Nina Rautio

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Nina Rautio
Born (1957-09-21) 21 September 1957 (age 62)
OccupationOpera singer (soprano)

Nina Rautio (born 21 September 1957) is a Russian operatic soprano.[1] Her son Jan Karl Rautio (1980) – pianist, conductor, composer.


For the first nineteen years of her life, Nina Rautio lived in Petrozavodsk (Republic of Karelia, Russia). To begin with, she graduated as a pianist from the Petrozavodsk School of Music, and then completed a Dual Degree, studying theory and singing (the latter with Z.I. Larkina) – achieving distinction in both disciplines – at the K.E. Rautio Music College. In 1983 she graduated from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory (vocal class of E.A. Abrosimova) as a spinto soprano. During her studies at the conservatoire, Nina performed the role of Violetta ("La Traviata") at the Conservatoire Opera Studio. She was the winner of the Second Prize at the Villa-Lobos Competition in Rio de Janeiro in 1983, as well as receiving the Fourth Prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1986.

She began her operatic career in earnest in 1984, performing a number of leading roles as part of the Mikhaylovsky Theatre (formerly the Maly Opera Theatre) in St. Petersburg.[2] After competing in the Tchaikovsky Competition she was invited to join the Bolshoi Theatre company where, starting in January 1987, she became one of its leading sopranos, as well as performing in many renowned concert halls in Moscow and St. Petersburg. She made numerous radio and State Television appearances. Between 1987 and 1993, Nina Rautio was the Prima Donna of choice for a wide variety of roles, including those of Maria (Tchaikovsky's "Mazeppa", dir. S.F. Bondarchuk) and Amelia (Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera", dir. S.A. Stein) in 1987; Elisabeth of Valois (Verdi's "Don Carlos", dir. I.M. Tumanov) and Santuzza (Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana", dir. S.A. Stein) in 1988; Tatyana (Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin", dir. B.A. Pokrovsky) and Lisa (Tchaikovsky's "The Queen of Spades", dir. Baratov) in 1989; Oksana (Rimsky-Korsakov's "Christmas Eve", dir. A.B. Tittel) in 1990; and Joan (Tchaikovsky's "Maid of Orleans", dir. B.A. Pokrovsky) in 1992 and 1993, as well as many others.

One of the directors of the Bolshoi company, V.G. Milkov, offered this appraisal of Nina Rautio's talent: "She wields a voice possessed of the most radiant timbre, imbued with a wide palette of shades and hues, all underpinned by an acting ability of great resolve and persuasion". Renowned Russian music critic A.E. Hripin noted that "any classification of this soprano can only be tentative and provisional, for she combines all the colours and sounds feasible for a female voice, from the velvety contralto timbre of the lower register to the brilliant coloratura at the high end of her diapason. Her vocal range is unique – from Es3 to Es6. The lower, "chest" register envelops the ear, it's dense and resonant. The top is remarkable for its clear, silvery penetration. She combines tremendous virtuosity with incredible power..." ("SK", 06/10/1990).

At the end of the 1980s Nina Rautio collaborated with M.V. Yurovsky's "Forum" theatre on a revival of Bortniansky's opera "Quinto Fabio", culminating in her taking on the role of priestess Fausta in the first ever performances of the opera in Russia (1990).

She first sang in the West in 1991 when she travelled to the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and the Edinburgh festival with the Bolshoi Company. She was immediately acclaimed as an artist of exceptional talent and invited by the La Scala Theatre to act as an understudy for the title role of Puccini's "Manon Lescaut" in February 1992. After only a few rehearsals, the conductor, Lorin Maazel, promoted her to the premiere cast, as well as inviting her to record the role with Sony Classical. The performances and the recording met with tremendous acclaim, and this turn of events served as the catalyst that established the young soprano's reputation on the international stage. Later the same year, again at La Scala, Nina Rautio took on the role of Elisabeth of Valois in Verdi's "Don Carlos" (under the baton of Riccardo Muti), and sang the soprano solo in Janáček's "Glagolitic Mass" under Riccardo Chailly. After the successful La Scala debut, Nina began a long and fruitful creative partnership with some of the most celebrated conductors of recent times, including Lorin Maazel (with whom she toured across Europe, together with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, throughout 1992, including the World Exposition in Seville) and Riccardo Chailly (the latter having invited her to perform as a soloist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra).

