Barno Ismatullaeva and Long Long are Mimi and Rodolfo at Staatsoper Hannover
The famous medieval cobbler Hans Sachs sings in Richard Wagner’s master piece “The Mastersingers of Nuremberg” of 1868: “A child has been born here; now let a name be chosen for him!” addressing the tenor Stolzing’s new song, the “Preislied”, with which he will win the competition to get Eva as his wife. And in the second act of that opera Sachs sings, after having heard Stolzing’s first version of that song, “The bird that sang today had a finely-formed break…” – with other words, a new and exciting discovery of a young voice! That is what you could hear and see on the stage of the Hanover State Opera some days ago when not only the Chinese tenor Long Long, but also the Uzbek soprano Barno Ismatullaeva sang Rodolfo and Mimi in Puccini’s “La bohème” with a flabbergasting success and reception by the audience after their performances.
Here, apparently, two young singers have won a competition, a competition not for a spouse, but a competition much more important in the world of opera: the competition to gain the sympathy and even enthusiasm of the audience! This is what counts! And in addition to excellent vocal and artistic qualities, both have another common ground: they are nearly of exactly same age, 28, with Barno four days more! This cannot be accidental… And they are both in the ensemble of the Hanover State Opera in Germany where you can still see them in “La bohème" on 26 December and on 11 and 19 January 2020.
More important common ground is yet their remarkable success so far in international singing competitions. Following her participation in the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in 2017, Barno, who studied at the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan and was immediately hired by the Nemirovich-Danchenko-Theatre in Moscow, won numerous singing competitions in Uzbekistan, as well as the “Competizione dell’Opera" in Tashkent in 2014. In her only second season in Europe, Barno has already made acclaimed success with Rachel in “La Juive”, Amelia in “Simon Boccanegra” Cio-Cio-San in “Madama Butterfly”, and, very recently, with her debut of Suor Angelica in Innsbruck.
Long Long won most renown prizes in international singing competitions such as in Harbin, China, and recently the competition “Neue Stimmen” in Guetersloh, Germany. He comes from a very musical family of four generations with singing experience, but, interestingly, in Chinese Opera! Only recently, he gave his debut as Tamino in “The Magic Flute” in Hannover, having sung till then mostly Italian repertory of G. Verdi and G. Puccini. “Mozart is pure technique” he states in an interview recently and is happy for his darkly covered timbre which provides him with the capacity to express characters with more facets. His Tamino was excellent, demonstrating impressive top notes as well as a good lower register. Next year, Long Long will be the Duca di Mantua in “Rigoletto” at the Bregenz Festival, among other interesting assignments.
Both singers are on the door step to an international career of promising and likely great dimensions. They get already offers from most renown orchestras and opera companies but keep an eye on developing their singing careers with caution and care.