Artist of the Week: Karine Deshayes

French Mezzo-Soprano Stars in New Production of ‘Elisabetta Regina d’Inghilterra’

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Rossini Opera Festival)

The Rossini Opera Festival is back in full swing after COVID-19 and is presenting one of the composer’s rarely performed Opera Seria, “Elisabetta Regina d’Inghilterra.” The opera is best known for having the same overture as “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” and for depicting one of the most famous queens in history. For the iconic role, the festival has picked one of the great Bel Canto mezzo-sopranos of her generation: Karine Deshayes.

A double recipient of the Victoires de la Musique Award Lyric Artist of the Year, Deshayes has performed on many of the major stages around the opera world including the Metropolitan Opera, Salzburg Festival, Teatro Real, Gran Teatre del Liceu, and Opera de Paris. The mezzo is returning to the festival after her debut in 2020 and with Elisabetta, she will be adding another Rossini Heroine to her repertoire. Deshayes has already performed the title roles of Rossini’s “Armida,” “La Cenerentola,” “La Donna del Lago,” and Semiramide,” as well as “Il Barbiere di Siviglia,” “Le Comte Ory,” and “Otello.” 

Critics have raved about Deshayes’ timbre and coloratura, noting she is “not only a classy singer — an haute couture shaper of musical phrases — but a poignant actor.” 

For audiences not on hand to attend her performances, the festival will record the new production and screen it on RAI in September.

This upcoming season, audiences will get to see the mezzo-soprano in productions of “Anna Bolena,” “La Cenerentola,” Ariadne auf Naxos,” and Les Huguenots.”


For audiences not familiar with the mezzo-soprano’s voice, Deshayes has a critically acclaimed Rossini album as well as Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Sonya Yoncheva. There is also a recording of “Le Nozze di Figaro” from the Paris Opera.

Here she is in the final scene of “La Cenerentola:”

And here she is at the Victories awards.



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