Kazakhstan’s Maria Mudryak is one of the top 10 best sopranos in the world
We got a chance to interview one of the best sopranos in the world, Maria Mudryak, who also is from Kazakhstan.
At the age of 5 you were entered in the Guinness World Records for being the youngest singer on the planet who has recorded their own solo album. Tell us please how your parents found your talent at this young age? And which genre was your first album?
At the age of 3, my mother brought me to the Pavlodar Palace of Students, where I began studying ballet, singing and English concurrently. I had the best results in vocals, I started to win a few competitions, firstly local, and then in the Republic, and afterwards International Competitions. At the age of 5, when I was chosen as a winner of the “Light your star” competition, I have heard a story from Yury Nikolayev about a girl from Cyprus who was selected to be a nominee in the Guinness Book as they youngest singer who had released a first album. Then we decided to make and eventually release our album in the edition of 25,000 copies. This album became very popular and was fully sold. Then we decided to send a letter to the Guinness Book, they didn’t accept this achievement and said: “These types or records are ineligible”. But my achievement was registered in the Kines Book (Kazakh Book of achievements). When this information was released, media workers have confused something, and therefore now this incorrect information is still inline. My album contains children’s popular songs in both, Russian and Kazakh languages. I don’t like to answer this question because of some misunderstandings, although I have applied many efforts to create an album (it’s better not to mention this). This doesn’t make any difference to us.
At the age of 10 you were enrolled at the High Music Academy under the La Scala theater as an exception. Thus you became the youngest student in the academy. How did you reach this goal and achieve exceptions of the rules?
In order to improve vocals skills my mother and I understood that we have to work on academic vocals. Then at the age of 10, I was a winner in the academic vocals competition in Sochi, this is where I was seen by Italian Teachers and then I got an invitation to study in Italy. I have passed all the entrance exams with distinctions and was accepted to the Higher Academy of Music in Milan, I was 10 years old back then. At the age of 14, my mother and I decided that I have to apply to the prestigious conservatory: State Milan Conservatory named after D. Verdi, although one of the requirements to apply was the minimum age of 16. Even by that time I realized that I will be able to pass the examinations and I have performed one of the most difficult music works comparable to those that students play when they graduate from the conservatory. I was taking a very high risk, but it was really worth it. Finally, I was accepted! The normal length of studies is 5 years, but I was able to finish the course of studies in 4 years while studying in the Italian Public School. It was very tough time in my life because only half Sundays were left to spend with my mother. But all these efforts worked perfectly for me and I graduated from the conservatory at the age of 18 and got the highest score of 10. Afterwards, I became a young opera singer with a higher degree. From all the information mentioned above, it’s easy to conclude that in order to achieve the highest results I was forced to work a lot, I wasn’t afraid of all the upcoming difficulties, I believed in myself and decided to win, what I finally did!
Is that true that Swiss Government offered you to become a Swiss citizen, as an exchange for a scholarship in Milan. But your parents refused the offer and asked the President Nursultan Nazabayev to help find the money for education?
My parents took a high risk when came to Milan with me when I was 7 years old. We came to Italy with 700 euro in the pocket, without language knowledge. It was really hard without any help and the director of the academy Maria Tereza Abriani with the professors convened the press conference? Where I gave a demonstration lesson of my performance. When the journalist saw my performance they wrote about me like a young talented girl who needs a help to pay for her education in Academy. Then a few countries offered a help, and I really appreciate that, but the most significant help was from Swiss bank. They have a special program for talented people, but the requirement in the case if I accept the help: I will perform in the future for Switzerland. But then my father told us that he would ask President Nursultan Nazarbaev for help again. We did not contact him face to face, but he knows about my problem. And once when I performed in the children’s camp and sang a song called “Memory”, he went up to the stage and gave me a hug and then told me that he would help me with the education. It means that I was allowed to pass the exams for President Bolashak’s program at the age of 10 years with all graduated school pupils. I have passed the entire test perfectly and got the scholarship like other 3000 students. Afterwards, I was always feeling the support from the president.
Can you please tell us about your life outside of Kazakhstan?
I have been living in Milan since I was 10 years old. I graduated from elementary school; here, media school. Also I have graduated from the conservatories and continued to study in the academy. I am fluent in Italian and also speak English. I grew up in Italy after I was 10 years old; I respect Italian grand culture and received the education there. I respect the professors from academy; I think that Italy is my second motherland which I also love.
Do you talk about Kazakhstan abroad?
I never forgot my motherland – the Republic of Kazakhstan. I prefer to spend all my holidays in Kazakhstan; I give a lot of charitable concerts. I love to see the people’s reaction to the opera music. I like to show all the beauty of the opera music to many people. I see how the viewer’s soul opens when he or she listens to magnificent compositions. I perform frequently at Government events of Kazakhstan Embassy. I am happy that my performance brings people a lot of happiness.
Which languages do you sing the songs usually? Do you have songs in Kazakh language?
Usually I sing Italian repertoire, because this is my profession now, but I am also able to sing songs in Kazakh, Russian, English, Kazakh, Dutch, Spanish and French.
How often do you fly to Kazakhstan, maybe for winter or summer holidays? When can we see you in Kazakhstan again?
I used to come to Kazakhstan during winter and summer holidays, but since I started my solo career I can’t come that often. But when I am invited to any important event in Kazakhstan, I always cancel my entire plans and rush over to Kazakhstan.
Can you tell us about the most memorable event in 2013?
I think that the most memorable event for me in 2013 was when I won at the semifinal of the completion “Belveder”, where I was included in 10 best sopranos of the world. I was the youngest at the competition, I am only 19 years old and for the opera singer this is young age. But my age did not prevent me from winning and receiving the invitations from different agencies and theaters. My schedule is filled up until 2015.
How do you see yourself in 10 years?
My dream has always been to become one of the best world’s opera singers and I have always wanted to be happily satisfied by my performances. I want this to happen in about 10 years.
You were awarded as the best young singer of Italy, when you won at the National competition of Italy. Can you tell us, how was it to achieve this win? The competitors were really strong for you? And did you feel the age difference with another participant?
Of course every single competition is very serious for me, I would even say that it’s doubled for me because I am always nervous about other singers who are my rivals, this is an addition to the fact that I am the youngest one and the voice is formed by the age of 25. This is why my competitors have a better formed breathing and voice, which gives them an opportunity of a virtuoso performance, but I think I won because my voice is a gift from God and its timbre along with the voice were given to me by the teachers of the conservatory which included work load, disciplinary, belief in myself and the desire to win.
You were a participant in different competitions and concerts, in different countries and with various publics. You performed well in Genoa, Parma, you have sung at the event of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, you performed brilliantly at the event dedicated Kazakhstan representative in OSCE. Can you tell us please how you prepare for the performance? And how you control the inner excitement?
Of course I am worried before every performance. But I am no longer afraid of that because I have read many monographs of famous people who were able to handle all the feelings and this though helps me a lot. But I think that being nervous has to be before going out on a scene, it helps to perform as best as I could.
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