Julia Lezhneva is one of the leading artists of her generation. The young Russian soprano with the voice of ”angelic beauty” (The New York Times), “pure tone” (Opernwelt) & “flawless technique” (Guardian) brings “unforgettable spiritual expression” & “perfect artistry” (Guardian) performing worldwide.
Her international career skyrocketed when she created a sensation at the Classical Brit Awards at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2010, singing Rossini’s Fra il padre at the invitation of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
Since then, Lezhneva has been appearing in concert and opera around the globe - the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Royal Albert Hall & Barbican in London, Severance Hall in Cleveland & Lincoln Center in New York, NHK & Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo, Amsterdam Concertgebouw & Madrid Auditorium, Salle Pleyel & Theatre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Wiener Konzerthaus and Theater an der Wien, Berlin Staatsoper & Hamburg Laeizhalle, Essen Philharmonie and Zurich Tonhalle, Brussels Theatre Royal de la Monnaie and Palais de Beaux Arts, The Bolshoi Theatre & Melbourne Recital Centre, Grand Hall of Moscow Conservatory and Grand Hall of St-Petersburg Philharmonic - as well as for the Salzburg Festival, Salzburg Mozartwoche, Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, Chorégies d’Orange, Verbier Festival, Handel-Festspiele Halle, Quincna Musical, Wratislawia Cantans, Misteria Paschalia, Rossini Opera Festival & S. Richter ‘December Nights’ Festival in Moscow. She appeared on stage with conductors - Marc Minkowski, Giovanni Antonini, Sir Antonio Pappano, Alberto Zedda, Philippe Herreweghe, Franz Welser-Moest, Sir Roger Norrington, René Jacobs, Fabio Biondi, Jean-Christoph Spinosi, Diego Fasolis, Ottavio Dantone - and singers - Plácido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Flórez, Rolando Villazón, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Franco Fagioli, Max Emmanuel Cencic, Philippe Jaroussky.
Born December 5 1989 in a family of geophysicists on Sakhalin Island, she began playing piano and singing at the age of five. She graduated from the Gretchaninov Music School and continued her vocal and piano studies at the Moscow Conservatory Academic Music College.. At 17 she came to int attention winning the 6th Elena Obraztsova Opera Singers Competition 2007, and next year shared the concert stage with Juan Diego Flórez at the opening of the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro. In 2008 she began studying with tenor Dennis O’Neill in Cardiff, completing her training under Yvonne Kenny at London’s Guildhall School. She has attended masterclasses with Elena Obraztsova, Alberto Zedda, Richard Bonynge and Thomas Quasthoff. 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.
Her European performances started at the age of 18 with the invitations by Marc Minkowski, with whom she has performed and recorded Bach's Mass in B-Minor in 2008 and subsequently performed numerous solo concerts, operas and oratorial works. In 2010, being 20 yearls old, she made her triumphal debuts at the Barbican performing Vivaldi's Ottone in Villa with IGA/Antonini and at the Salzburg Festival performing solo concerts under Marc Minkowski. Opernwelt named her “Young Singer of the Year” in 2011 for her debut at La Monnaie in Brussels. The following year she performed at the Victoires de la Musique Classique in Paris and appeared at the Salzburg Festival in Handel’s Tamerlano opposite Plácido Domingo. Her 2012/13 season included European tours with Giovanni Antonini and Il Giardino Armonico, Pergolesi Stabat Mater recording and performance with Philippe Jaroussky, concert tours of Handel’s Il trionfo del tempo & Handel’s Alessandro and Gala at the Chorégies d'Orange televised on France 3. During 2014/15 Lezhneva made her Australian debut winning the HELPMANN Award for her recital at the Hobart Baroque Festival. She toured extensively with Handel programme throughout Europe including concerts at the Barbican, Paris, Brussels, Aix-en-Provence, Zurich, Munich and the Bolshoi in Moscow.
She made her Royal Opera House debut in June 2015, singing Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and reprises the role on the ROH Japan tour in September 2015 under Sir Antonio Pappano.
In 2016 Lezhneva toured Europe with Siroe, Tamerlano and Handel solo concerts from October to December. In February 2016 she sang Handel’s Rinaldo (Almirena) in concert version throughout Brussels BOZAR, Paris TCE and Karlsruhe Handel Festspiele. The artist gave a recital at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris as well as further Handel touring concerts in Budapest & Prague in April. May 2016 saw staged appearances in Così fan tutte (Fiordiligi) in Wiesbaden & Liederabend at the Wiener Konzerthaus with pianist Mikhail Antonenko. Furthermore, she returned to Australia in October 2016, singing Handel, Vivaldi & Porpora with the ACO.
Julia Lezhneva became an exclusive Decca artist in 2011. Her first recording under the new label, "Alleluia" - a coupling of baroque motets accompanied by Il Giardino Armonico under Giovanni Antonini, was released in March 2013, leading BBC Music Magazine to say: “She is like a sun that can’t help but produce warmth and joy when she comes on stage.” The recording won her an Echo-Klassik Award. Her collaboration with Max Emanuel Cencic on Handel’s Alessandro led to a Complete Opera CD of the Year prize at the inaugural International Opera Awards in 2013. She joined Cencic again on the world premiere recording of Hasse’s Siroe. Lezhneva's solo album 'HANDEL" - released in November 2015 - is a selection of sacred and secular pieces from the composer's overwhelmingly successful early Italian years. Lezhneva is accompanied again by Il Giardino Armonico under the direction of Giovanni Antonini.