With a voice described by the New York Times as “a shimmering soprano of attractive size” with “brightness … bloom and warmth”, Irina Lungu is taking her place among today’s leading opera artists.
Having won the hearts of audiences and critics alike in some of the world’s most prestigious theaters, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Teatro alla Scala, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Berliner Staatsoper, the Dutch National Opera, the Teatro Real Madrid, the Arena di Verona, the Teatro La Fenice, the Teatro San Carlo (Naples), and the Aix-en-Provence Festival, among many others, the Russian soprano is poised for a 2016/2017 season filled with major bel canto role debuts; the title role in Anna Bolena at Opéra Grand Avignon, Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Teatro Filarmonico of Verona and Elvira in I puritani at the Teatro Comuncale of Modena, the Teatro Comunale of Piacenza and in Reggio Emilia. Other engagements in 2016/2017 include Don Giovanni (Donna Anna) at the Vienna State Opera, Liù in Turandot at the Bayerische Staatsoper of Munich, La bohème (Mimì) at the Teatro Regio of Turin and at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples and Rigoletto (Gilda) and the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Teatro Comunale of Bologna.
Ms Lungu opened the 2015/2016 season in one of her signature roles, that of Violetta in La traviata, in her house debut at the Vienna Staatsoper. She sang the same role for her debuts at the Zurich Opera House, the Hamburg Staatsoper and the Seongnam Arts Center, Seoul, as well as for her return to the Berlin Deutsche Oper, while other engagements included her Paris Opera debut as Gilda in a new production of Rigoletto; her debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich as Liù in Turandot, her debut at the Bol’šoj Theatre in the Elena Obraztsova Opera Ball, La traviata at the Paris Opera, Nannetta in Falstaff at La Scala, her staged role debut as Mimi in La bohème in Moscow, Liù in Turandot at the Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman; Musetta in La bohème in Salerno; Micaëla in Carmen at the Teatro Regio, Turin and at the Arena di Verona and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at La Quincena de San Sebastian in Spain.
During the 2014/2015 season the versatile soprano gave her acclaimed role debuts as Lucia di Lammermoor at the Teatro Filarmonico, Verona, and as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Arena di Verona, where her performances in 2015 also include Micaëla in the Carmen Gala Concert and Juliette in Roméo et Juliette. She furthermore interpreted Juliette at the Seoul Arts Center, Violetta at the Teatro Real Madrid and at the Teatro Lirico Cagliari, Gilda at the Rome Opera House, and Marguerite in Faust at the Teatro Regio, Turin.
Other recent engagements include Gilda and Musetta at the Metropolitan Opera New York, Violetta at the Teatro Real Madrid and the Teatro La Fenice Venice, Musetta at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Marguerite at the Dutch National Opera and Norina in Don Pasquale at the Teatro Filarmonico, Verona.
Ms Lungu received certificates in piano and choral conducting and completed her degree in singing at the State Conservatory of Voronezh under the guidance of baritone Mikhail Podkopaev. After winning several important international competitions, among them the Belvedere Competition, Voci Verdiane in Busseto, and Operalia, she attended the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala, Milan, where her teachers included Leyla Gencer.
While still a student she was chosen by Maestro Riccardo Muti to open the 2003/2004 season of La Scala as Anaï in Rossini’s “Moïse et Pharaon”. Since then she has portrayed numerous roles on this prestigious stage: Adina in “L’elisir d’amore” and the title role of “Maria Stuarda”, Marguerite in “Faust”, Nannetta in “Falstaff”, Oksana in “Čerevički”, and the title role of “Sancta Susanna”. It was at La Scala that in 2007 she debuted the role of Violetta in “La traviata” under the musical direction of Lorin Maazel in Liliana Cavani’s production, returning to sing the role in the same staging in 2008 and in 2013 in Dmitri Tcherniakov’s new production conducted by Daniele Gatti.
Lungu has sung with the world’s greatest conductors, including Riccardo Muti, Lorin Maazel, Daniele Gatti, Michel Plasson, Daniel Oren, Gianandrea Nosea, Daniel Harding, Gustavo Dudamel, and Stéphane Denève and has worked with directors such as Franco Zeffirelli, Luca Ronconi, Robert Carsen, Laurent Pelly, Pierluigi Pizzi, Deborah Warner, Eimuntas Nekrošius and Liliana Cavani.