Vassily Savenko Biography



Vassily Savenko was born near Odessa, Ukraine. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Alexei Bolshakov, and later with Mikhail Kiselev. He won both the Mussorgsky and Lysenko Competitions and has sung principal roles for major opera houses in his native Ukraine and in Russia, including the Bolshoi Opera, Moscow, and the Kirov Opera, St Petersburg, where he sang Iago (Otello) under Gergiev.



Wigmore Hall recital, 1995

In the early 90's he moved to Britain where his debut at London’s Wigmore Hall launched the showcase vocal series Russian Images – a kaleidoscope of Russian Art Songs rarely heard in the West. Further series followed (all premiered at Wigmore Hall) Rachmaninov and Medtner, Russian Horizons and Pushkin in Music: works from these  programmes were subsequently released on  three CDs  by Hyperion Records.   A collaboration with pianist Boris Berezovsky has focused on the wonderful songs of Nikolai Medtner: they have given recitals in the UK, Belgium, Russia and toured in Japan. A recording on the French label Mirare features some of this repertoire.  

“[His] fine voice revealed both the depth of its tone and the ringing power of its upper register. The pianist here was Tchaikovsky gold-medalist Boris Berezovsky". Opera Now



UK Festival appearances include  Cheltenham International Music, Hereford Autumn, Three Choirs, Rimsky- Korsakov, Oxford Lieder and Proms at St Judes. Elsewhere: the Kiev Music Fest, Moscow International Autumn, The Second International Medtner Festival (Russia), and Kiev Easter Music Festival.



World premieres: Yuri Kasparov’s mono-opera Nevermore (Moscow Autumn Festival); Vadim Kulyov’s Pushkin’s Spring with pianist Boris Berezovsky (Wigmore Hall); David Matthew’s Winter Passions with Nash Ensemble (Cheltenham Festival). United Kingdom premiers: Alexander Blok’s song cycle Dreams (Wigmore Hall); Boris Lyatoshynsky’s Two Romances (Bristol St George’s);  Edison Denisov’s  Merry Time for voice and Trio  and Alexander Mosolov’s Three Pushkin Settings with Michael Dussek (Wigmore Hall) and Sviridov’s Burns Songs with Alexander Blok (Wigmore Hall). The Scottish premiere of this cycle was given at Balquhidder Summer Music.


Burns to set the heather afire... an exhilarating experience

The Herald.




Concert work with orchestras include operatic scenes/arias, and song cycles. Recent calendar highlights include Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death in Sweden, and Shostakovich’s 10 Songs of the Fool (from King Lear) with the BBC’s Symphony Orchestra at the Maida Vale Studios.


In opera, Savenko made his UK debut in a Rachmaninov double-bill, interpreting the dual roles of Baron - Miserly Knight and Lanciotto Malatesta - Francesca da Rimini, to great acclaim.


“Vassily Savenko was an excellent choice, tortured and vengeful as Lanciotto Malatesta in Francesca, mean and mad-eyed as the Baron in The Miserly Knight but keeping the histrionics in check" Geoffrey Norris, The Daily Telegraph.

Badassare, with Rosalind Plowright ( Rosa Mamai ), L’Arlesiana, OHP, 02/07/03 With Boris Berezovsky,Osaka Symphony Hall 20/03/08 Iolanta

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Click Play button (Medtner, Winter Evening)


He has performed with the conductors Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Alexander Lazarev, Alexander Annisimov, Nikolai Alexeev, Alberto Hold-Garrido, Alexander Polianichko and David Lloyd-Jones in principal roles for WNO, Opera Holland Park, Grange Park Opera, Opera Ireland, Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos Lisbon, Teatro Lirico di Cagliary, the State Theatre Klagenfurt, Austria and concert performances with RSNO, Chelsea Opera and with Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra. In a recent engagement for ROH Covent Garden, he covered the role of Sobakin in a new production of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride under Mark Elder.  


Recent highlights in include: Boris Godunov (title role) for the State Academic Opera & Ballet Theatre, Ukraine  and in November 2012 he joined the extensive European tour of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta under Emmanuel Villaume, where he sang Ibn-Hakia with the Anna Netrebko in the title role.