Its not so easy to write about myself, but Ill try to be short in order not to tire my readers. I think that my very first performing on the stage happened already in early childhood, when being a 5-6 years old girl I performed role of Tsarevna-Nesmeyana from well-known Russian fairytale which we presented to the audience of elder children in kindergarten, and later in school. I remember that I really tried to cry expressing my sour heroine; and for some reason my long sarafan each time rode up till my knees, and because of that I became embarrassed of course. And I remember as well that during performance I was sincerely in love to Ivanushka-goose, from this fact one may conclude that at that time already I had a presentiment of first precept of existence on the stage sincerity.
I was born in Gatchina town which is famous for its park and palace ensemble which center is imperial palace built by Italian architect Antonio Rinaldy in style of a castle. This palace has been a property of majestic persons: at first it was presented by Ekaterina the Second to count Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov, than he became the property of Pavel the First, and later already of Nikolay the First.
In childhood I walked a lot along this wonderful English park joining the palace, and usually my way to the music school lay through this park. Here, being a small girl yet, I was dreaming up about life of counts, tsars and tsarinas, and surrounded by such atmosphere I dreamed about my future, about music, what, of course, has influenced on formation of my personality.
Music school of Gatchina n.a. Ippolitov-Ivanov №2 gave me direction and way to life. Im happy that I lived in this very city and studied in particular in this school.
My first teachers became S.V. Malisheva, Kazanskaya (piano), S.E. Pepik (solfeggio, music literature). In particular this people have given me once and for all feeling and understanding of music. With such base which Ive got in this oldest music school man can conquer the world. Im sincerely grateful to these wonderful talented people.
Few word about my family. My grandmother Tatian Nikolaevna Kuznetsova had a wonderful lyric soprano, and in youth she sang in choir. She sang romances as well accompanying herself on the guitar. Being in years already she still continued in folk arts ensemble of Feodosia city, and she even toured in various towns of Russia.
My adorable mother in childhood longed for the music, dance, and participated in amateur art activities, and in youth she even entered in chorus of famous theatre n.a. Shevchenko in Kiev city. However by will of fortune it turned out later that she had arrived in Leningrad, and she got there totally different profession of medical worker, - nevertheless, not of less importance for people.
My grandmother from fathers side Ludmila Georgievna Pankratova, the most clever and cultured woman, was born in Leningrad and spent all her life here including time of Leningrad siege during the Second World War (which she went through with small child my father who was born in January of 1941). Her primary profession was far from an art field (grandmother worked as a research worker of Institute of applied chemistry), nevertheless, from her, in particular, I had heard for the first time about such singers as Kozin, Vyaltzeva, Agafonov.
We always had in our house portable gramophone, and Ive got acquainted with these performers due to the recordings on old gramophone records. My grandfather Nikolay Ivanovich (stepfather of my father) was well-known culture worker in Leningrad city (culture events organizer). He graduated from theatre school, worked in circus for a long time, acted in films and looked like one of the famous actors of those times Filippov, and thats why he often worked as a dubbing actor of his part in movies.
My father was fond of music, and having a wonderful velvet baritone he sang in youth to the accompaniment of guitar, he had been always a soul of the company. And as many young people at those times he was gathering songs of Vizbor, Kukin, Klyachkin. During obligatory service in army he was soloist in chorus attached to House of Officers of Petrozavodsk city. Due to example of my father I began to take a great interest in jazz, and he also inculcated in me love to Spanish, Brazilian music, capability to feel it.
The most main thank you Id like to say to my mother who from my childhood years brought me to ballets, concerts, opera productions. It seems to me that the first ballet which I saw (being 3 years old) was The Swan Lake P.I. Tchaikovsky, and the first opera I heard was Rusalka A.S. Dargomyzhsky in Chamber Opera Theatre. And I remember this moment precisely, because impression from theatre attendance and from music that Ive heard, from the action itself, something unreal and fairy, stayed with me during the whole life. This impressions have given me great incitement to comprehension of the world and art.
In my early childhood mother gave me to listen records with music written for classic ballets, such as Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, The Swan Lake. This music excited my imagination, and sitting at the table and holding in hands just the cover of the record I imagined heroes of these fairy-tales. Music remained in my memory without any efforts. After some time I was able having heard the music fragment to say what heroes are doing at that moment this was my way to study music literature. I was so much caught by ballet that I was dreaming to pass exams to famous school n.a. Vaganova. I had tried, but didnt pass the large entry. And one has to have peculiar flexibility and fortitude, few people are given such abilities by nature. The fact was that my mother and I went to music school, and I dont regret about it at all.
