HomeNewsNews for January 2013Odessa Opera company is celebrating 25th anniversary of Larisa Zuenko’s singing career

18 Jan

Odessa Opera company is celebrating 25th anniversary of Larisa Zuenko’s singing career

Opera Aida by Giuseppe Verdi will be performed on the stage of Odessa National Academic Opera and Ballet House on the 25th of January. Larisa Zuenko is starring in the main Aida’s part. This year the Honoured Artist of Ukraine Larisa Zuenko is celebrating her 25th anniversary of singing career.

The cast for this special performance is outstanding: Honoured Artiste of Ukraine Tatiana Spasskaja (Amneris), Alexei Repchinsky (Radamès), Sergei Uzun (Ramfis), Ivan Flyak (Amonasro), Igor Tsarkov (The King of Egypt), Valery Regrut (Messenger) and Julia Tereshchuk (the High Priestess). Music director and conductor for the opera is People’s Artiste of Moldova Aleksandru Samoile. 

Larisa Zuenko: “I have been singing since I remember myself. To sing was absolutely natural for me. When I was a child I just liked singing and now I understand that I was born to sing. Singing fills me with unbelievable joy and pleasure and gives wings to my soul. It does not matter what I perform, I enjoy both sparkling cheerful and deep tragic musical pieces. I am happy to share my soul’s delight with people.”

Larisa Zuenko was born in a town called Karpovo in Razdelnaya Rayon of Odessa Oblast. She started her vocal studies with maestro Rafael Bagdasaryan in Komitas Erevan State Conservatory but continued her education in Odessa. Larisa Zuenko graduated in solo singing from the class of the People’s Artist of Ukraine Galina Polivanova of A. V. Nezhdanova Odessa State Conservatory (now it is called National Musical Academy) in 1986.

Being the fifth year student of the Odessa Conservatory Larisa Zuenko was invited to the Odessa Opera and Ballet House to sing the part of Karolina in Il matrimonio segreto, opera by Domenico Cimarosa. That performance was the diploma project of the singer. In 1988 Larisa Zuenko won the Second Prize Award at the Lysenko Singing Contest in Kyiv.

The singer signed her first international contract with the National Theatre of France Opera Bastille in 1997. “It was like the Cinderella fairy tale. They heard me in La Traviata in Odessa and invited to back up Violetta’s part in one of the largest theatres of the world. I had a lucky chance to meet, socialize and work with such grand opera stars as Angela Gheorghiu, Ramón Vargas, Alexandru Agache, Victoria Loukianetz, Vladimir Grishko, chief conductor of the Opera Bastille James Conlon (the USA) and the director of that production D. Mill from Great Britain”, – Larisa Zuenko remembers.

In 2000 Larisa Zuenko participated in other production of Opera Bastille, opera War and Peace by Sergei Prokofiev conducted by Gary Bertini (Israel) and directed by Francesca Zambello (the USA). Larisa sang the part of Dunyasha and backed up the part of Natasha. Larisa worked on one stage with Elena Obraztsova, Anatoly Kocherga, Elena Zaremba, Vassily Gerello and other prominent singers.

The next step in Larisa Zuenko’s singing career was a contract with a British touring company Ellen Kent & Opera and Ballet International. She has been singing Il Barbiere di Siviglia and La Traviata, La Bohème and Carmen, Rigoletto and Madame Butterfly in England, Scotland and Ireland since 2001.  

“I was lucky to sing La Traviata in 2002 and Rigoletto in 2003 in the famous Royal Albert Hall in London. It is really hard to forget when 5,000 people are applauding to you”, – Larisa Zuenko admits.

The singer performed in Italy, Spain, France, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Qatar and Cyprus. She took part in the concert called Opera Stars (Canada, 1999), in the VIII International Festival of Opera Art named after Solomiya Krushelnytska (Lviv, 2001), in the Festival of Classical Art in Qatar (2004) and many others. Larisa Zuenko sang with such opera stars as Louis Quilico (Canada) and Paata Burchuladze (Georgia), worked with such stage directors and conductors as Jonathan Miller, James Conlon, Pierre-Dominique Ponnelle, Aleksandru Samoile, Andrei Yurkevich and others.

Larisa Zuenko was presented the title of Honoured Artist of Ukraine in 2005. “It was very pleasant and honorary but the time flies and there are a lot more parts to sing and act yet for me”, – the singer says. 

International press about Larisa Zuenko:

“Larisa Zuenko’s Mimi is a helpless lonely woman looking for a way out. This image is on stage even before she starts singing” (by Mary Barton, Sunderland Echo, 28 March 2003)  

“Love come up on stage with Mimi (Larisa Zuenko) but love does not live long – our heroine dies of TB. It is a quite horrible story and a touchy final emotionally and wonderfully performed. Please do not forget to take your handkerchiefs or tissues if you are going to visit this performance.” (by Brian Severs, Evening Chronicle, 28 March 2003).

“As for the cast of the evening performance a strong couple of leading singers certainly stands out (both singers are from Ukraine). They are Larisa Zuenko as Mimi and Ruslan Zinevich as Rudolfo. Larisa Zuenko was delightful in the part of Violetta last year and yesterday she demonstrated gilded velvet tones in her voice up to upper Сs” (by Robert Beale, Manchester Evening News, 14 March 2003).

“Gilda performed by Larisa Zuenko takes your breath away. She creates an image of an innocent young lady who is gradually getting disappointed in a bastard Mantua whom she still loves in spite of his being a traitor.” (by Lew Baxter, Daily Post, 25 September, 2003)

“Larisa Zuensko acting Gilda, daughter of Rigoletto who accidentally gets to the mean Duke, has a soaring soprano which she uses in a quite impressive way.” (by Philip Radcliffe, Manchester Evening News, 6 November 2003).

“Rigoletto and his daughter Gilda were the heart of the opera. Vladimir Dragosh and Larisa Zuenko presented the audience with a breath-taking performance. Delicately performed by Larisa Zuenko aria Caro Nome brightly contrasts with powerful judgments made about lush of the Duke’s household performed by Vladimir Dragosh.” (by Gerry Parker, British Evening Post, 2 October 2003).

“Violetta’s image created by soprano Larisa Zuenko touches the audience. Her performance is a real joy, even through tears.” (by Lew Baxter, Daily Post, 15 May 2002). 

“Larisa Zuenko was delightful in the part of Violetta. Her voice is rich and colourful, just for the role, creating bright contrast with sensitive interpretation of Alfredo performed by Ruslan Zinevich.” (by Thom Dibdin, 7 June 2002). 

“Violetta performed by Larisa Zuenko is just the dream of theatre-goers. She was changing colours and shades in her performance enjoying each nuance required by the score. She acted with some special persuasiveness giving artistic expression to each scene and ensemble she sang in. Her yesterday’s final curtain call brought a storm of applause to her honour.” ( by Robert Beale, Manchester Evening News, 8 May 2002).