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Singer of the world Katya Shcherbachenko
Yelena Karakoleva

We have become accustomed to being the best in the world in figure skating and ice hockey, but in opera this does not happen so often, and not because we are short of talents. Simply competition in the opera world is incredibly stiff. Therefore, the news last June that Ekaterina (Katya) Shcherbachenko, a Russian soprano from Ryazan, won the prestigious BBC Singer of the World competition in Cardiff, Wales, UK, at fist sounded like something hard to believe. The competent jury named Katya as the winner among more than 600 original entrants to the competition.

What is so special about her voice? My answer is: it is truly marvelous! About three years ago I first noticed this slim blonde of a Hollywood type singing with an angelХs voice. She performed Fiordiligi in MozartХs Cosi fan tutte at the first night in the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre. Then, I listened to her singing Natasha (War and Peace), Tatyana (Eugene Onegin), Micaela (Carmen), Iolanta (Iolanta), Liu (Turandot) and Mimi (La bohème) in the Bolshoi productions. She joined the Bolshoi company in 2005. There is something exciting, tender and passionate in this talented singer.

ТIt was merely by chance that I took part in an audition for the BBC contest in Moscow,У Shcherbachenko said. ТFrom the five invited participants I was the first to sing. I sang and dropped it from my mind that instant. Only two months after that, I started getting anxious as they called and said I was invited to represent Russia in Cardiff.У

Before Cardiff, Katya already had some experience of cooperation with European opera houses and symphonic orchestras. More than once she became a laureate of prestigious contests.

ТIХm well aware that a contest is something where pretty much depends on chance and on how lucky you are,У Shcherbachenko conceded. ТItХs quite another matter that you must be prepared for luck. If so, there is a chance that everything will turn out in your favour.У

Shcherbachenko is self-critical of her winning performance. The BBC contest is for the beginners and she is just one of them. She downplays the importance of her prize money of 25,000 pounds. This sum is not enough to buy a room in Moscow to say nothing about a flat. Therefore, she still has to rent an apartment. But what is really important is that the contest opens great prospects for a future career of a beginning singer. The laureateship is to be backed by hard, everyday work.

ТPreparing for the contest, I tried to display the widest possible diversity of my abilities. I sang in Italian, English, French and, of course, Russian. For the first round Katya performed an aria of Fiordiligi from MozartХs Cosi fan tutte and her favourite Tatyana's Letter scene from Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky. ТTatyana Larina is me. Even at school I stood out from the rest being a detached person. Even my love affairs were bookishЙ Tatyana seemed to me the happiest! The audience listened entranced! And then burst into a thundering ovation! At first instant I was even scaredЙУ

BBC Wales started the Cardiff Singer of the world competition in 1983. The purpose of the competition, held every two years, is to find and promote the most promising young singers from all over the world.

Only 25 singers from 18 to 32 years of age are allowed to compete. The winner is only one. He or she carries the Singer of the World title till the next contest. In the history of the contest there were only two Russian Singers of the World: baritones Vassili Gerello from the Mariinsky Theater and Dmitri Hvorostovsky.

Shcherbachenko was born in 1977 in Ryazan into a family of engineers Тnot alien to lyric arts.У ТMy parents, typical Soviet intelligentsia, both are many-sided people with musical abilities. My father played in a youth band and my mother studied the violin in a musical school. They always supported me in all my artistic undertakings. So, my musical education was only natural. First, I studied the violin in a musical school and then graduated from a musical college with a diploma of a chorus conductor. For several years I worked as a music teacher in Ryazan. Only at the second attempt I entered the Moscow Conservatoire (Professor Marina AlekseevaХs class). At the end of conservatoireХs post-graduate courses I was invited as an intern to the Moscow Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater.

Replying to a query whether any our opera star congratulated her on the win, Ekaterina enthusiastically told about a meeting with Hvorostovsky upon her return from Great Britain and his good warm advices to the young singer. ТIt was a fantastic feeling. A big thank to Dmitri for the congratulation! It is my dream to be his partner on the stage one day,У she said.

What now for Ekaterina? Upon signing a contract with a major European musical agency, she has got a three-year schedule of performances in the most prestigious opera houses in the world. However, like many other Russian singers who have attained world recognition, she is not going to leave Russia.

ТThere is a lot of hard work for me. The title imposes obligations. Fortunately, the administration of the Bolshoi respects personal contracts of its soloists. Russian singers have obtained a unique opportunity to perform all over the world. A perfect performance schedule is only necessary with a good balance of work and recreation. What are my dreams today? To live long and happily. Perhaps everybody is dreaming of happiness, of an interesting, rich and full life. IХm dreaming of the same.У Let us wish Ekaterina all success in her artistic career and personal happiness!

 
 
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