Irina Dolzhenko (mezzo-soprano),
the soloist of the Bolsnoi Theatre
Once you hear the singing of Irina Dolzhenko, you never forget the velvet sound of her voice, which enraptures the audience with its unusual beauty and richness. Undoubtedly, the modern Russia’s opera art may boast with Mrs. Dolzhenko’s mastery. Nevertheless, at first everyone admires the singer’s luxurious timbre and natural ability to penetrate into the core of music and only then praises her professional skills.
Irina was born in Tashkent. She started to play the piano and to attend a children’s vocal studio in her early childhood. At the age of 16 she got down to singing seriously. She studied under professors L.Tammel (Tallinn) and R.Yusupova (Tashkent). While being a student of the Tashkent Music Academy, Irina was singing at the Tashkent Opera theatre. After graduating from the Academy she was invited to Moscow, holding the position of a soloist in two companies – in Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre and the Musical Theatre for Children and Youth. Since 1996 she has been a soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre.
Her repertoire embraces almost all leading mezzo and contralto parts in the operas of Russian and Western composers, such as Eboli (“Don Carlos”), Fenena (“Nabucco”), Amneris (“Aida”), Azucena (“Il Trovatore”), Ulrica (“Un Ballo in maschera”), Preziosilla (“La Forza del Destino”), Maddalena (“Rigoletto”), Ms.Quickly (“Falstaff”) by Verdi; Adalgisa (“Norma”) and Romeo (“I Capuletti e i Montecchi”) by Bellini; Santuzza (“Cavalleria Rusricana”) by Mascagni; Princess de Bouillon (“Adriana Lecouvreur”) by Cilea; Carmen (“Carmen”) by Bizet; Suzuki (“Madama Butterfly”) by Puccini; Cherubino (“Le nozze di Figaro”) by Mozart; Jezhibaba (“Rusalka”) by Dvorak; Ratmir (“Ruslan and Lyudmila”) by Glinka; Pauline (“The Queen of Spades”), Olga (“Eugene Onegin”), Ioanna (“The Maid of Orleans”), Morozova (“The Oprichnik”) by Tchaikovsky; Lyubasha (“The Tsar’s Bride”), Amelfa (“The Golden Cockerel”) by Rimsky-Korsakov; Marina (“Boris Godunov”), Marfa (“Khovanshchina”) by Mussorgsky etc. She created the role of Viola in Eduard Kolmanovsky’s opera “The Twelfth Night”.
Mrs. Dolzhenko performs the mezzo parts in the large compositions with orchestra, such as Requiems by Mozart, Verdi, Dvorak, Stabat mater by Dvorak, Pergolesi, Vivaldi, Gloria by Vivaldi, “The Damnation of Faust” by Berlioz, “After Reading a Psalm” and 1 symphony by Taneev, “Alexander Nevsky” by Prokofiev, “Moscow” by Tchaikovsky, 9 symphony by Beethoven, 2 symphony by Mahler etc.
The singer improved and polished her art in Italy under M.Sigele and G.Luccetti and in France under famous opera diva Regine Crespin.
She often goes abroad on tours. As one of the finalists of the International Belvedere Singing Competition 1993 in Vienna, she was invited to perform Olga in "Eugene Onegin" at the Vienna Chamber Theatre and Cherubino in "Le nozze di Figaro" at the Mozart Festival in Schonbrunn. Ms. Dolzhenko appeared as Marina in "Boris Godunov" at the opening of the new Tel Aviv Opera House and as Maddalena in "Rigoletto" at the same theatre later on. Her appearances include Hanna in Rimsky-Korsakov‘s "The May Night" at the Wexford Festival, Adalgisa in "Norma" at the Royal Opera Stockholm, Ulrica in "Un ballo in maschera" at Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Amneris in "Aida" in Buenos Aires and Preziosilla in "La Forza del Destino" at Savonlinna Opera Festival (Finland).
Since 1999 she has been collaborating actively with the Latvian National Opera (the roles of Amneris and Ulrica). In 2003 Mrs. Dolzhenko participated in the LNO performance of “Aida”, which was shown on Russia TV for 12 million spectators.
Mrs. Dolzhenko performed with such outstanding conductors as G.Rozhdestvensky, V.Fedoseyev, M.Ermler, M.Pletnyov, V.Yurovsky, V.Gergiyev. The famous stage directors B.Pokrovsky, G.Friedrich invited Mrs.Dolzhenko to take part in their productions.
The interpretation of Mrs. Dolzhenko is notable for its depth and passion. Her musical taste is flawless. The same qualities are appreciable in the field of chamber music, yet the musical passion becomes gentler. At the same time every intonation, a turning of the head or a wave of the eyelash is filled with the innermost feeling.
In 1992 the first recital of Irina Dolzhenko and pianist Inna Davidova took place in Riga. Their performance of the romances by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Glinka is considered to be especially poignant and moving. This collaboration is to be continued successfully.
Among the many merits of Irina Dolzhenko, besides her personal beauty and the unique timbre of her voice, one must mention the profound depth of her performance, its spirited warmth, and her devotion to and love for the music.
Stuttgarter Zeitung, Germany
Irina Dolzhenko presented the audience with a most impressive recital, сombining the greatest possible expressiveness with the enchanting beauty of her unusually wide-ranging voice.
Times Union, USA