On the trail of the great role model

The mezzo-soprano Vasilisa Berzhanskaya loves Italian bel canto. Her declared goal is to sing all the ten roles Rossini tailor-wrote for the star soprano of his era. SEMIRAMIDE is one of them.

I had the good fortune to join the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin in my early twenties. That gave my development an incredible push. Today I have my home base in Siberia, but most of the time I am on the road for performances, and I am very happy to return to Berlin for SEMIRAMIDE. Italian bel canto has become my specialty. It allows the singer to show everything the voice has, the roles are dramatic, but also full of coloratura, the vocal range is enormous, they are very hard to sing. In short, a great challenge!

I have a role model: Isabella Colbran, a soprano who was the most famous singer in Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. I want to sing all ten operas Rossini wrote for her – SEMIRAMIDE is one of them. Colbran had a high voice, but was able to sing low as well. My case is the opposite, I am a mezzo-soprano, so my voice is lower, but I enjoy singing in my upper range as well. So I can sing the same roles she did. Isabella died in 1845, so of course there are no recordings. But her contemporaries raved about her; her technique was considered perfect. That motivates me.

She loves Rossini and his bel canto operas. She grew up with them as an ensemble member at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Now the 28-year-old returns for SEMIRAMIDE.


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