Pianist Irina Soboleva’s credo that “a concert master is not just an accompanist but a creative partner with the same rights as the soloist” developed during her studies at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire (from which she graduated with distinction) when associating with the wonderful musicians and teachers Dmitry Svetozarov and Yevgeny Shenderovich.
In 1980, three years after graduating from the conservatoire, Irina Soboleva was invited to join the Mariinsky Theatre as an opera concert mistress. In 1986 she received a diploma at the International Tchaikovsky Competition. Over the years at the theatre Irina Soboleva’s repertoire has become truly vast. Productions she has worked on include The Queen of Spades, Eugene Onegin, Sadko, Ruslan and Lyudmila, Prince Igor, Mazepa, The Enchantress, The Tsar’s Bride, Boris Godunov, War and Peace, The Love for Three Oranges, Semyon Kotko, Katerina Ismailova, The Nose, Carmen, Macbeth, Un ballo in maschera, Król Roger, The Makropulos Affair, The Turn of the Screw, Aida (directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (directed by Claudia Solti), A Christmas Tale (directed by Andrei Stepaniuk) to name but a few. Most recently she collaborated on the opera The Lefthander, staged in close co-operation with composer Rodion Shchedrin.
The pianist frequently performs in concert, appearing with Mariinsky Theatre soloists at the Great and Small Halls of the St Petersburg Philharmonic and touring to many countries throughout the world.
On several occasions Irina Soboleva has performed with the Mariinsky Opera in Germany, Italy, Portugal, France, Japan, Israel and the USA among other nations; she has been involved in the Stars of the White Nights festival in St Petersburg, the Moscow Easter Festival, the Mikkeli Festival and the Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam.
Irina Soboleva has taken part in audio recordings of numerous chamber music programmes as well as the operas Boris Godunov, Mazepa, Semyon Kotko, Prince Igor, War and Peace, The Love for Three Oranges and The Nose.
Since 2000 as a guest pianist and concert mistress Irina Soboleva has regularly worked at the Metropolitan Opera (New York), where she has helped rehearse the operas War and Peace, Boris Godunov, Khovanshchina, The Nose and Eugene Onegin and Iolanta. In August 2015 she took part in a production of Shostakovich’s opera The Nose at the Finnish National Opera. Moreover, Irina Soboleva was involved in a production of The Maid of Pskov by the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, staged at the Pskov Kremlin. On numerous occasions she has been invited to Welsh National Opera in Great Britain for productions of Russian operas as well as the Théâtre du Châtelet and Opéra Bastille in Paris and the Teatro Lirico in Cagliari.
The pianist is also engaged in teaching; since 2012 she has taught at the St Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire (faculty of accompanist art). She is a jury member at various international competitions and runs master-classes in Russia and abroad.