Aida by Aida Garifullina

Aged only 29, Russian soprano Aida Garifullina has it all. She is stunningly beautiful, and possesses the voice to match. If that weren’t enough, she is named after one of the greatest operatic heroines: Verdi’s Aida. More still, Garifullina recently appeared as legendary soprano Lily Pons alongside Meryl Streep in the film Florence Foster Jenkins. Yes, Aida Garifullina has it all, as amply revealed on her debut album for the Decca label. Although Garifullina presents an odd mishmash of repertoire – just two French arias alongside an otherwise all-Slavic program – she sings the whole thing with such finesse that it’s easy to forgive any such incongruity and revel in the lusciousness of the music.

Skip the two opening French arias (Gounod and Delibes) and fast-forward to the Tatar folksong ‘Allüki’. Here the heart of Garifullina’s voice is revealed. Notice the soft precision of her consonants, the gentle undulations of her vibrato, and the tenderness of her expression. It’s the particular combination of these attributes that makes her unique within a market teeming with talented sopranos. Garifullina’s utterly beguiling interpretations of ‘Cossack Lullaby’ and Rachmaninov’s ‘Lilacs’ further prove her distinctive talent. I can’t wait to find out what’s next for this exceptional soprano.

Alexandra Mathew is from Readings Carlton.

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Aida Garifullina, ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, Cornelius Meister

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