Charming beginnings: Kirill Belov

Kirill Belov was born in Ufa (Russia). He made his debut at the Mariinsky Theater, in the role Kai in Sergei Banevich’s opera Kai and Gerda. In 2019, he completed an internship at the Opera House of Monte-Carlo, where he received a contract for the role of Innocent in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov. From December 2019 to October 2020, he was in the Youth Opera Program of the Bolshoi Theater, under the leadership of Dmitry Vdovin, where he participated in many projects and took part at masterclasses of the stars of the opera stage, such as: Placido Domingo, Ernesto Palacio, Elizabeth Vidal, Makvala Kasrashvili. He participated in the second and fourth International Music Festival of Ildar Abdrazakov. From 2020 to 2021 he was a soloist of the Bashkir State Opera and Ballet Theater. He made his debut in this theater as Foresto in Verdi’s Attila. In April and May 2021, he performed the role of the Innocent, in the Opera House of Monte-Carlo in Boris Godunov. In July 2021 he made his debut at the Opera for All Festival in St. Petersburg, singing Bogdan Sobinin in Glinka’s opera A Life for the Tsar, conducted by Fabio Mastrangelo. In 2021 he participated at Domingo’s Operalia Competition.

Hello, Kirill. It’a always a pleasure to chat with the young promises of the opera world! Let’s start from the begginning. How old were you when you discovered that opera is your path? Was it love at the first sight? Who guided your first steps on this path?

Hello! First of all, I want to say thank you for this interview and that it is a great honor for me to be interviewed specifically for your magazine! I think I still couldn’t speak, but I already knew how to sing! Of course this is a joke! Since I was born in a family of musicians, where my dad Vladimir is a tenor, and my mother Elena is a pianist, I was surrounded by opera from my birth and from the very youngest years I constantly was in the opera house. At first it was the Ufa Opera House, where my father was the leading soloist for a long time! My mother, my brother Ilya and I constantly attended all the performances and rehearsals in which my father sang, such as Aida, Madama Butterfly, La Bohéme, Rigoletto, Carmen and so many others. Then it was the Prague Opera House, where my dad was also a leading soloist for a long time and I also grew up in this opera house. Very often we attended to Aida, where dad sang Radames, I think it was the first part that I learned by heart! Of course I fell in love with the opera since childhood. It was love at first sight! My first steps in the opera were led by my father. He taught me to sing, he is my only teacher. I’m not a student anymore, but I’m constantly preparing new parts with my father, improving my vocal art. My parents gave me a good musical education, my father taught me to sing, my mother taught me to play the piano, I am very grateful to them for that! And I want to say that the opera is my fate!

You completed your studies at the Ufa State institute of Art, continued your vocal education at the Mariinksy Academy of Young Opera Singers, under the leadership of Larisa Gergieva, completed an internship at the Opera House of Monte-Carlo and then you joined the Young Artist Program of the Bolshoi Theatre. How was this experiences for you and what do these Young Artist Programs look for in a young singer at the audition? What is the most valuable thing you have learned there?

These youth programs were very important for me! As a fifth-year student at the Ufa Institute of Arts, I first appeared on the stage of the Mariinsky Theater, at that moment I was a soloist of the Mariinsky youth program. I performed the part of Kai in S. Banevich’s opera Kai and Gerda, which takes place on the first stage of the Mariinsky Theater! It was an unforgettable experience, as a student to go on the first stage of the Mariinsky Theater and in the title role, it was fantastic for me! All this was thanks to the head of the Mariinsky Theater youth opera program, Larisa Gergieva! She believed in me and gave me such an opportunity! Then I decided to try my hand at the youth opera program of the Bolshoi Theater, the director of which is Dmitry Vdovin! I sang many projects of the youth program, concerts, it was work with coaches in languages, French, German, Italian, English and of course with Maestro Vdovin himself. He is a real professional in his field, he knows absolutely everything about opera. And of course he is a wonderful teacher. I learned a lot from him and I am also very grateful to him. Then I was on an internship at the opera house of Monte-Carlo, my eyes have never seen a more beautiful place! The sea, the sun, palm trees, beautiful opera house, what else is needed for a tenor. 10 young singers from Russia were selected for this internship, the curator of this program is Kira Parfeevets. We studied at the opera house of Monte-Carlo almost every day, we also had coaches. Kira helped me a lot in French music, pronunciation, style, etc.. I think she is one of the best accompanists in the Europe right now. We were also very supported by artistic coordinator Eline De Kat and director of the theater, Jean-Louis Grinda. Amazing persons, great masters of their craft! They are very supportive of young opera singers, for which I would like to thank them separately. As a result of this internship, I received a contract for the role of the Innocent in the opera Boris Godunov. So youth opera programs are very important for the development of young opera singers. In these programs you gain a lot of experience, study and have the opportunity to sing in leading opera houses. And the most important thing that I understood in these programs is that if you have a voice, it doesn’t mean anything, you need to work hard, overcome yourself, improve every day, every hour, every second.

Read the entire interview here, in the 1th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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