Russian soprano Elena Kononenko was born in Minsk. Also a trained pianist, she studied voice at the Gnessin Academy of Music in Moscow, and attended master classes directed by Francisco Araiza, Bruno Pola, Virginia Zeani,Grace Bumbry and Adriana Stamenova Porta .
Between 2001 and 2003, she sang two principal roles at the Bolschoi Theatre in Moscow, in operas by Rimsky-Korsakov: Marfa in The Tsar's Bride and the Queen of Schemachan in The Golden Cockerel. In 2000, Elena Kononenko performed with the celebrated tenor José Carreras in Moscow and St. Petersburg, under the baton of David Gimenez. She gave further successful performances at the Johann Strauss Festival in St. Petersburg under the auspices of the Mariinsky Theatre, with Roberto Alagna and Lubov Kazarnovskaya in Moscow (2003), and with Simon Estes in the House of Music in Moscow (2007). Until 2007, Kononenko was lyric coloratura soloist in the Moscow Chamber Opera under the direction of Boris Pokrowsky. Guest performances have taken her to major opera houses and concert halls worldwide, including Teatro Colón/Buenos Aires, Cairo Opera House, Oji Hall/Tokyo, Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, Milan Summer Festival, Teatro Regio/Turin, Tel Aviv, Vienna, Amsterdam, Paris, Strasbourg, Rome and Taipei. Also well-versed in the concert repertoire, Elena Kononenko has appeared in the St. Petersburg Philharmonia, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall and the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yuri Simonow.
Elena Kononenko's repertoire includes not only the leading soprano roles in Italian opera, but also works by Denisov, Schnittke and Shostakovich. In October 2006 she sang the Seven Romances on Poems by Alexander Blok in the Gasteig concert hall/Munich, in the first performance by the Zeitsprung ensemble, to mark Shostakovich's 100th birthday. Her rendering of the role of Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata in winter 2007 led to a successful début in the Small Festival Hall [now Haus für Mozart] in Salzburg. During the 2008/09 season she sang the title role in Puccini's Tosca, which saw the start of her development as a dramatic soprano, and brought her guest performances as Tosca in many theatres and at opera festivals in Norway, Denmark, Germany, England and Austria.
Elena Kononenko has lived in Salzburg since 2008, and continues to celebrate international successes as an opera - and recital soloist. Her repertoire has expanded to include great Verdi heroines such as Abigaille and Lady Macbeth, and Wagner roles such as Elisabeth and Isolde. Russian opera is represented by roles including Tchaikovsky's Lisa and Tatyana as well as the title role in Alexander Dargomyzhsky's opera Rusalka.