Natalia Ushakova began to study singing at the Rimsky-Korsakov-Conservatory in St. Petersburg. In 1996 she won a scholarship to the Graz Opera Studio and sang all the major roles in Mozart’s operas. She continued her studies in the master class at the University of Munich in 1998, and won another scholarship to the Accademia di perfezionamento of the Teatro alla Scala (Milan), where she studied with the famous sopranos Leyla Gencer, Mieta Sieghele and Virginia Zeani.
In 2000 Natalia Ushakova won first prize in two famous Italian singing competitions, namely the Concorso Internazionale Riccardo Zandonai at Rovereto and the Concorso delle voci verdiane at Busseto, the birthplace of Verdi. There she made her debut as Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata and portrayed Giuseppina Strepponi (Verdi’s second wife) as well as Violetta Valéry in the BBC television film The private life of Giuseppe Verdi.
In 1999 Natalia Ushakova made her debut as Maria in Tschaikovsky’s Mazeppa (Conductor: Mstislav Rostropovich) at La Scala, Milan. After this successful debut she took the advice of the artistic director and studied the Italian operas at the Accademia di perfezionamento della Scala.
Meanwhile she made her debut as Mimi in Franco Zeffirelli’s production of La Bohème at La Scala. Natalia Ushakova took part in various tours with the Mariinsky Theater of St. Petersburg (Conductor: Valery Gergiev), which brought her to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, and the Festival Hall in Baden-Baden.
She made her debut at the State Opera in Hannover as Maria in Smetana’s The Bartered Bride and sang Mimi in La Bohème as well as Cio Cio San in Madama Butterfly and triumphed as Violetta Valéry in the internationally acclaimed new production of La Traviata by Calixto Bieto in 2004. In the same season Natalia Ushakova appeared for the first time as Lisa in The Queen of Spades at the State Opera Hamburg.
Natalia Ushakova made her USA debut at the Washington Opera House as Liu in Puccini’s Turandot in 2001, followed in 2002 by Lisa in The Queen of Spades with Placido Domingo as Hermann, and appeared as Donna Anna in a new production of Don Giovanni in 2003.
In 2004, Ms. Ushakova made her debut in the Teatro Real in Madrid to great public acclaim and received spectacular reviews singing Lisa in The Queen of Spades alongside Placido Domingo and Elena Obraszova as the Countess, with Jesus Lopez Cobus conducting.
In 2005 she continued this success with her debut as Tatiana in a new production of Eugene Onegin under the director Peter Konvitchny, and made an acclaimed debut in a new production of Jenufa, taking the title role.
In 2006 Natalia Ushakova appeared in Abbado’s new production of Don Giovanni in Verona as Donna Anna, and made her debut in a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall in New York to standing ovations. In 2006-2007 she made her debut as Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello at the State Opera in Stuttgart and her widely-acclaimed debut as Violetta Valéry in La Traviata at the State Opera in Vienna.