Artist of the Week: Marigona Qerkezi

Croatian Soprano Makes Anticipated Role Debut as ‘Aida’

By Francisco Salazar

This week the Opera A Coruña is set to open its 2023-24 season with a production of “Aida” in a new production that will be headlined by one of the most exciting rising stars in opera, Marigona Qerkezi.

Qerkezi, who began her career with lyric and coloratura roles, has swiftly moved into taking on Verdi operas, performing such works as “Il Trovatore,” “Ernani,” “Giovanna d’Arco,” “Requiem” and “I Due Foscari.” Last year, OperaWire raved about the soprano, noting, ” Qerkezi has a plush soprano with a roundness from the top to the lower parts of the voice.

Now she turns to “Aida,” one of the most dramatic roles in the repertory. Here is what the soprano told us in a short interview regarding the upcoming role debut.

OperaWire: What does it feel like to perform the role of Aida?

Marigona Qerkezi: To be entrusted with the eponymous role of Aida is a very special feeling. The character’s emotional depth and the vocal demands involved make it a real challenge to an artist’s skills on different levels: psychologically as it conveys a range of feelings from love and longing to conflict and sacrifice, and also vocally you need a wide vocal range of colors and resonating with its powerful music. You also experience that it reserves some of the most beautiful but at the same time, iconic and complex moments of the operatic repertoire.  While singing this music I feel that it allows me to fully connect, and immerse myself in a world of passion, beauty, and drama. I just can’t wait to give life to my Aida!

OW: What is the difference between this role and other Verdi roles that you’ve performed?

MQ:  Verdi asks everything from the singer, he composed beautifully. Aida stands out from other Verdi roles that I’ve previously performed due to its demanding vocal lines, dramatic complexity, and the character’s internal struggles and unique circumstances. This role requires a soprano with the ability to express the intimate nuances and lyrical moments, and also to go through the dramatic and powerful explosions as Aida experiences intense emotions and conflicts throughout her life. It is one of the most performed operas in the world, it has a unique status within Verdi’s repertoire. Aida comes to me as the seventh role by Verdi, a composer I really love and feel very close to my voice and I am so thankful to get to sing his operas the most.

OW: Why are you excited to sing it at A Coruña?

MQ: I am very enthusiastic about this amazing opportunity ahead of me by performing Aida at Palacio de la Opera in A Coruña in the lyrical season because it will be my double debut in the role and theater. My previous visits and projects in Spain gave me wonderful memories and after Liceu in Barcelona, Menorca, and Opera de Oviedo, I am very much looking forward to being at A Coruña.

For those not in A Coruña for Qerkezi’s debut, the soprano has a number of engagements for the 2023-24 season including “Il Corsaro” at the Teatro Carlo Felice and “La Boheme” at the Teatro Lirico Cagliari.


For those not familiar with the soprano’s voice here are some video recordings in various Verdi operas.


Artist of the Week