When Albina Shagimuratova was 12 years old, she heard a recording of Maria Callas singing the role of Violetta in La Traviata. “I was crying. I was really deeply moved by her singing,” she tells us. “That’s how I started to love opera, but I never thought I had a voice.” That was then; fast-forward to today, and the 32-year-old Russian soprano is coming to Houston to make her debut in the role of Violetta with the Houston Grand Opera’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata. People love this opera because of the music and its story, says Shagimuratova. “This is a story all about sacrifice. It’s about love too…Yes, she’s sick and she’s dying. It’s of much more interest she’s a very strong woman.”
David Lomeli, a tenor from Mexico who was singing the part of Alfredo in La Traviata, but had to withdraw because of illness, has worked with Shagimuratova before and describes her singing ability as incredibly powerful. “Albina, we are staging her aria, which is one of the most difficult parts not only in the opera but in the classical repertoire in the world, and most sopranos don’t even dream to finish it in the famous high note. But Albina not only did it once in the staging, she sang it 12 times in rehearsal full voice, and every single one hitting the final high note. It just is not real.” 7:30 p.m. January 27. The opera runs through February 12. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-228-6737 or visit www.houstongrandopera.org. $25 to $342.
Fri., Jan. 27; Sun., Jan. 29; Wed., Feb. 1; Sat., Feb. 4; Fri., Feb. 10; Sun., Feb. 12, 2012