Artist of the Week: Kristine Opolais

Latvian Soprano Makes Her Anticipated Debut as Adriana Lecouvreur

By Francisco Salazar

On Nov. 14, the Teatro Comunale di Bologna will finally open a new production of Cilea’s “Adriana Lecouvreur.” The production by Rosetta Cucchi was previously filmed as a movie in Bologna during the time theaters were shuttered due to COVID-19. Now after almost a year of delays, the show will go on and soprano Kristine Opolais will get to make her formal role debut in the title role.

When Opolais sang the filmed version of the opera, critics raved about the soprano’s take on the iconic diva noting “Opolais sings rather well, she declaims beautifully and above all she breaks out of the by now stale cliché of the great tragedian attached ‘full time’ to the curtains. It is an Adriana that is not redundant but not defeatist, and for this very reason she is very intense, and in the end very interesting.” Now the soprano, who is also making her house debut will get to bring her acclaimed theatrical skills to a live audience.

For Opolais, Adriana will mark yet another verismo role to her growing repertoire. The soprano has become one of the most sought-after Puccini singers of her generation, singing the roles of “Tosca,” “Madama Butterfly,” “La Boheme,” “La Rondine,” “Suor Angelica” and “Manon Lescaut.” She has also performed in Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci” as Nedda and Boito’s “Mefistofele.” Outside of her verismo work, the soprano has also made a warhorse out of “Rusalka,” the role with which she broke out.

Throughout the past decade, the Latvian soprano has put a mark on the international stages performing at every major opera house including the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Royal Opera House, Teatro alla Scala, Wiener Staatsoper, and the Metropolitan Opera. She has appeared in several live in HD broadcasts for the Met including a historical 2014 “La Boheme” and her signature “Madama Butterfly.”

For audiences not in Bologna for the momentous debut, the soprano returns to Vienna for a new production of “Tosca” at the Theater an der Wien and also heads to the Semperoper Dresden for “Madama Butterfly.” She also returns to Italy for the Teatro San Carlo di Napoli’s “7 Deaths of Maria Callas” and makes her role debut as Elisabetta in “Don Carlo” in Poland.


For those not familiar with the soprano’s voice, audiences can check out Opolais’ “Tosca” from Baden Baden, Mefistofele from the Bayerische Staatsoper, and “Manon Lescaut” from the Royal Opera. She also has a recording of “Rusalka” from the Bayerische Staastoper.


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