SopranoKristine Opolais
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Biography

Kristine Opolais is one of the most sought after sopranos on the international scene today, appearing at the Metropolitan Opera New York, Wiener Staatsoper, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper, Teatro alla Scala and Royal Opera House Covent Garden. She is working with such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Antonio Pappano, Daniel Harding, Andris Nelsons, Marco Armiliato, Fabio Luisi, Kirill Petrenko, Semyon Bychkov, and Alain Altinoglu.

In the 2016/17 season Opolais continues her notable collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera, in three productions, returning for “Manon Lescaut” (Eyre), opposite Marcelo Álvarez, “La bohème” (Zeffirelli) and in Spring 2017 Opolais takes to the stage in an anticipated new production of “Rusalka” (Zimmerman). All titles will be broadcast in HD. Opolais maintains this strong relationship with the Met, since her debut as Magda in “La Rondine” in 2013. Famously, in 2014 Opolais made history at the Met, making two role debuts within 18 hours. She gave a renowned performance in “Madama Butterfly”, only to step in for a matinee of “La bohème” the next day, which was additionally cinema broadcast worldwide. Opolais wowed audiences around the globe, the performance receiving wide critical acclaim.


 

Opolais continues her association with the Bayerische Staatsoper. This strong relationship began in 2010 when Opolais made her debut, to wide acclaim, as Rusalka. Since this time Opolais has appeared in numerous titles including “Madama Butterfly”, Tatjana in “Onegin” and Margherita in “Mefistofele” and in the coming season Opolais reprises her debut role as Rusalka, in the house once more.  Furthermore, Opolais enjoys a collaboration with Royal Opera House, where she has particularly cemented her title as “the leading Puccini Soprano of today” (The Telegraph), appearing as Cio-Cio San, Floria Tosca and Manon Lescaut. Opolais has also appeared at Opernhaus Zürich as Jenůfa and returns to the Wiener Staatsoper this season in one of her signature roles, “Madama Butterfly”. Opolais also makes her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic, in “Tosca”, under Sir Simon Rattle’s baton at Baden-Baden and also at the Philharmonie, Berlin.

In recent seasons, Opolais' concert performances have included appearances at Salzburg Festival, BBC Proms, and Tanglewood Festival, where Opolais is a regular guest – this season headlining in a concert performance of Aida, a role Opolais is gradually returning to. Opolais has appeared with the Concertgebouworkest, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln and Filarmonica della Scala. Highlights in 2016/17 include Opolais’ debut performances with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, in a signature Czech programme. Opolais also makes her return to the Musikverein, after her debut last season, and to the Konzerthaus Dortmund. Opolais is also hotly in demand for gala concert performances, and takes on a Baltic tour, her return for the first time in four years, with dates in Latvia and Lithuania.

DVD recordings include Royal Opera House’s “Manon Lescaut”, in which Opolais sings the title role opposite Jonas Kaufmann, Prokofiev's "The Gambler" at the Deutsche Staatsoper under the baton of Barenboim and "Rusalka" from the Bayerische Staatsoper. CD recordings include those with WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln of "Suor Angelica”, released with Orfeo and nominated for a BBC Music Magazine Award, “Simon Boccanegra” on the Decca label and collaborating with Jonas Kaufmann on his Grammy recognised Puccini disc with Sony.

SEASON 2016/2017

Quotes

“And the Met has assembled a matchless cast, led by the lovely soprano Kristine Opolais, who gives a vocally lustrous and achingly vulnerable performance as Rusalka […]. This powerful singing actress adds unusual intensity to her plaintive “Song to the Moon,” Rusalka’s famed lament, suggesting the character’s defiant side more than most sopranos.”

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, 3 February 2017 (‘Rusalka’ at The Metropolitan Opera/Conductor: Sir Mark Elder)

“Opolais, sparklingly sequin-gowned, blended high passion and torment as the slave-girl heroine [Aida], her high notes ringing clear and true.”

Andrew L. Pincus, The Berkshire Eagle, 22 August 2016 (BSO/Nelsons)

“Kristine Opolais as Aida may well have opened a new chapter in her own already remarkable career, and possibly also in the opera’s production history. She can make her voice girlish, […] before modulating into the anguish Verdi wrote for the character […]. In the Finale […], she let forth a full, rich, decidedly non-girlish sound that soared over the massed fortissimo of orchestra and chorus exactly as Verdi must have intended. Not yet 40, she is already working with a skillset at the top of what is expected, and if she refines it further she may change the definition of what the top is. […] Imagine. There is no telling where this voice may go.”

James Prichard, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, 22 August 2016 (BSO/Nelsons)

“Looking stunning in her purple haute-couture gown Kristine Opolais was warmly welcomed to the stage. […] [The] Latvian soprano, singing with considerable expression, revealed a lustrous quality to her attractive vocal tone. […] With such passionate feeling for the words, impeccable diction and marvellous projection Opolais didn’t just act the part; it was if she was living the role. It would be hard to imagine the soprano receiving better orchestral accompaniment than this. Recognising her stunning voice and dramatic instincts the audience rewarded the soprano with a tremendous ovation. It was all over far too soon […]”

Michael Cookson, Seen and Heard International, 20 May 2016 (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra / Bychkov)

“I don’t recall even seeing this aria more vocally and dramatically expressive; if Verism was ever looking for an “every-day truth”, it found it in such artists as Kristīne Opolais whose search and interpretation is completely persuasive […]”

Robert Rytina, Operaplus.cz, 1st September 2015 [Prague]

“Highly charged phrases with floating high notes weren´t the only goal of long sections: the clarity and focus of her [Kristine Oplais’] voice triumphed through understated moments that demanded control.”

Laura Stanfield Prichard, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, 23rd August 2015 [Tanglewood]

“Although she is twice as tall as any 15-year-old Japanese girl should be, [Kristine Opolais] suspends disbelief from start to finish simply by her perfect vocal incarnation of the naivety and fragility of the character. And she can hurl out a dark chest voice with the sudden terror of a wounded animal.”

Hilary Finch, The Times, 25 March 2015 [Madama Butterfly at Covent Garden]

“What brings the parade alive is a performance of great emotional subtlety by Kristine Opolais in the title role. […] It’s Opolais’s night, confirming her status as today’s leading Puccini soprano: I hope Covent Garden has her Tosca and Suor Angelica in their sights.”

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 21 March 2015 [Madama Butterfly at Covent Garden]

“Kristine Opolais manages Manon's transformation from good-time girl to tragic victim wonderfully well, using silvery pianissimos to marvelous effect”

Andrew Clements, The Guardian, June 18 2014 [Manon Lescaut at Covent Garden]

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Discography

Verdi: Simon BoccanegraIn a major release in Verdi year, Decca presents a recording of the opera “Simon Boccanegra”, a live concert performance recorded at the Vienna Konzerthaus. The first-class cast ...Oct. 2013, Decca, CD, Available on: Amazon
Puccini: Suor AngelicaAndris Nelsons conducts the WDRRundfunkorchester and the WDR Sinfonieorchester Cologne. Kristine Opolais sings Angelica one of our most exciting young Puccini sopranos, Lioba Braun ...Aug. 2012, Orfeo, CD, Available on: Amazon