The Major Puccini Roles of Kristine Opolais’ Career

By David Salazar

Kristine Opolais, born on Nov. 12, 1979, has built up quite a prominent career all around the entire world.

Born in Latvia, she would go on to join the chorus of the Latvian National Opera, then slowly but surely make her way through some of the famed houses in Europe.

Along the way, she has developed a wide range of repertoire in diverse languages, none more prominent than the operas of Puccini. Opolais, in numerous interviews, has professed tremendous passion for the work of the Italian composer and has gone on to become one of his most ardent interpreters in recent years.

Here is a look at her major Puccini roles over the years.

Madama Butterfly

Of all the roles that Opolais has taken on over the years, this is perhaps her most iconic Puccini interpretation. Her first Met appearance in the role was rather eventful as she was called in the next morning to sing a performance of “La Bohème” for a Live in HD broadcast. She also famously noted that the role takes a great deal out of her, as she connects deeply with the mother’s pain of the main character.

La Bohème

Speaking of “La Bohème,” the soprano has interpreted the role extensively, singing it rather prominently at the Metropolitan Opera in recent seasons. As noted, she famously stepped into the role at last minute for an ailing Anita Hartig. She was set to make her Met role debut the following season, but the HD performance allowed her to preview her physical interpretation.

Manon Lescaut

The soprano took on the role of the famed literary figure a few years back, becoming the go-to interpreter. She famously performed the role with star tenor Jonas Kaufmann and was set to sing a new Met production alongside him. Kaufmann wound up canceling and she interpreted the opera alongside Roberto Alagna, who was learning the opera for the first time in his career.

La Rondine

Opolais’ association with Magda has never been as extensive as her other Puccini heroines, but she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the role to rather enthusiastic reviews.

Suor Angelica

The soprano recorded the middle opera of Puccini’s “Triticco” back in 2011 with her husband Andris Nelsons in the pit.


The soprano took on the opera at Baden Baden in early 2017 and also performed the second act at Tanglewood this summer. She also performed early in her career in Latvia. Of her performance at Tanglewood, OperaWire wrote, “I want to report that Opolais was a triumph in the title role, showcasing her talents with flexibility not just as an actress, but also vocally.”



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