Artist Profile: Galina Gorchakova, A Famed Russian Soprano

By David Salazar

Galina Gorchakova was one of the Russian sopranos to dominate during the 1990s.

Born in Novokuznetsk on March 1, 1961, to opera singers, her family moved to Novosibirsk, Siberia where she did all of her major training. She would become a leading soprano in Sverdlovsk and then went on to audition for Valery Gergiev at the Mariinsky Theatre.

In 1991, she made her Western debut in London in the role of Renata from Prokofiev’s “The Fiery Angel.” From there she would manage great success in the same opera at the Royal Opera House, Milan, New York, and San Francisco.

She would go on to a strong career at the Mariinsky Theatre, collaborating with Gergiev internationally; however, she has been outspoken against him. She was named People’s Artist of the USSR.

Signature Roles

There is no denying that Gorchakova was a major exponent on Russian repertory. She was arguably the Tatiana of her time and her recording of “Iolanta” was a touchstone for years.

But she also excelled in the Italian repertory, making a number of Verdi and Puccini roles her own.

Watch and Listen

Here is an album of Italian Opera arias.

And here is an album of Verdi and Tchaikovsky.

Check her out in the final scene from Verdi’s “Aida.”


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