Russian soprano Irina Lungu is set to make her Australian debut as Gilda in Opera Australia’s winter production of Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Sydney Opera House opening on 6 July till 2 August. (Season goes till 24 August).
Ms Lungu has performed the role of Gilda to great acclaim at her debuts at the Metropolitan Opera a few years ago and at the Paris Opera in 2016. She is one of the most famous “Traviatas” of our day, having sung the role at many of the major opera houses around the globe. She made her debut as Violetta in 2006 the Teatro alla Scala when she was in her mid-20s, chosen for the role by Lorin Maazel and reprised it at La Scala in 2007 and in 2013, as well as at the Paris Opera, Vienna State Opera, Bolshoi Theatre Moscow, in the Far East, and in Europe.
A versatile artist who feels equally feels at home in French and Russian repertoire, in Puccini roles and in bel canto parts, Irina was born in Moldova in a Russian family who had to flee to Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. After studying choral conducting, piano and singing in Voronezh she won several prestigious singing competitions in Europe when she was only in her early 20s and was accepted at the Academy of the Teatro alla Scala, where she studied under the guidance of famous soprano Leyla Gencer. Whilst still a student here, she was chosen by Maestro Riccardo Muti for the 2003/2004 season opening production of La Scala as Anaï in Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon.
Irina’s recent engagements include major roles at the Gran Teatre del Liceu of Barcelona, the Vienna State Opera, the Estates Theatre Prague, Tokyo and the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow. Upcoming performances include her role debut as Elettra in Idomeneo and Norina in Don Pasquale at the Vienna State Opera, Marguerite in Faust at the Teatro Real of Madrid and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. She has also performed the roles of Nanetta, Lucia di Lammermoor, Micaela, Giulietta and Adina, .