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Dazzling Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova first came to international attention as the Gold Medal winner in the 2007 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. This was followed quickly by her European opera debut as the Queen of the Night at the Salzburg Festival under the baton of Riccardo Muti. She has been hailed by Opera News as “a phenomenon that must be heard to be believed” and by the New York Times for her “riveting Lucia.” Regarded as the world’s leading interpreter of the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, she has sung the role with the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala (available on DVD), Wiener Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, San Francisco Opera, Bolshoi Theater, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Hamburg Staatsoper, and the Lucerne Festival, among others. It also served as her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in the celebrated Sir David McVicar production. Ms. Shagimuratova begins her 2015-2016 season with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on tour to Japan as Donna Anna in Kasper Holten’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, under the baton of Sir Antonio

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Dazzling Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova first came to international attention as the Gold Medal winner in the 2007 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. This was followed quickly by her European opera debut as the Queen of the Night at the Salzburg Festival under the baton of Riccardo Muti. She has been hailed by Opera News as “a phenomenon that must be heard to be believed” and by the New York Times for her “riveting Lucia.”

Regarded as the world’s leading interpreter of the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, she has sung the role with the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala (available on DVD), Wiener Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, San Francisco Opera, Bolshoi Theater, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Hamburg Staatsoper, and the Lucerne Festival, among others. It also served as her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in the celebrated Sir David McVicar production.

Ms. Shagimuratova begins her 2015-2016 season with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on tour to Japan as Donna Anna in Kasper Holten’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, under the baton of Sir Antonio Pappano, followed by her return to the Bolshoi Theater as Violetta in Francesca Zambello’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata conducted by Tugan Sokhiev. She appears as the Queen of the Night this season with San Francisco Opera, Wiener Staatsoper, and Bayerische Staatsoper, the latter conducted by Asher Fisch. Ms. Shagimuratova will make her role debut as Kostanze in Mozart’s Die Entführung as dem Serail at the Metropolitan Opera conducted by James Levine, and she later reprises the roles of Kostanze and Donna Anna with Bayerische Staatsoper. She will also appear at the Mariinsky Theatre in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor in a concert performance conducted by Valery Gergiev.

Highlights of Ms. Shagimuratova’s recent seasons include the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, and with Los Angeles Opera under the baton of James Conlon, as well as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducted by Alain Altinoglu. Ms. Shagimuratova also performed at the G20 Summit at the Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg and with Lyric Opera of Chicago in their annual Millennium Park summer concert series.

Ms. Shagimuratova has added the most celebrated heroines of 19th century opera to her repertoire in her recent seasons. She has sung Violetta to open the Bolshoi Theater and at Houston Grand Opera. As Gilda in Rigoletto, she has triumphed at San Francisco Opera under the baton of Nicola Luisotti and with Lyric Opera of Chicago for her company debut. She made her debut in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor in a new production by John Doyle at Houston Grand Opera, and repeated the role at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Bolshoi Theater. She also re-opened the Bolshoi Theater with a new production of Ruslan and Ludmila by visionary director Dmitri Tcherniakov conducted by Vladimir Jurowski (available on DVD). Her Glyndebourne Festival debut was as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni under Robin Ticciati.

Ms. Shagimuratova has appeared with the world’s leading orchestras in diverse concert repertoire. She made her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut under the baton of Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos in both Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Mendelssohn’s incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. With the Houston Symphony conducted by Hans Graf, she has sung both a program of Mozart’s concert arias and Poulenc’s Gloria. She made her debut at the Maggio Musicale in Florence with Mozart’s Requiem led by Zubin Mehta, and recently performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra under Mo. Frübeck. She has also collaborated with James Conlon, Patrick Summers, Peter Schneider, Adam Fischer, and Vladimir Spivakov.

Ms. Shagimuratova was born in Tashkent, USSR. She began her musical studies as a pianist and attended the Music College Auhadeez in Kazan and later Kazan State University, where she received a degree in vocal and opera performance. Her later studies were at the Moscow Conservatory. Graduating with honors, she completed her doctoral work there in 2007. She is also a proud alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.

In 2009, the President of Russia awarded her the title of “People’s Artist of Tatarstan,” and in 2011, she was personally awarded the Tukai State Award by the President Minnikhanov of Tatarstan. In 2012, she won the 23rd Russian National Theatrical Golden Mask Award in the Best Opera Actress category for her portrayal of the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor.

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Reviews

"In Albina Shagimuratova, the superb Russian soprano who was making her Lyric debut as Gilda, the company has found a shining star indeed. She walked away with the show. Gilda is, of course, one of the great coloratura soprano roles in Italian opera, and Shagimuratova fulfilled its every requirement thrillingly. She traced the florid phrases of 'Caro nome' with meltingly expressive phrasing, ample colorings and a clear, shining, beautiful sound that carried easily over the orchestra. Where full-bodied lyricism was needed, notably in Gilda's two duets with her father, her singing went straight to the heart. Indeed, Gilda's dying fade to a hushed pianissimo held the audience at rapt attention at the very end. Not for nothing did the soprano receive a rapturous standing ovation on opening night. Get used to the name; you can be sure Lyric will be inviting her back."

