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The World Wide Web of Youth

Olga Rusanova

1 July 2015

Opera Assemblies of the Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Centre 2014/15

The magnificent idea to create an exchange of young opera artists arose 4 years ago, during Placido Domingo’s international «Operalia» competition. On that occasion both Domingo and Galina Vishnevskaya served as jury members. Initially they simply wished to organize master classes and concerts combining young artists from the Domingo Academy in Los Angeles and the Vishnevskaya Opera centre. And this wish was fulfilled in June 2012, when an initial event was held in Moscow and St. Petersburg with enormous success. And this success in turn gave wing to a new project, Young Artists’ Opera Assemblies, as it was now called, which embarked on tours of Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, the USA and Germany. And as the Galina Vishnevskaya Opera centre’s artistic director, Olga Rostropovich astutely remarked, even before it was officialy born, the project had assumed the aspect of a “world-wide youthful operatic web”.

Despite the crisis in economy, last season was no less productive than the preceeding one. As before, the geographic range of the assemblies’ activity was very extended, as it functions on the principle of exchange. Thus our students travel to renowned Opera Centres world-wide and in return receive guests at our own Centre.

In brief, last season, for instance, the Opera centre in Moscow collaborated with the Italian opera conductor Walter Attanasi. First he conducted here Carmen , then gave master classes; his visit ended with a gala concert. Then the director of the Opera Studio of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Henning Ruhe visited Moscow together with the Studio’s most distinguished teacher, Badri Maisuradze who gave a series of master classes to students from both schools.

In June the soloists from the Vishnevskaya Opera centre travelled to Verdi’s birthplace in Bussetto (Italy) where they gave a concert, preceeded by a master class with Fabrizio Cassi, the artistic director of the Bussetto opera theatre. The Maestro remained more than satisfied: «The Russian opera school is very strong, and Russia is now recognized as an exporter of operatic voices», he stated.

Apart from Italy and Germany, in this season the Assemblies travelled to Astana and Barcelona, as well as returning to Vienna. There, this April, soloists from the Vishnevskaya Opera Centre participated in master classes at the Theatre An der Wien and Kammeropera (the Vienna Chamber Opera) with one of Europe’s most renowned operatic coach, Sherman Lowe. And in January the centre in Moscow hosted in person Sebastian Schwarz, the artistic director of the Junges Ensemble from the Theatre An der Wien and Kammeropera. His master classes left a deep impression on the young singers, and so it should be: Schwarz’s expert knowledge of opera singing and his enormous experience ensures that his lessons hold enormous interest not only for novice opera singers but for a wider public. His comments on German music were of great value, particularly in regard to pronunciation and the understanding of the German texts. And indeed this is something that does not come at all easily to our artists — whereas Schwartz proved himself a virtuoso in this field , and succeeds in everything .

And the Galina Vishnevskaya Opera centre has grandiose plans for the coming season. The Youth assemblies will continue with the participation of both old and new partners, and namely: The Academy of  La Scala (Milan), the youth programs of the Deutsche Oper (Berlin), and the Basel opera theatre, as well the Junges Ensemble from the Theatre An der Wien (JET).