Nina Rautio was held in very high regard by Luciano Pavarotti, who performed with her in numerous productions in the 1990s, including "Don Carlos", "Un Ballo in Maschera", "Manon Lescaut", "Andrea Chenier", Verdi's Requiem Mass, amongst others.

In the early 1990s Nina relocated to London and has since performed across the world. She made many critically acclaimed appearances on the stage of the Royal Opera House, London, as Amelia ("Un Ballo in maschera"), as the eponymous heroine in "Aida", Desdemona in "Othello" (all under Daniele Gatti), as well as Abigaille in Verdi's "Nabucco"; performed "Aida" with Daniel Oren at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma; took on the title roles in "Tosca" and "Aida" for the New York Metropolitan Opera productions;[3] sang the role of Lisa in Opera Bastille's production of "The Queen of Spades" (dir. A.S. Konchalovsky); appeared as Aida and performed the soprano solo part in Verdi's "Requiem", with Zubin Mehta conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; as Lisa ("The Queen of Spades") and Manon Lescaut at the Wiener Staatsoper, conducted by Lorin Maazel; as Desdemona in Verdi's "Othello" (Teatro Comunale, Florence); as Leonora in Verdi's "La Forza del destino", Aida and Amelia in "Simone Boccanegra", all for the productions at the Berlin State OperaHouse, Berlin; as Aida in Arena di Verona; and many others. Nina Rautio has performed over twenty leading operatic roles, which includedLady Macbeth ("Macbeth", Verdi);Leonora ("Il Trovatore", Verdi);Mathilde ("William Tell", Rossini);Donna Anna ("Don Giovanni", Mozart).

Nina made numerous appearances at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finnland, reprising the role of Aida, as well as starring as a soloist in gala performances. She participated in the Choregies d'Orange, France, as Desdemona ("Othello), and in the Salzburg Festival, singing the soprano solo in Mahler's Second Symphony – on both occasions the conductor was Lorin Maazel.

Back in Russia, Nina Rautio has been involved in a number of projects, such as the "Golden Voices of the Opera"[4] festival in Moscow; the "Stars of the Operatic Stage" concerts, Moscow; the International M.D. Mikhailov Opera Festival in Chebokhsary;[5] the "Aliabyevskaya Musikalnaya Osen"[6] festival, amongst a number of others. As a recitalist/solo soprano, Nina has a wide-ranging repertoire which includes works by composers such as Beethoven, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Poulenc, Tippett, Stravinsky, G.V. Sviridov, etc. In 1990, in a concert celebrating the 75th birthday of a renowned Russian composer Sviridov, Nina performed his entire "Cast-off Russia" lieder cycle (words by Sergei Yesenin), accompanied by E.P. Savelyeva on the piano.

In 2002–2003, in the role of Artistic Director of the Musical Theatre of Karelia, Nina Rautio directed their production of Mascagni's "Cavalleria rusticana", as well as taking on the part of Santuzza.[7] In 2003 the government of the Karelian Republic invited her to become the Cultural Affairs Advisor to the president of the republic. She taught vocal studies at the Popov Academy of Choral Art in Moscow.

Nina Rautio currently resides in the United Kingdom, London. She is a dedicated teacher, preparing ambitious, promising young students for the demands of the operatic stage.





CD and DVD[edit]

  • 1992 — Puccini: Manon Lescaut, Sony Classical, Teatro alla Scala;
  • 1993 — Tchaikovsky: Maid of Orleans, Warner Music Group;
  • 1995 — The Puccini Experience, Conifer Records, Royal Opera House;
  • 1996 — Tchaikovsky: Romances, 2 part, Conifer Records;
  • 1996 — Tchaikovsky: Romances , 5 part, Conifer Records;
  • 1996 — Rachmaninov: Romances, Conifer Records;


External links[edit]