After there was a time of Music-teacher's training school. And here I was lucky again to meet wonderful teachers: Fedorovsky (piano), Grishanova (vocal), Zhukova (conducting), Kroner (music literature), Belenkaya (chorus). And some other. All of these people really, unconditionally love their work and they are devoting to us, growing generation, their whole lives. In this very school I began to think seriously about profession of vocalist. My first teacher of vocal was Tatiana Nikolaevna Grishanova the kindest, the most honest, wonderful person. She, in particular, organized (for the first time in our school) theatre in which short parts of various operas of different composers are staged. In such a way my first role became Kerubino from Mozart opera The Marriage of Figaro, and also I was in time to sing here parts of Countess, Susanna in the same opera. In production Don Juan I sang part of Zerlina.
I cant not to say few kind words about Yu.S. Kroner, wonderful teacher of music literature who learnt us not only to listen, but also to think over works written by composers, to consider what wished to express one or another musician.
Graduated from this school I was fully prepared to start my life over. But at that time not really favorable days for our country began Perestroyka (reformation of country). Music, and correspondingly music teacher, music worker were out of work. It was impossible to earn money for living at those times by working in my profession, and thats why I thought about new profession and entered in St.-Petersburg Humanitarian University of professional unions in order to study profession of manager of social and culture activities.
I cant say that years spent in that University went for me in vain. And here I met also wonderful people and teachers. And here I tried myself on the stage as well. So, I staged and performed my first studio authors performance in its story I illustrated romance by Vertinsky Lilac black. For this performance my colleagues and I gained first award in the competition for best New Year performance. During the time of studies in University I tried myself in another profession: I worked on well-known at those times radio Modern as a manager-consultant of program Beauty. Then for a long time Ive been working as a model in various agencies of city: Grazia, Feya, Krim, Modus Vivendi.
I should say that at that time model business was at the beginning of the way in our country, and I was lucky to take part in interesting demonstrations and shootings: Lui Fero, Tatiana Kotegova, High Fashion, Alexander Petrov and others. All these projects were interesting for me, I succeeded in some of them, and in some not really, but finally I realized distinctly that my true vocation is music, and music only.
In 1998 I traveled to Bulgaria, to participate in competition Shore of Hope where Ive met for the first time with famous composer Andrey Petrov. It was nice to receive a diploma of competition at his presence. Upon return to St.-Petersburg feeling the tide of victory I decided to try to enter the company of Musical Comedy Theatre, my favorite theatre from childhood years. And to my own surprise I was taken in the company immediately. In such way my theatre career began. Upon coming in the theatre I was very inexperienced in many ways, and people who surrounded me at those times and the one who surround me now in this theatre helped me to reveal my own creative personality in the full scale. This theatre is famous for such wonderful actors as Vyacheslav Timoshin, Vitaly Kopylov, Zoya Vinogradova, Eugeny Tilicheev, Victor Krivonos, Ludmila Fedotova, Valentina Kosobutskaya, Elena Polosina, Alla Semak, Boris Smolkin, Vladimir Samsonov and others. Itll take a time to list wonderful actors of the theatre well-known for the whole country. So I should say that work with such personalities naturally gives the ability to grow creatively higher and higher while you are trying unintentionally to follow their example.
In this very theatre I met one more teacher and friend of mine Mikhail Aptekman, wonderful musician, conductor, composer, accompanist. And once again I should say that the one being on the stage together with Misha fells behind his back not just a piano, but the whole orchestra. We won with him first Grand-Prix of the competition Spring of romance (St.-Petersburg, 2002) and first prize of the competition Romansiada (Moscow, 2003). And then concerts and invitations followed one another, and hard work for the first CD began.
Continuing work in the theatre I entered St.-Petersburg state conservatory n.a. Rimsky-Korsakov, oldest music educational institution in St.-Petersburg established in 1866 by Anton Grigoryevich Rubinstein. In this conservatory have worked and studied best musicians, composers, vocalists of my country Tchaikovsky, Rakhmaninov, Stravinsky, Prokofyev, Shostakovich, Glazunov and many others. I got to the class of national artist of Tatarstan, honored actress of RSFSR, soloist of Mariinsky Theatre Sofia Alexandrovna Yalisheva. To the innermost of my heart Im grateful to this wonderful woman, one might say to my second mother in the field of music. Its hard to meet a pedagogue with such selflessness. She has a beautiful soprano, and still nowadays she is a wonderful actress, and wonderful person as well.
