Soprano Aida Garifullina was born in 1987 into a Tatar family in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan in the Russian Federation, some 500 miles east of Moscow. Aida’s mother, a choral conductor, noticed her daughter’s love of singing very early, and her first public performance took place when she was 5 in a televised children’s competition in Moscow.
At the age of 11 she was accepted for singing lessons at the Kazan State Conservatoire, and at 13 she appeared at the Tchaikovsky Great Hall in Moscow – the city’s most prestigious venue – during the Festival of Gifted Children of Tatarstan.
The childhood of dedicated young musicians can look very intense to outsiders. “It is true that I didn’t have much time to play with dolls or run around with my friends. I would have school in the morning, then solfeggio class, then I went to a singing teacher – and then to ballet school and finally to a drawing class. At some point they realised you can’t overload a child and decided I should stick with singing – so my fate was decided”.