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, Opernhaus Zürich and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. She is working with such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Antonio Pappano, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder, Daniel Harding, Andris Nelsons, Fabio Luisi, Kirill Petrenko and Semyon Bychkov.

In the 2017/18 season Opolais continues her notable collaboration with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, making her role debut as Elsa in “Lohengrin”, in a new production by David Alden, starring opposite Klaus Florian Vogt. Previously in London, Opolais has particularly cemented her title as “the leading Puccini Soprano of today” (The Telegraph), appearing in Kent’s 2014 production as Manon Lescaut, as well as starring as Cio-Cio San and Floria Tosca. This season Opolais also looks forward to making her debut at the Hamburg Staatsoper, in “Madama Butterfly”, in two special performance as part of the Italian Opera Festival. She also returns for performances of this signature role at the Wiener Staatsoper.


Kristine Opolais is particularly known for her notable collaborations with the Metropolitan Opera, her performances frequently broadcast in HD worldwide. She recently starred as the title role in Zimmerman’s 2017 production of “Rusalka”, and she received the highest critical praise for her “vocally lustrous and achingly vulnerable performance” (NY Times). Opolais has maintained 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, with two role debuts in 18 hours. She gave a renowned performance in “Butterfly”, only to step in for a matinee of “La bohème” the next day, which was additionally cinema broadcast worldwide and Opolais wowed audiences around the globe. She has also forged a strong relationship with the Bayerische Staatsoper, which began in 2010 when Opolais made her debut, to wide acclaim, as Rusalka. Since this time Opolais has appeared in numerous titles including “Manon Lescaut”, “Madama Butterfly”, Tatjana in “Onegin” and Margherita in “Mefistofele”.

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 closing weekend in opera gala, including Act II of “Tosca”, with Sir Bryn Terfel. Opolais has appeared with orchestras including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Concertgebouworkest, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Filarmonica della Scala. Highlights of 2017/18 include Opolais’ joining an all-star cast, with Piotr Beczała and Rene Papé in Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, opening the Prague Festival. She also debuts with the Wiener Philharmoniker, which stands as her third consecutive season appearing at the prestigious Musikverein.

Opolais’ forthcoming recording is a DVD of Tosca, from Himmelmann’s 2017 production in Baden-Baden, with the Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Rattle. Further 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 2017/2018

Quotes

“Opolais is an international opera star, with the great operatic voice of an international opera star. For the Song to the Moon, or even the for Dvoraks Gypsy Songs, one might find this voice a little too great – however, not necessarily so. Because the dramatic commitment with which Opolais develops the theatrical scenes within the most limited space is also very convincing. Every tone of her soprano voice, of a dark timbre especially in the middle range, is intuitive and committed to expression and truthfulness, regardless of the consequences.”

Leipziger Volkszeitung, Peter Korfmacher, 20.05.2017

“Those who saw Kristine Opolais’ Manon Lescaut at Covent Garden back in 2014 will remember how completely the young singer inhabited the role of Puccini’s teenage siren […]. If anything, her Tosca is even more impressive: vocally secure, dramatically confident and with just the right number of individual touches to show that she’s thought about the role. The pious woman of the second act was as convincingly put across as the jealous diva of the first (most singers whom I have seen tackle the role have only managed one of those two aspects) and her mixed feelings after despatching Scarpia were beautifully telegraphed.”

Bachtrack, Richard Ely, 05.07.2017

“Kristine Opolais is a magnetic singing actress, her commitment and passion always a hallmark of her performances. Her Rusalka was no different. […] Act 3 was the one in which she brought her brilliant vocal and acting abilities together into a emotionally potent whole. […] [There] is no doubt that Opolais was a triumph as Rusalka.”

OperaWire, David Salazar, 17.02.2017 (‘Rusalka’ at The Metropolitan Opera/Sir Mark Elder)

“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.”

The New York Times, Anthony Tommasini, 03.02.2017 (‘Rusalka’ at The Metropolitan Opera/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.”

The Berkshire Eagle, Andrew L. Pincus, 22.08.2016 (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.”

The Boston Musical Intelligencer, James Prichard, 22.08.2016 (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 […]”

Seen and Heard International, Michael Cookson, 20.05.2016 (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 […]”

Operaplus.cz, Robert Rytina, 01.09.2015 [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.”

The Boston Musical Intelligencer, Laura Stanfield Prichard, 23.08.2015 [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.”

The Times, Hilary Finch, 25.03.2015 [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.”

The Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen, 21.03.2015 [Madama Butterfly at Covent Garden]

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Discography

Puccini: ToscaDirection: Philipp Himmelmann, Kristine Opolais, Marcelo Alvarez, Marco Vratogna, Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Simon Rattle, Easter Festival Baden-BadenOct. 2017, EuroArts, DVD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
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: iTunes 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