudio Abbado, Zhidkova has performed Shostakovich’s King Lear and Schumann’s Faustszenen, and appeared during Abbado’s farewell concert at the Berliner Philharmonie.
Other recent appearances include her role debut as Marie Wozzeck in Tokyo; Marina in a new production of Boris Godunov at the Bolshoi Theatre; Judith at De Nederlandse Opera and with Seiji Ozawa at the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan and China. She sang Fricka Das Rheingold at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Teatro de la Maestranza, Seville; Venus Tannhäuser in Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and with Gustavo Dudamel in Bogotá; and Varvara Káťa Kabanová for Teatro Colon Buenos Aires. She also appeared to great acclaim as Kundry in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and at Opera de Lyon, and as Brangäne in Madrid, Bilbao, Köln, Frankfurt and Tokyo. Her engagements last season included Fricka Das Rheingold at Grand Théâtre de Genève and Venus for Deutsche Oper am Rhein and New National Theatre Tokyo.
In the 2013/14 season, Elena Zhidkova makes her anticipated debut as Principessa de Bouillon Adriana Lecouvreur at Wiener Staatsoper. She appears as Marie Wozzeck at the New National Theatre Tokyo, as Waltraute and 2nd Norn in Seville, and returns to Genève as Fricka in a new production of Die Walküre conducted by Ingo Metzmacher.
October 2013 / 424 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material. We update our biographies regularly. Please contact us if this biography is out of date.
Fricka Das Rheingold / Grand Théâtre Genève
Dir. Michal Znaniecki
“Elena Zhidkova’s Fricka had a beautifully centred core, darted with a staggering natural authority…”
Yannick Millon, Alta Musica, November 2013
“… an intoxicating mezzo, exemplary in every respect...”
Jean-Luc Clairet, Res Musica, November 2013
“The real winner was Elena Zhidkova as Fricka. Russian mezzo who is vocally balanced throughout her tessitura with a great flexibility available between the registers. This allows one to be musically very complete, and thus show a varied vocal line, full of good taste and nuances."
Samuel González Casado, Mundo Clasico, October 2013
“The best of the cast was Elena Zhidkova as Fricka. This attractive mezzo-soprano has a beautiful dark timbre, very typical of Russian singers, and she proved that she can sing successfully in any major opera house in the world.”
José Mª Irurzun, Seen and Heard International, September 2013
Venus in Wagner Tannhäuser / Opernhaus Düsseldorf
cond. Axel Kober / dir. Burkhard C. Kosminski
“Venus was sung by Elena Zhidkova, who theatrically represented this fascinating stoic character. Touching, clear and simple.”
Judith von Sternburg, Berliner Zeitung, May 2013
Fricka in Wagner Das Rheingold / Grand Théâtre de Genève
cond. Ingo Metzmacher / dir. Dieter Dorn
“The strongest impression was made by Elena Zhidkova as Fricka...”
Nicholas Blanmont, Opera, August 2013
“Russian mezzo Elena Zhidkova is superlative in Fricka… humane and nuanced…”
Luc Hernandez, Concert Classic, March 2013
Judith in Bartók Bluebeard’s Castle / Berwaldhallen
Radio Symphony Orchestra / cond. Daniel Harding
"Russian Mezzo Elena Zhidkova’s vocal approach was exquisite; she captured Judith’s curiosity and tenacity".
”Utsökt vokalansats av ryska mezzon Elena Zhidkova, som erfaret fångade Judiths nyfikenhet och orubblighet”.
Lars Hedblad, SvD Kultur, November 2012
Kundry in Wagner Parsifal / Opera de Lyon
cond. Kasushi Ono / dir. François Girard
“Kundry is one of those characters that require a performer who has both strong acting and singing skills and Elena Zhidkova fits the bill in both respects. While her voice is placed firmly in the mezzo register she has no problems in rising to the angry outbursts with Parsifal in the second act”.
Michael Sinclair, The Opera Critic, March 2012
“La mezzo-soprano Elena Zhidkova surmonte le difficile rôle de Kundry - cette pécheresse qui cherche à se rédimer par l'amour -grâce à ses aigus solides et sa présence scénique.”
The mezzo-soprano Elena Zhidkova mastered the difficult role of Kundry, the sinner seeking redemption through love, with her powerful top notes and strong stage presence.
Philip Venturini, Les Echos, March 2012
“La mezzo russe Elena Zhidkhova dispose elle aussi d’un timbre d’une magnifique ampleur. Dans les actes I et III, son grave, et surtout la santé impérieuse de son médium, font passer le frisson; dans l’acte médian, le duo est pour elle l’occasion de faire une démonstration de beau chant qui impose le respect.”
Russian mezzo soprano Elena Zhidkova has a magnificently opulent voice. In the first and third acts, her low notes, and particularly her imperious middle tessitura, made the audience quiver with delight. In the second act, the duo gave her the opportunity to demonstrate her admirable bel canto.
Emmanuel Andrien, Classique Info, April 2012