Soprano Elina Nechayeva is a rising star in the world of opera, performing on concert and theater stages around the globe. What are the limits of her musical talent — does the soprano from the stars have any limitations at all? Elina is a free spirit whose voice is unconstrained by gravity’s force and whose charisma enchants both connoisseurs of classical singing and pop music fans.
Elina was born in Tallinn. Her birthplace is probably the only thing in Elina’s biography that connects her with ordinary people, even in a singing nation such as Estonia. At the age of four, she was already singing in a children’s choir, and at the age of fourteen, she started singing lessons. In children’s choirs, she often performed as a soloist, as her unique, clear, and high voice stood out from the rest of the ensemble.
She earned a BA in music from Tallinn University in 2014 and an MA from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in 2016. In addition to her university studies, Elina managed to attend classes at the Verdi Opera Conservatory in Milan. Then it was time to step onto the big stage with Elina making her debut in the role of Giannetta in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore in 2015 at the Estonian National Opera.
From 2015-2017, she was a guest performer with the Estonian Drama Theater, amazing listeners and music critics alike. Putting herself to the test at the 2017 Neue Stimmen International Music Competition in Germany ended with her being selected from 1,500 participants to sing in the final round.
In 2018, Elina was invited to perform in the Estonian National Opera’s gala concert, where she sang the Queen of the Night aria from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute and the Bell Song from Delibes’ opera Lakmé. This led to roles in the National Opera, such as Juliette in Lehar’s operetta The Count of Luxembourg and soprano roles in Ravel’s opera The Child and the Spells.
In her latest stage role, Elina shines as the flower girl Eliza Doolittle in one of the world’s most famous musicals, My Fair Lady. Based on Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion and Gabriel Pascal’s movie of the same name, the musical will be staged at the Russian Theater by acclaimed Russian choreographer and producer Alla Sigalova. Elina’s stage partner in the enjoyable and captivating musical, by lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe, is Alexander Ivashkevich, the Russian Theater’s beloved principal actor.
As a concert soloist, Elina has captivated the wider classical music audience as well as the elitist connoisseurs of vocal performances. She charms the former with her sincerity and radiance and the latter by hitting the high notes of a coloratura soprano with playful ease while wandering along the borders of Neverland with her enchanting voice, but never getting lost.
Elina regularly performs in Estonia and abroad with the best orchestras and conductors, including Paavo, Kristjan, and Neeme Järvi. Conducted by Neeme Järvi, she sang as a soloist at the New Year’s Concert of the Shanghai Bolshoi Theater, where she received excellent feedback from critics:
“The performance by young soprano Elina was highly appreciated by conductor Neeme Järvi, who referred to her as a rising star and future Renee Fleming. With her exceptional singing voice and musical interpretation, as well as her kind and cheerful character, she became an audience favorite. Nearly five million people watched the live broadcast of the gala concert online.”
Elina’s repertoire includes works by Mozart, Rossini, Mendelssohn, Strauss, Faure, Tchaikovsky, and others. She also collaborates with famous Estonian and Russian composers, such as Peeter Vähi and Aleksei Rõbnikov, who appreciate her extraordinary voice and musicality.
She has shared the stage with the world-famous tenor Placido Domingo. Her voice has been compared to Estonia’s beloved opera prima donna Margarita Voites; and her richness of expression and even her appearance to Maria Callas, the greatest soprano of the 20th century.
However, Elina winning the 2018 Estonian Song Contest led to astonishment, and even confusion, among many fans of classical as well as pop music. Was a future opera diva standing before us in triumph or was it Diva Plavalaguna the iconic pop culture figure?
Elina sees no contradiction in participating in crossover projects. On the one hand, it‘s an opportunity to introduce classical music and songs to a broader audience. On the other hand, experimenting with “lighter” genres is simply characteristic of her creative and curious nature. Collaboration with various producers, musicians, and DJs provides an opportunity to experiment with multiple vocal techniques — and create new roles from beginning to end where love, passion, and other genuine feelings on the emotional spectrum can be expressed.
As the winner of the 2018 Estonian Song Contest, she represented Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon and placed eighth. However, many listeners called Elina the “winner of hearts” because her voice and genuine emotion deeply touched the most delicate heartstrings of the human soul:
“Lovely Elina Nechayeva once again gave a flawless performance with her pop hybrid ‘La Forza.’ She sings every note as if it hardly requires the slightest effort.”