S.A. Yalisheva, in particular, has given me the understanding of all distinctive features of vocal skills. She was able to inspire me with devotion to the art of vocal, and in general she taught me acting techniques. She explained me that strange though it may seem, but the most complicated features arise in simple. She teached me that one has to be able to open his heart, and then the voice will flow by itself. Its a surprising coincidence: she, in particular, my teacher, having the most beautiful coloratura soprano, before was recording sound for musical movies The Bat (Adele) and Silvia (Stassi), and I being just a small girl was captivated by this voice having no idea to propose that she might be my future pedagogue.
During years of studies in conservatory I also worked in one more operetta theatre, more precisely, in one-show management theatre which chief director was Svetlana Samorodova. There I performed my first big part of Diana in operetta The Dog in the Manger based on the novel by Lope de Vega, music by Gladkov. In order to perform such part one has to have not a good voice only, but to be a real dramatic actress; and its not so easy for the singer starting her career, thats why Im especially grateful to director for the risk she took by inviting me. It seems to me that the show worked out. With this and other productions of this theatre lie Silvia, Cinderella, Mister X and other I toured after a lot in the cities of our country and abroad (in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia).
At the same time I was recording sound for Disney animated cartoon films on the studio Neva, among these cartoons was Hercules in which I was working with role of Terpsichore, queen of dance. It was unusual job for me, but very interesting. You have to fit the character, behavior, voice of your hero, and of course inevitably you are trying to remember your own childhood in order to imagine in what way you would perceive these cartoons in childhood. Such work reserves in your soul only kind impressions.
Its not possible not to mention the travelling to America with fantasy circus show. In the period of 2-3 months we changed lot of states and cities including Chicago and New York, and it was a success everywhere. This show was based on the idea of circus du Soleil on stage of which work actors, clowns, various artists of circus, musicians, and singers changing one another in fantastic mixture. Our show was based, of course, on Russian music and was given up to winter theme, with fantasy about king's son Alexey and his beloved, about Mistress of Brazen Mountain, about Baba-Yaga, Koschei - the deathless and Snow Queen.
During that years I took part in master classes of great Russian singer Elena Obrazstova. I was in time to perform in theatre of Conservatory: Tatiana in opera Eugeny Onegin Tchaikovsky, Countess in Marriage of Figaro Mozart, Tosca in Tosca Puccini. In my theatre Tangolita (Ball in Savoy Abrakham), Silvia (Czardas Queen Kalman), Gypsy Masha (Maritza Kalman), Rashel (Oh, dear Friend! Lebedev), tango in performance Dreams about tango, Mama Morton (Chicago Kander), Conductor (I dont know such country like this M. Aptekman), Militza (The Merry Widow Lehar), Clara (Parisian Life Offenbach), Lili (Baroness Lili Huszka). I took part in numerous concerts of theatre and in cabaret-show Cabaret on Italyanskaya (one of my last parts). In theatre I also performed evening of romance In fateful hour together with honored artist of Russia Alexander Murashko.
Upon graduating from Conservatory I left to Italy to attend master classes of maestro Gian Luca Pasolini (vocal) and Carlo Pari (concertmaster coach). Time run quickly there, but still I was able to notice that it is especially easy to sing in Italy. Probably nature by itself helps the singers. There Ive got important knowledge and lot of positive emotions.
Then my creative way has bought me to festival-competition in Albania where among my competitors were vocalists from different countries Italy, America, China, Turkey, Argentina, Bulgaria, Cuba, Georgia, and of course Albania. It was not only a competition, but a festival of different countries as well, and this festival performed special task of uniting of all countries in art, music and in supporting of culture of Albania. There were a lot of various meetings, TV programs, radio interview. Finally Ive got lot of friends from different countries.
My creative way continues, and I hope that yet my unknown friends having read this short story about my life have got more information about me, Russian singer. I hope it wasnt boring. And then, who knows, creative life has no borders and its hardly predictable, - may be our ways will mee