Aida Garifullina is a Russian soprano of Tatar origin. Her love for singing became evident at an early age. With time, Aida started to flourish as a singer. After finishing training in music, she started singing at various events such as the ‘XXVI Summer Universiadein Shenzhen’ (2011) and the ‘XXX Summer Olympics’ in London (2012). She made her stage debut as ‘Despina’ in a production of Mozart’s ‘Così fan tutte’ in 2009. Her life changed dramatically after she won the first prize at ‘Operalia,’ an opera competition, in 2013. Following this, she signed a contract with ‘Decca Records’ and joined the ‘Vienna State Opera.’ She has performed alongside artists such as Dmitry Hvorostovsky and José Carreras. She bagged the role of ‘Lily Pons,’ the famous French–American soprano star, in the film ‘Florence Foster Jenkins.’ The film starred Meryl Streep in the lead role. Aida performed ‘The Bell Song’ from Delibes’s opera Lakmé in the film. In 2017, she released her self-titled album that showcased her taste in music and the Tatar culture. She performed at the ‘2018 FIFA World Cup’ held in Russia.
Childhood & Early Life
Aida Emilevna Garifullina was born on September 30, 1987, to Emil and Layla Ildarovna Garifullina, in Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan.
She was born into a Tatar family. Her father was a landscape architect, and her mother was a choir conductor. Her mother was the one who noticed Aida’s love for singing.
Her mother is currently the director of the ‘Centre of Contemporary Music.’ She was also Aida’s first music teacher, as she groomed Aida into an opera singer.
Her influence made Aida decide to pursue music as her career. Aida gave her first performance at a children’s competition in Moscow at the age of 5.
Aida was only 11 years old when she was enrolled at the ‘Kazan State Conservatoire’ for training in vocals. She was 13 years old when she made an appearance at the ‘Tchaikovsky Great Hall’ in Moscow during the ‘Festival of Gifted Children of Tatarstan.’
She once stated in an interview that she did not have much time to play with dolls or with her friends, since she had to juggle between school, ballet classes, singing lessons, and drawing classes.
However, after a while, she decided to choose singing and quit the rest of the classes. In 2005, Aida was awarded a scholarship to study abroad by the mayor of Kazan.
She moved to Nuremberg, Germany, to study music. She was only 18 years old at the time. She later stated that it was a bit daunting for her to move out of home at such a young age, since she was a homely teen.
In 2007, after spending 2 years in Germany, she attended the ‘Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts,’ where she studied under Claudia Visca, an American soprano.
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Aida began her career in 2009, debuting on stage in a production of Mozart’s ‘Così fan tutte’ by the ‘Conservatoire’ opera students. She played ‘Despina,’ the maid, in the production.
Following her graduation in 2011, she performed a duet with Alessandro Safina in Kazan. She also sang at the closing ceremony of the ‘XXVI Summer Universiadein Shenzhen.’
A year later, she performed at the ‘XXX Summer Olympics’ in London. During her time in London, she met Valery Gergiev, general and artistic director of the ‘Mariinsky Theatre’ in St. Petersburg.
In 2013, Valery offered her the role of ‘Susanna’ in the “opera buffa” of Mozart’s ‘Marriage of Figaro,’ alongside Ildar Abdrazakov. This was her stage debut.
She also played ‘Gilda’ in ‘Rigoletto’ and ‘Adina’ in ‘L'elisir d'amore.’ She had a major breakthrough in 2013, when she won the first prize in Plácido Domingo’s globally famous competition, ‘Operalia.’
She later stated that hers was the last form and was filled by her mother. She was awarded the highest marks for her performance of ‘Encomia in pieta vesta’ from ‘Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi’ on the first day.
On the second day, she sang Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘The Snow Maiden.’ which is one of her favorites. Although she fell down the stairs of her hotel due to anxiety, she somehow reached the venue on the final day and was eventually announced the winner.
She was immediately contacted by ‘Decca Records,’ who offered her a contract. She also received an invitation from the ‘Vienna State Opera,’ asking her to join them.
Between 2013 and 2014, she performed at a number of shows alongside José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Dmitry Hvorostovsky. In 2014, she performed at the ‘Rosenblatt Recitals’ held at the ‘Wigmore Hall’ in London
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She was signed by ‘Decca Records’ in 2015. In Vienna, Aida played a number of significant roles, such as those of ‘Zerlina,’ ‘Adina,’ ‘Clorinda,’ and ‘Musetta.’ Aida also starred as ‘Natasha’ in ‘Mariinsky’s production of Prokofiev’s ‘War and Peace.’
Her performance received great reviews from the ‘Financial Times.’ She also played the ‘Queen of Shemakha’ in Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘The Golden Cockerel.’
She portrayed ‘Lily Pons,’ the French–American soprano star, in the 2016 film ‘Florence Foster Jenkins.’ The film was directed by Stephen Frears and starred Meryl Streep.
She sang ‘The Bell Song’ from Delibes’s opera ‘Lakmé’ in the film. The song was transposed downward to suit her voice.
In 2017, she released her self-titled album under ‘Decca Records.’ The album contained15 songs directed by Cornelius Meister.
The album highlighted her Tatar origin and her taste in music. In 2018, she performed at the opening ceremony of the 2018 ‘FIFA World Cup,’ along with Robbie Williams, at the ‘Luzhniki Stadium’ in Moscow.
They sang a duet version of the song ‘Angels.’ She also performed at the opening gala concert of the 2018 ‘FIFA World Cup’ that took place a day before the opening ceremony.
She sang alongside other artists such as Anna Netrebko, Juan Diego Florez, Placido Domingo, and the ‘Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra’ conducted by Valery Gergiev.
Awards & Achievements
She was 14 when she won the ‘Voice of the Year’ honor in the ‘Academic Vocals’ nomination in 2001. In 2010, she became the ‘Laureate of the Muslim Magomaev’s First International Competition of Vocalists.’
She won the first prize in Placido Domingo’s globally renowned opera competition, ‘Operalia,’ in 2013. She was the ‘Honored Artist of the Republic of Tatarstan,’ too, that year.
The same year, she received a ‘Commendation Certificate’ from the president of the Republic of Tatarstan. In 2017, she won the ‘ECHO Klassik Award’ for the best ‘Solo Recording.’
Personal Life & Legacy
Aida began dating Russian tennis player Marat Safin in 2016, but the couple broke up a year later.
She is currently single but has a daughter named Olivia. Aida has kept the identity of her daughter’s father a secret.
She considers legendary singer Anna Moffo to be her musical inspiration.