Natalia Ushakova began to study singing at the RIMSKY-KORSAKOV-CONSERVATORY in St. Petersburg. In 1996 she won a scholarship to the GRAZ OPERA STUDIO and sang all the major roles in Mozart’s operas. She continued her studies in the master class at the University of Munich in 1998, and won another scholarship to the ACCADEMIA DI PERFEZIONAMENTO of the TEATRO ALLA SCALA (Milan), where she studied with the famous sopranos Leyla Gencer, Mieta Sieghele and Virginia Zeani.
In 2000 Natalia Ushakova won first prize in two famous Italian singing competitions, namely the CONCORSO INTERNAZIONALE RICCARDO ZANDONAI at Rovereto and the CONCORSO DELLE VOCI VERDIANE at Busseto, the birthplace of Verdi. There she made her debut as Violetta in Verdi’s LA TRAVIATA and portrayed Giuseppina Strepponi (Verdi’s second wife) as well as Violetta Valéry in the BBC television film THE PRIVATE LIFE OF GIUSEPPE VERDI.
In 1999 Natalia Ushakova made her debut as Maria in Tschaikovsky’s MAZEPPA (Conductor: Mstislav Rostropovich) at La Scala, Milan. After this successful debut she took the advice of the artistic director and studied the Italian operas at the ACCADEMIA DI PERFEZIONAMENTO DELLA SCALA.
Meanwhile she made her debut as Mimi in Franco Zeffirelli’s production of LA BOHÈME at La Scala. Natalia Ushakova took part in various tours with the Mariinsky Theater of St. Petersburg (Conductor: Valery Gergiev), which brought her to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, and the Festival Hall in Baden-Baden.
She made her debut at the State Opera in Hannover as Maria in Smetana’s THE BARTERED BRIDE and sang Mimi in LA BOHÈME as well as Cio Cio San in MADAMA BUTTERFLYand triumphed as Violetta Valéry in the internationally acclaimed new production of LA TRAVIATA by Calixto Bieto in 2004. In the same season Natalia Ushakova appeared for the first time as Lisa in THE QUEEN OF SPADES at the State Opera Hamburg.
Natalia Ushakova made her USA debut at the Washington Opera House as Liu in Puccini’s TURANDOT in 2001, followed in 2002 by Lisa in THE QUEEN OF SPADES with Placido Domingo as Hermann, and appeared as Donna Anna in a new production of DON GIOVANNI in 2003.
In 2004, Ms. Ushakova made her debut in the TEATRO REALin Madrid to great public acclaim and received spectacular reviews singing Lisa in THE QUEEN OF SPADES alongside Placido Domingo and Elena Obraszova as the Countess, with Jesus Lopez Cobus conducting.
In 2005 she continued this success with her debut as Tatiana in a new production of EUGENE ONEGIN under the director Peter Konvitchny, and made an acclaimed debut in a new production of JENUFA, taking the title role.
In 2006 Natalia Ushakova appeared in Abbado’s new production of DON GIOVANNI in Verona as Donna Anna, and made her debut in a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall in New York to standing ovations. In 2006-2007 she made her debut as Desdemona in Verdi’s OTELLO at the State Opera in Stuttgart and her widely-acclaimed debut as Violetta Valéry in LA TRAVIATA at the State Opera in Vienna.
Lisa,Ghermann´s love,was played by Natalia Ushakova. Ms.Ushakova brought an endearing naiveté to the role…….her voice was youthful,vulnerable and touching.
- Washington Press
In this Opera it all depends on the singer of the titlepart – and with Natalia Ushakova the New National Opera Tokyo landed a lucky pull. Her dark soprano,which sounds like L.Rysanek in some passages,contrasts very well to her luminous high range,whereby she should maybe focus a little more on her lower middle range. Both visually and in her portray she is as much a seductive and passionate sullen childlike woman, as also the matured woman in the “Schlussgesang”,who surpasses all expectations both vocally and in her acting
- Der Neue Merker
The title role of Puccini’s opera Tosca, a pious yet fiery diva, is greatly suited to sopranos. In 1964, Maria Callas anchored the role at London’s Royal Opera HouseThe role demands a melodramatic soprano who excels in both singing and acting. Ushakova fits the bill perfectly. Her theatrical presence and flawless singing captivated the audience
- Daily China
EUGENE ONEGIN (Tatiana)
There´s no doubt,though, that Act 1 belonged to Natalia Ushakova (Tatiana),whose Letter Aria is a ten minute vocal tour de force……Ushakova´s voice now adopted an angelic,prayerful quality as she pleaded and wandered,litterally bringing this opera of “everyday,common feelings”to the people.
- The Spectator
Creamy-voiced Natalia Ushakova makes Tatyana so real it is difficult to believe that the introverted,romantic child of act one (magically making eye contact with everyone in the auditorium during the letter scene) becomes the proud,defiant (but ultimately psychotic) noblewoman of act two.
At the end there was overwhelming applause, above all for Natalia Ushakova as the suffering Violetta with equally strong coloraturas
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Natalia Ushakova as Donna Anna and Irina Mataeva as Zerlina are outstanding.Ushakova has a wonderful soprano voice that carries strong conviction,essential for the vengeance-minded Donna Anna.
- Süddeutsche Zeitung
PREMIERE LA TRAVIATA
Here our sympathies are engaged as we experience the fateful meeting and the tragic course of a love affair, which is told with an intimacy astonishing in an open-air performance,with the three leading roles…taken by singers who are not only vocally but also physically ideally suited. NATALIA USHAKOVA bewitches and moves us with her resonant,confident soprano….
- Die Welt