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Opolais in 2009

Kristīne Opolais (born 12 November 1979)[1] is a Latvian operatic soprano. Her particular passion is for the operas of Puccini, and she has sung title roles in his work to widespread acclaim at the world's leading opera houses.


Early life and educationEdit

Opolais was born in Rēzekne, Latvia, and studied at the Latvian Academy of Music.[2]


Opolais started her career as a member of the chorus with Latvian National Opera in 2001, and in 2003 became a soloist. It was there that she met her future husband, the conductor Andris Nelsons.[2]

She first achieved wider recognition in 2006, when she made her debut at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin, followed by debuts at 2008 at La Scala in Milan and the Vienna State Opera in 2008, and in October 2010 the Bavarian State Opera in the title role of Dvořák’s Rusalka in a new production directed by Martin Kušej.[2]

In 2011, Opolais made her debut with London's Royal Opera, singing the title role in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, conducted by Nelsons.[3] In 2013, she made her debut at The Proms in London's Royal Albert Hall, singing arias by Verdi and Tchaikovsky, with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.[3]

On 5 April 2014, with just five and a half hours' notice, Opolais substituted as Mimì in Puccini's La bohème in the Metropolitan Opera's matinee performance.[4] The substitution was necessitated by the scheduled Anita Hartig being too ill to perform. Although Opolais had performed the role several times in the past, including at the Vienna State Opera, she was currently in the title role of another opera, Puccini's Madama Butterfly, and had sung it there for the first time the previous evening. She hadn't fallen asleep until about 5am, but was woken by a 7:30am phone call asking her to sing again at the 1pm matinee, which was being broadcast around the world as part of the Met's Live in HD series. Opolais performed the part again at the Metropolitan Opera's 2014/15 season production.[4]

Opolais' singing in Madama Butterfly at the Met has received positive reviews. The New York Observer noted her "soaring voice and penetrating theatrical presence", and that "she is the most compelling Met Cio-Cio-San since Diana Soviero last sang the role here nearly 20 years ago."[5]

Her appearance as Mimì in La bohème at the Met has also been praised. Community Digital News noted that she "instantly meshed with the existing cast" and "found instant chemistry on stage" and has a "lovely, youthful, effortlessly nuanced voice".[6]

Opolais performed the title role in Puccini's Manon Lescaut at Covent Garden in the 2013/14 season[7] and also at the New York Met in February and March 2016.[8][9]

In February and March 2017, she appeared as Rusalka in the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Dvořák's opera.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Opolais married conductor Andris Nelsons, a fellow Latvian, in 2011[11] and they divorced in 2018.[12] Their daughter was born in December 2011.[13]


  1. ^ Anda Burve, Inese Lūsiņa: Laimīga? Apmierināta! In: Diena, 21 January 2006. Retrieved 11 October 2012 (in Latvian).
  2. ^ a b c "Kristine Opolais". Zemsky Green Artists Management. Archived from the original on 10 April 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Opera's double act: Kristine Opolais and Andris Nelsons". The Independent. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  4. ^ a b Cooper, Michael. "For Soprano, From Butterfly to Bohème, in a Flash". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  5. ^ "This Butterfly Has Wings: Kristine Opolais is Met's Best Cio-Cio-San Since Diana Soviero". New York Observer. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  6. ^ Ponick, Terry (6 April 2014). "Kristine Opolais steps in, saves Met's HD Bohème simulcast". Community Digital News. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Kristine Opolais". Royal Opera House. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  8. ^ "In Met's 'Manon Lescaut,' Classic Love Story Gets Noir Twist". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  9. ^ "Manon Lescaut Synopsis". Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  10. ^ Jorden, James (3 February 2017). "At the Met, Rusalka Serves Up Fishy Unrealness". New York Observer. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  11. ^ Christopher Morley (2011-06-17). "Orchestral manoeuvres for Andris Nelsons". Birmingham Post. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Personal Statement".
  13. ^ Mirko Weber: "Die staunenswerte lettische Sopranistin Kristine Opolais". In: Die Zeit, 27 September 2012, pp. 71–72.

External linksEdit