John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, February 2013

"The highest accolades go to Albina Shagimuratova as the Queen of the Night... She has real presence; this was an exceptional performance. ‘Der Hölle Rache’ was a revelation combining sumptuousness, subtlety and accuracy in the execution of every note, and demonstrating impeccable phrasing."

Sam Smith, Music OMH

"Albina Shagimuratova's show-stealing Queen of the Night is electrifyingly accurate."

Tim Ashley, The Guardian

"But Shagimuratova, who sang a remarkable Queen of the Night in 'The Magic Flute' earlier this year, was my favorite. She projects spectacularly, as few singers can. Her bright, rich voice filled the huge War Memorial in a seemingly effortless performance; she even sang her big, challenging aria 'Caro nome' reclining on her back. 'When you've got it, flaunt it,' said the gesture."

Janos Greben, San Francisco Examiner, September 2012

"Saturday's Gilda, Russian soprano Albina Shagimuratova, took a more traditional approach, delivering the score's coloratura flights with spotless precision and lustrous tonal beauty."

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, September 2012

"Shagimuratova is simply breathtaking. Forceful and vehement in her lower range, she is remarkably, strong, focused, and spot on as she ascends to a high F above high C. ... She produces the Queen’s highest notes with a round, glowing brilliance you will be lucky to experience again in your lifetime. You absolutely must hear her."

Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice

"The audience favorite, though, was Russian soprano Albina Shagimuratova, in a bravura company debut as the Queen of the Night. She did well in her Act 1 aria, then brought down the house with a dazzling, pinpoint delivery of the Act 2 showpiece."

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

"Shagimuratova imbues Violetta with a tragic dignity befitting a heroine of indomitable spirit and all-too-vulnerable flesh...she is spirited and worldly--yet always aware of the dark shadow waiting to engulf her. The more duress Violetta is under, the more impressive her performance grows. Shagimuratova's powerful soprano conveys Violetta's passions with its clean placement, precise intonation, agility in decorative passages and sheer splendor in emotional outpourings. Her artful pianissimo is heart-piercing - its brief use in an early scene foreshadowing the sustained pathos she achieves in Act 3. She distinguishes herself in Violetta's big moments: her double aria expressing her conflicted emotions at the close of Act 1, her sorrowful realization that she must acquiesce to the elder Germont's demands in Act 2, her exquisitely shaped aria bidding farewell to life in Act 3 and her final moments whose feverish swings from hope to despair would wring tears from stone. Vocally and dramatically, the performance is a genuine tour de force."

Everett Evans, Houston Chronicle

"The performance confirmed that soprano Albina Shagimuratova is a phenomenon that must be heard to be believed: she demonstrated total but seemingly effortless control of pitch over her vast range, a rich and vibrant sound no matter how high the pitch, and the most delicate of soft notes. And then there was her extraordinary trill; a particularly long one enticingly gained its momentum very slowly and, once at full speed, faded just as slowly into silence. Nor did her singing come at the expense of her acting: convincingly crazed during the Act III mad scene, Shagimuratova twirled atop a banquet table, lasciviously caressed a horrified wedding guest and squirmed on her back while pouring out bel canto embellishments."

Gregory Barnett, Opera News, Vol. 75, No. 10, April 2011

"Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova's expertly sung, sympathetically acted Lucia proves a compelling center for Houston Grand Opera's new production - no more so than in her spine-tinglingly brilliant realization of Lucia's explosion, dissolution and collapse in her showcase mad scene, centerpiece of the gripping final act and climax of the entire opera. … Shagimuratova's Lucia is less overtly dramatic and more subdued that many past Lucias, especially at the start, stressing this young innocent's gentleness and vulnerability. She wields her opulent voice with remarkable proficiency, dexterity and fluidity, but also a poetic soulfulness. When vocal lines call for ornamentation, Shagimuratova responds with grace and seeming spontaneity. Her delicate and precise pianissimo is particularly distinguished, casting a complete hush."

Everett Evans, Houston Chronicle

"Albina Shagimuratova is impeccably passionate as Lucia, her perfectly placed coloratura thrillingly seducing us with every expressive note, beginning with her Act I aria ‘Quando rapito in estasi’ and ending with her Act III mad scene (the famous ‘Spargi d’amaro pianto’ ), which is a masterpiece that is well worth waiting for… Ms. Shagimuratova’s sublime acting and supreme singing provide us with the motive…to sit at her feet as she sings us through the gates of heaven."

Buzz Bellmont, Houston Chronicle “Chron Commons”

"The greatest compliment to Albina Shagimuratova is to say that she belongs in yet another trilogy: with Callas and Sutherland as three great Lucias. Her beautifully confident aria in the second scene of the first act (‘Regnava nel silenzio’) was evidence alone; her mad scene in the third act (‘Il dolce suone, spargi d'amaro piant’) confirmed it. In particular, the cadenza passages with flute accompaniment, delivered while she stood on a wooden table dragging a 20-foot long tablecloth, caused me to tremble."

