Olga is an internationally acclaimed artist, recognised for her outstanding achievements in prestigious competitions and her role as a soloist at the St Petersburg Mussorgsky State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre – Mikhailovsky Theatre. She has graced numerous opera stages across the globe. However, her name is relatively new in Auckland’s cultural scene, despite our repeated mentions of her in various concert contexts where she has participated.

In her debut solo concert in Auckland, Olga left the audience in awe with her remarkable vocal talents, proving herself as a consummate professional. It’s no surprise, considering Olga Shanina’s status as a true opera diva. Her performance evoked memories of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre, a venue I frequented, famous for its classical repertoire and opera luminaries, both local and international. Undoubtedly, Olga Shanina shines as one of those illustrious stars, and the concert audience was quick to acknowledge her exceptional talent.

With an incredibly powerful soprano, magnificent artistry, an imposing presence, exquisite attire, and a diverse repertoire, every aspect of Olga’s performance aligned with the stature of an opera diva. Accompanying her was the well-known Veronika Shilova, a familiar presence that added to the grandeur of the classical art celebration.

You might think this sums up my impressions, but Olga had more in store to amaze the audience. She didn’t just present a programme; she delivered a programme filled with surprises. The first delightful surprise was the appearance of her fourteen-year-old son, Viktor Zhuravlev, who showcased his talent by performing several well-known musical compositions on the flute.

Another delightful surprise unfolded with the outstanding performance of Oleg Tokayev, a familiar name to all of us, as he is one of Olga’s vocal students. Accompanied by Natalia Robinson, his rendition added to the evening’s enchantment.

Furthermore, Olga Shanina graciously offered musical gifts in the form of arias from renowned operas and operettas for the newlyweds who were expected to be in attendance but, for some reason, were absent.

The programme, as always, was expertly and thoughtfully presented by Olga Andropova. The encounter with opera and the professional vocalist was a resounding success, and we owe our gratitude to Olga Shanina for making it all possible.

Photos by Nadejda Mouravleva.

                                              Rimma Shkrabina, Auckland

 (translated by Lena Naumova)