Artist of the Week: Vasilisa Berzhanskaya

Mezzo-Soprano Makes her Role Debut as Norma

By Francisco Salazar

“Norma” is considered one of the most difficult soprano roles in the repertoire and for many singers, it is the pinnacle of the repertoire. But interestingly, Bellini’s masterpiece has also been performed by some mezzo-sopranos and this week, Vasilia Berzhanskaya, a mezzo, will add the demanding role to her growing Bel Canto repertoire. 

At the age of 29, the mezzo will sing the role at the Teatro Carlo Felice in a critical edition by Riccardo Minasi e Maurizio Biondi. She will follow in the footsteps of Cecilia Bartoli, one of the most recent mezzos to perform the title role.

During the past years, Berzhanskaya has become one of the most sought-after exponents of the Bel Canto repertoire singing such works as “Il Barbiere di Svigilia,” “La Cenerentola,” “Anna Bolena,” “Moise et Pharaon,” and “L’Italiana in Algeri,” among others. 

The mezzo has also performed at some of the best theaters in the world including the Wiener Staatsoper, Rossini Opera Festival, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and the Royal Opera House, among others.

For those not in Genova for the debut, Berzhanskaya is set to appear at the Deutsche Oper Berlin this season and will also return to the Wiener Staatsoper and Royal Opera House next season. 


Audiences not familiar with Berzhanskaya’s voice can check out recordings of “L’Italiana in Algeri” or “Il Barbiere di Siviglia.”

Here she is in two Rossini arias:


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