Lyudmila Monastyrskaya

Lyudmila Monastyrskaya

Opera singer, soprano; soloist of the National Opera of Ukraine
Country: Ukraine

  1. Biography of Lyudmila Monastyrska
  2. Early Life and Training
  3. Rise to Fame
  4. International Success

Biography of Lyudmila Monastyrska

Lyudmila Monastyrska is an opera singer and soprano soloist. She is considered one of the best sopranos in the world, specifically as a spinto soprano, known for her ability to master both lyrical and dramatic roles. Monastyrska is often compared to the likes of Montserrat Caballe and Maria Callas, as she continues their traditions. While she has performed in numerous renowned roles, her signature role is Aida, which she began her brilliant career with and has since shone on the world's best opera stages.

Lyudmila Monastyrskaya

Early Life and Training

Lyudmila Monastyrska was born in 1976 in the village of Irkliyev, Cherkasy region, Ukraine. Her father was a businessman, while her mother taught literature. With excellent hearing and a naturally powerful voice, Monastyrska's mother would often sing in her free time. She wanted her daughter to follow in her footsteps, while her grandmother dreamed of her becoming a doctor. However, at the age of 13, Monastyrska already knew she would be a singer. She studied piano and, after graduating from music school at 15, she moved to Kyiv and enrolled in the Gliere Music College. Her teacher was Ivan Ignatovich Palivoda, who had trained numerous brilliant performers, including the Vienna State Opera soloist Victoria Lukyanets. Monastyrska completed the third and fourth courses of the college in just one year and then entered the Kyiv Conservatory, studying under the legendary Diana Ignatyevna Petrynenko, Palivoda's sister.

Rise to Fame

In 1996, Monastyrska made her debut on the stage of the National Opera of Kyiv, performing the role of Tatiana in Eugene Onegin. The next stage in her professional growth was participating in the Lysenko International Competition. By the time of the competition in 1997, Monastyrska was already married to tenor Alexander Monastyrska, who is now a leading soloist at the Municipal Opera for Children and Youth in Kyiv, and was expecting their first child. This did not prevent the young singer from winning the Grand Prix of the competition. She brilliantly performed the role of Aida, which became a leading part in her subsequent career, and received an invitation to join the Kyiv National Opera.

In 1998, Monastyrska gave birth to her daughter Anna, followed by the birth of her son Andrey in 1999. She took an academic leave during this period. After graduating from the conservatory in 2000, Monastyrska signed a contract to work at the Kyiv Opera. However, in 2002, the theater management refused to extend her contract. The young singer performed on many stages, including the popular opera studio at the conservatory and the Municipal Opera Theater, and toured with various orchestras.

International Success

In 2008, Monastyrska once again became a soloist at the Kyiv National Opera, and a year later, her life changed dramatically. A recording of Lyudmila Monastyrska's performance came into the hands of David Zavalkovsky, a former violinist and later an impresario. During his trip to Kyiv in 2009, he attended performances in which Monastyrska sang and offered her a contract for international performances. Monastyrska began participating in concerts and later signed a contract with the Berlin Opera, where the premiere of Tosca with Maria Guleghina in the lead role was being prepared at that time. Just a week before the premiere, the leading soloist withdrew, and Monastyrska, having learned her part in a week, made a brilliant debut on the Berlin stage. This was followed by many more contracts. Monastyrska participated in the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, and then she was invited to London, where she auditioned at the Royal Opera House. According to the conditions of this theater, the period from the audition to performing leading roles can take up to three years, but Monastyrska was an exception. She was immediately included in the cast of Aida as an understudy to Italian diva Micaela Carosi, and in 2011, Monastyrska made a brilliant debut in the title role of Aida. This was followed by an invitation to the first cast of Covent Garden and the leading role in Verdi's Macbeth on that theater's stage.

After the end of her contract, Monastyrska quickly received an engagement from the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, where she performed with an orchestra conducted by Alberto Veronesi. In 2012, Monastyrska performed as Aida at La Scala in Milan, and she was subsequently invited to the Metropolitan Opera. The Metropolitan Opera's production in December 2012 was broadcast on television worldwide, and the general manager of the theater, Peter Gelb, stated that in the past half-century, he had not heard a better Aida than Monastyrska's. In 2013, Monastyrska once again performed on the Covent Garden stage, this time as Abigaille in Nabucco, alongside Placido Domingo and Leo Nucci. Since then, Domingo has called the Ukrainian singer "dear Lyudmila" and gives her a bouquet of five white carnations every time they meet on stage, which is not so rare.

Monastyrska has a very busy schedule of performances and tours worldwide, planned four years in advance. Among her roles on world stages are Amelia (Un ballo in maschera), Santuzza (Cavalleria rusticana), Lisa (The Queen of Spades), Turandot, and other opera parts. She has also performed as a soloist in Verdi's Requiem, which was performed in Moscow and Bucharest. Among Monastyrska's creative plans are preparing the roles of Leonora in Il trovatore and Elisabetta in Don Carlo. Her husband and children reside in Kyiv, and Monastyrska sees them during short breaks between tours and when she performs in the Ukrainian capital. At present, neither her son nor daughter show a desire to follow in their parents' footsteps, although Anna has an interest in theater.