Vassily Savenko was born near Odessa, Ukraine. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Alexei Bolshakov, and later with Mikhail Kiselev. He won both the Mussorgsky and Lysenko Competitions and has sung principal roles for major opera houses in his native Ukraine and in Russia, including the Bolshoi Opera, Moscow, and the Kirov Opera, St Petersburg, where he sang Iago (Otello) under Gergiev.
In the early 90's he moved to Britain where his debut at London’s Wigmore Hall in 1994 launched the showcase vocal series ‘Russian Images’, followed by 'Rachmaninov and Medtner', 'Russian Horizons' and ‘Pushkin in Music’. UK Festival appearances have included the Cheltenham International Music, Hereford Autumn, Three Choirs, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Oxford Lieder. Elsewhere: the International Kiev Music Fest, Moscow International Autumn Festival and The Second International Medtner Festival, (Russia May 2007) with Tchaikovsky gold medalist Boris Berezovsky.
♫ Audio sample
World premieres: Yuri Kasparov’s mono-opera Nevermore at the International Moscow’s Autumn Festival, Vadim Kulyov’s Pushkin’s Spring at Wigmore Hall with pianist Boris Berezovsky and David Matthew’s Winter Passions with the Nash Ensemble at Cheltenham Festival. United Kingdom premiers include the song cycle Dreams by Alexander Blok (Wigmore Hall); Two Romances by Boris Lyatoshynsky (Bristol St George’s); Merry Time for voice and Trio by Edison Denisov and Three Pushkin settings by Alexander Mosolov with Michael Dussek (Wigmore Hall) and Sviridov’s Burns Songs with Alexander Blok at Wigmore Hall. The Scottish premiere of this cycle was given at Balquhidder Summer Music “Burns to set the heather afire... an exhilarating experience” was how one critic responded.
Savenko made his UK operatic debut in a Rachmaninov double-bill, interpreting the dual roles of Baron Miserly Knight and Lanciotto Malatesta Francesca da Rimini, to great acclaim.
In recent years he has performed with the conductors Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Alexander Lazarev, Alexander Annisimov, Nikolai Alexeev, Alberto Hold-Garrido, Alexander Polianichko and David Lloyd-Jones in principal roles for WNO, Opera Holland Park, Grange Park Opera, Opera Ireland, Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos Lisbon, Teatro Lirico di Cagliary, the State Theatre Klagenfurt, Austria and concert performances with RSNO, Chelsea Opera and with Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra.
His recital programmes, on the concert platform and on CD, reflect his eclectic tastes and have included Romances by Arensky, Taneyev, Medtner, Lyatoshinsky, Gliere, Mosolov, Denisov, Sviridov, Khrennikov, and Levitin, as well as works from the standard repertoire. His collaboration with pianist Boris Berezovsky has focused on the wonderful songs of Nikolai Medtner: they have given recitals in the UK, Belgium, Russia and recently in Japan (March 2008).