Zakhozhaev’s performance of the extremely complex role of Tristan (in Richard Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde) was worthy of admiration, first and foremost for his upper notes which, regardless of their hard and beautiful sound, always remained wide. This voice always seemed dense and voluminous, even in the upper notes. He performed Tristan’s extreme mood swings in a very emotional interpretation which it would be no shame to compare with the very greatest performers (his German pronunciation, too, was very good).
Throughout the world, the tenors who have mastered this role could be counted on your fingers. Zakhozhaev calculated his powers very precisely, delighting us with his stable vocals, the noble timbre of his voice and his clear German pronunciation.
Leonid Zakhozhaev, with his beautifully pure and sonorous tenor voice, is also completely unfettered on stage and talented in terms of his acting.
The Moscow Music Herald
Honoured Artist of Russia.
Leonid Zakhozhaev was born in Krasnodar in the South of Russia.
His development to the position of a leading tenor at the Kirov Opera (Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg) went through a number of stages. Having graduated from St Petersburg State Academy of Theatre, Music and Cinema as a dramatic actor, he worked in theatre, created roles in the cinema and on television and had some success as a rock and pop singer in 80-s underground culture. In 1989 he realized his true vocation and entered the St Petersburg State Conservatoire.
While a student he sang leading roles at the Conservatoire Opera Theatre including Lensky (Eugene Onegin), Vaudemont (Iolanta), Faust, Ivan Lykov (The Tsar´s Bride), Kuragin (War and Peace). Immediately upon graduation he was invited to the Mariinsky (Kirov) Opera to sing Narraboth in the new production of Salomé by world-famous director Julie Taymor, conducted by Valery Gergiev. The premiere first took place in the legendary medieval theatre of the Ober Ammergau and was televised throughout Europe. Its first performance at the Mariinsky Theatre opened the White Nights Festival in 1995.
It was as a leading tenor of the Kirov Opera, guided by Valery Gergiev, that Leonid Zakhozhaev was first introduced to the stages of great opera theatres and concert halls throughout the world including the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Germany´s Baden-Baden Festival (where he had a success as Siegfried), Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro Real, Madrid, the Chatelet, Paris, Italy´s Ravenna Festival, the Savonlinna Opera Festival and Mikkeli Music Festival in Finland, the Rotterdam Gergiev Festival and Amsterdam´s Concertgebouw in Holland, the Kennedy Center, Washington, in Japan, Israel, Argentina, Chile, Luxemburg, Hong-Kong, Australia, Sweden and Brazil.
His favourite roles include:
Lohengrin (which he performed in Ravenna Festival), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Faust, Hermann (The Queen of Spades), Vaudemont (Iolanta) – which he sang in Munich, Macduff (Macbeth) – which he performed on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera, Sergei (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) – performed at the Salzburg Festival and Baltimore Opera, the title role of the Berlioz´ Benvenuto Cellini, which he has also recorded under Valery Gergiev with the Rotterdam Philharmonic for Erato, and of course, Siegfried.
"Leonid Zakhozhaev, who looked handsome and sang handsomely as the young Siegfried, with plenty of range and endurance for the punishing final duet with Brünnhilde" – wrote New York Times about his performance in Baden-Baden in January 2004.
His forthcoming plans include Lohengrin in Brazil, Siegfried in Canada and the new role of Tristan in the new production at the Mariinsky Theatre under Valery Gergiev (to be premiered in may 2004).
His repertoire at the Mariinsky Theatre includes:
Sobinin (Ivan Susanin)
Finn (Ruslan and Lyudmila)
Shuisky, Yurodiviy (Boris Godunov)
Prince Sinodal (The Demon)
Berendey (The Snow Maiden)
Indian Guest (Sadko)
Lensky (Eugene Onegin)
Prince Yury (The Enchantress)
Deacon (Christmas Eve)
Oedipus (Oedipus Rex)
Alexei (The Gambler)
Prince (Love for Three Oranges)
Agrippa, Mephistopheles (The Fiery Angel)
Antonio (Betrothal in a Monastery)
Sergei, Zinovy Ismailov (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk)
Benvenuto Cellini (Benvenuto Cellini)
Faust (Gounod´s Faust and Berlioz´ La Damnation de Faust)
Énée (Les Troyens)
Hoffmann (Les Contes d´Hoffmann)
Erik (Der Fliegende Holländer)
Froh (Das Rheingold)
Tristan (Tristan und Isolde)
Bacchus (Ariadne auf Naxos)
the tenor solo in Mahler´s Das Lied von der Erde