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Opera Prelude: The Golden Age of Russian Classical Music from Glinka to Rachmaninov


From Glinka to Rachmaninov: Exploring the evolution of Russian Classical style The 19th century provided a great outpouring of classical music. Inspired by Russian folk stories and a need for a nationalist musical identity, a new language of music was born.    


Callie Gaston (soprano)

Alex Otterburn (baritone)

Maria Levandovskaya (piano) 


Glinka                          I recall the wonderful moment   

Glinka                          The Lark Farewell to St Petersburg  

Glinka - Balakirev       The Lark (Piano transcription)   

Dargomyzhsky            A night zephyr
Mussorgksy                 Nursery Songs   
                                    4. With the Doll                                  

                                    5. At Bedtime                                

                                    6. The Cat Sailor                                  

                                    7. Hobby Horse   


Rimsky-Korsakov         Snow maiden Snow maiden`s Aria Act 1   
Rimsky-Korsakov         Snow maiden Snow maiden`s Aria Act 4  
Tchaikovsky                  Eugene Onegin Arioso Onegin   
Tchaikovsky                 Oh no, I beg you, do not leave
Tchaikovsky                 Queen of Spades Yeletsky’s Aria  
Rachmaninov               Lilacs   
Rachmaninov              Vocalise  
Rachmaninov              In the silence of the secret night


 British Soprano Callie Gaston has just completed her Masters degree at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, having received a First Class Honours degree in Music and Drama at Royal Holloway. She is the proud recipient of the 2015 Opera Prelude Song Prize and winner of the Una Clarke Young Artist Award.  Callie is a member of the Core Company for Opera Erratica, starring in Triptych, nominated Critics Choice in the Times. Callie is a principal artist with Opera Holloway, most recently performing Giulia in Rossini’s La Scala di Seta.  Other recent opera credits include Giulietta (I Capuleti e i Montecchi),  Rita (Rita), Nora (Riders to the Sea), Chiteria (Don Chisciotte) Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Lucy (The Telephone) and Gretel (Hansel and Gretel).  Scenes include Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Belinda (Dido and Aeneus),  Virtu (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Ilia (Idomeneo). 

In recital Callie has had recent performances at 22 Mansfield Street, Pushkin House and Leighton House. Callie also gives performance lectures for Opera Prelude at Cadogan Hall and Henley on Thames. Operatic engagements in 2016 included Norina, Don Pasquale and Euridice, Orphée et Euridice.    

 A 2014 winner of the International Opera Awards bursary, Alex Otterburn read Economics at The University of Manchester and went on to complete his masters at the Royal Academy of Music (Distinction, Dip RAM). Since then things have moved quickly and 2015 saw Alex make his international debuts at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw singing Curio Giulio Cesare and the National Concert Hall, Dublin singing Schaunard La bohème with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. Other debuts included the title roles of Don Giovanni in London and Yevgeniy Onegin for Dartington International Festival under Russian specialist Sian Edwards. 2016 will see Alex sing Malatesta Don Pasquale with Opera Holloway and Germont La Traviata with Clonter Opera. His credits include work with Grange Park Opera, Opera Ireland, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and lecture recitals with Opera Prelude at the Cadogan Hall, London. Alex is currently studying on the Royal Academy Opera course with a full scholarship.   

Maria Levandovskaya is Russian-born pianist and accompanist. Maria studied at Music college and conservatoire in Petrozavodsk (Russia) and in European University in St-Petersburg. After moving to London in 2012 Maria received a scholarship to study at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She studied with Martin Roscoe and Caroline Palmer. Maria was working at Guildhall School of Music and Drama as an accompanist with singers and string players. She had coaching with Carole Presland, Paul Roberts, Norico Ogawa, Ralph Gottoni, Vivien Weilerstein, Michael Dussek.  In 2012 she founded clarinet/viola/piano trio Zeitgeist ensemble. The Tunnell Trust for Young Musicians awarded the Trio a full scholarship to participate in the Island of Coll’s prestigious course and concerts in Scotland in June 2014. The ensemble has also been invited to participate in Wigmore Hall’s Chamber Tots initiative for the 2014/2015 season.
Since 2014 Maria is a Resident pianist for the Opera Prelude, where she played for the Master classes with Della Jones, Dame Felicity Lott, Rosalind Plowright.
Maria was coaching singers for the performance of Yevgeniy Onegin in Dartington International Festival, 2015. 
As well as performing alongside singers and instrumentalists, Maria is busy as a solo performer. She has regular solo recitals in the UK and in Russia. 


Since 2010, Opera Prelude has been bringing opera into the community, engaging, educating and involving audiences. Opera Prelude works closely with some of the finest young singers at the start of their careers; providing experience and fairly paid performance opportunities. A recognised provider of creative and innovative opera related events of the highest musical and academic standards, we have hosted over 150 lecture recitals, concerts, operas, workshops for inner city children and the elderly as well as Masterclasses led by celebrity singers in prestigious locations across London and Oxfordshire.  Every ticket sold, subscription or donation made directly supports Opera Prelude's chosen singers.