Theodore Bale, CultureMap Houston

"Soprano Albina Shagimuratova sang [Rossini's Stabat Mater with the Boston Symphony Orchestra] with strength, clarity, and the required penetrating intensity."

Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe

"Gilda, as sung by soprano and HGO Studio alumna Albina Shagimuratova, offered redemption. Shagimuratova’s performance was nothing short of spectacular, bringing a spectrum of vocal colors that reflected Gilda’s differing moods, from naïve innocence to passionate exuberance. Each time she brought out an astonishingly high, or powerful, or quiet note, she seemed to come back with something higher, or more powerful, or poignantly quieter still. Her performance of ‘Caro nome’ elicited unintended but audible gasps from the audience while she sang."

Gregory Barnett, Opera News, April 2009

"In the role that is the heart of the central emotional triangle, Shagimuratova proves this production’s consistent triumph… Shagimuratova combines vocal splendor and dramatic conviction throughout her performance. She is ecstatic expressing her innocent love in the famed aria Caro nome. Her radiant soprano dispatches the gorgeous lines and elaborate ornamentation with agility and flair, glistening in her top notes, virtuosic in her trills and flourishes. She is just as accomplished and affecting in later expressions of shame, sorrow and self-sacrifice, as her role turns increasingly tragic."

Everett Evans, Houston Chronicle

"We can start with the triumphs, namely Russian soprano Albina Shagimuratova’s Queen of the Night. A Tchaikovsky Competition winner (2007) she made her professional debut in this role under Riccardo Muti at Salzburg just four months ago. It’s a showstopping role, technically grueling and cruelly exposed (that’s Mozart for you), and Shagimuratova owned it. ‘Der Holle Racht’ was precision cut, all rage and exactitude, nothing shrill, no strain, an even purity even at the extremes of the register."

Peter Lefevre, Orange County Register

"Soprano Albina Shagimuratova was Rigoletto's daughter, Gilda. She presented a wide range of expressive vocal effects and a big, bright coloratura that leans toward the dramatic. Her first act ‘Caro Nome’ displayed an agile and refined technique. Particularly striking was her handling of the more dolcezza passages, featuring a ravishing floated pianissimo. A fine actress, Shagimuratova imbued the role with a totally engaged passion. Her final death scene with her adoring and curse-plagued father was exquisite and moving."

R. Spencer Butler, Palm Beach Daily News

"But the highest musical point of the evening came from the singing of Shagimuratova, a Russian coloratura whose list of leading houses in which she is soon to appear suggests she is on the brink of a major career. Her work Friday night indicated why that is: This is a big voice, beautifully colored, and at ease in every part of her considerable range. She demonstrates an impressive command of that voice, too, exhibiting an admirable control of dynamics that allows her to go from all-out to whisper in exemplary service of the text, the music and the drama. Her Caro nome, the big showoff Act I soprano test piece, stopped the action cold as the audience listened to her navigate this florid, vocally treacherous aria. But she can sing it, and sing it well, and most importantly, she made it sound not like a final exam for which she has labored prodigiously, but natural, like the spontaneous expression of a sheltered young woman in the first destabilizing throes of romance."

Greg Stepanich, Palm Beach ArtsPaper

"Friday evening’s high points came courtesy of Albina Shagimuratova as Gilda. The Russian soprano has a pure tone and impressive technical arsenal…it was hard to fault her graceful cadenzas and precisely placed top notes. Shagimuratova sang with cumulative assurance and greater expressive depth as the evening progressed. Gilda’s narration to her father of her humiliation at the hands of the Duke was heart-breaking and Shagimuratova was remarkable in Act 3, with subtle dynamic marking and a staggeringly beautiful diminuendo. Her rendering of Gilda’s final moments was so moving and luminous, one could barely take a breath. Albina Shagimuratova surely seems poised for a major operatic career."

Lawrence A. Johnson, South Florida Classical Review

"Puccini gave his character of Musetta plenty of opportunities to become the cynosure on the stage, and Shagimuratova is a force of nature to take advantage of every one of them. Whether blowing kisses from the rumble seat of her motor car, or tossing crockery from the tables of the Café Momus, this Musetta shows considerable talent for brash stage gestures and the broadly comic. The voice is a high soprano with a lush lyricism and agility – exactly what is needed for ‘Quando me’n vo’ soletta per la via.’"

Gary N. Reese, ConcertoNet.com, April 2008

"Saturday's Gilda, Russian soprano Albina Shagimuratova, took a more traditional approach, delivering the score's coloratura flights with spotless precision and lustrous tonal beauty."

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, September 2012

"Albina Shagimuratova is a technically flawless, luscious-toned and chilling Queen of the Night."

Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, December 2013

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Discography