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Kristīne Opolais

Kristīne OpolaisKristīne Opolais, born on November 12th, 1979 in Rēzekne, Latvia, is a soprano with the Latvian National Opera. She sang the role of Countess in the opera "The Wedding of Figaro", the role of Mimi and Mizete in "Bohemian", Liu "Turandotas", titled operas by Madama Butterfly and "Tosca", Tamar's role in Rubinstein's "Demon", and participated in operas "Yevgeny Oegin" and "The Peak Lady ”.

In 2006, Kristīne Opolais made her debut at the Berlin State Opera with the title Toska. In 2007, she debuted as Violetta in the opera Traviata. Also in 2007, she made her debut at the Manchester Bridgewater Hall in the UK with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2008 she performed at the opera “Bohem” concert with Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conductor Andris Nelson. She has participated in the Latvian National Opera troupe at the Bergen Festival (in the role of Freya in the opera "Rhine Gold") and in France, where she has played the role of Lisa in the opera "The Lady of Spades.

In 2008, she returned to Berlin to take part in the production of Sergey Prokofiev's opera "The Player" under the direction of conductor Daniel Barenboim. This co-operation also contributed to the solo debut of La Scala, a Milan-based business in 2008.

Kristīne Opolais successfully participates in both opera productions and concerts. She has performed in the plays of the soprano Verdi Rekviema, Wagner's "Wesendonku Song", Strauss's "Four Last Songs" and Muller's 4th Symphony. In August 2008, Opole debuted with the Copenhagen Opera Orchestra, playing "Wesendonku Songs".

Kristīne OpolaisDuring the 2008/2009 season, Kristīne made her debut at the Vienna State Opera with the role of Mimi in the opera "Bohemia", at the Lyon Opera with the role of Polina in the opera "Playmanis" and the Turin Theater Regio with the role of Lisa in the opera "The Lady of Spades". In the summer of 2009, she successfully debuted at the Salzburg Festival, performing a soprano party at Dmitry Shostakovich's 14th Symphony Orchestra, led by Andris Nelson.

Opolais' plans for 2010 included a debut at the Exanprovans Festival in the summer of 2010 as Donnie Elvis's opera Don Juan, at the New York Metropolitan Opera, Rome's Santa Cecilia, with a soprano track from Morris Ravel's Sheherezade, followed by a return to Milan's La Scala.

During the 2010/2011 season, she returned to the La Scala Theater in Milan and sang the title of Madama Butterfly in Japan. 2011/2012 she returned to the State Opera in Berlin and debuted at the Amsterdam Opera with the role of Fevronia in the Rimska-Korsakov opera "The Impression of the Invisible Cities of Kite and Virgo Fevronia", while a debut at the Zurich Opera with the title of Yenuf's "Yenuf".

Kristīne Opolais is one of the most sought after sopranos on the international scene these daya, with a firmly established reputation amongst the world’s pre-eminent singing actresses, combining lustrous tone and fierce dramatic intensity.

Opolais appears at the Metropolitan Opera New York, Wiener Staatsoper, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper, Teatro alla Scala, Opernhaus Zürich and Royal Opera House Covent Garden. She is working with such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Sir Antonio Pappano, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder, Daniel Harding, Andris Nelsons, Fabio Luisi, Kirill Petrenko and Semyon Bychkov.

Kristīne OpolaisKristīne Opolais is known for her notable collaborations with the Metropolitan Opera, her performances frequently broadcast in HD worldwide. In Autumn 2018 Opolais returns to the Met to sing “Suor Angelica”, a role she has recorded for label ‘Orfeo’ but until this point she has not sung on stage.

Previously, she starred as the title role in Zimmerman’s 2017 production of “Rusalka”, and received critical praise for her “vocally lustrous and achingly vulnerable performance” (New York Times). Opolais maintains a strong relationship with the Met since her debut as Magda in “La Rondine”.

Remarkably, in 2014 she made history at the Met, with two role debuts in 18 hours. She gave a renowned performance in “Butterfly”, only to step in for a matinee of “La boheme” the next day, which was cinema broadcast worldwide.

In the 2018/19 season Opolais continues her strong collaboration with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, returning to the House as Tosca. In London, Opolais has particularly cemented her title as “the leading Puccini Soprano of today” (The Telegraph), appearing in Kent’s 2014 production as Manon Lescaut, as well as starring as Cio-Cio San in „Madama Butterfly“.

This season Opolais also returns to the Wiener Staatsoper for further signature performances of “Tosca” and makes her debut at the Staatsoper Hamburg for two special performances of “Manon Lescaut” as part of Hamburg’s notable Italian Opera Festival and also tours to Japan, her Japanese debut, in “Manon Lescaut” with the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma.

Kristīne OpolaisOpolais also has a significant relationship with the Bayerische Staatsoper, which started in 2010 when she made her acclaimed debut as Rusalka in Kušej’s production, which she has been invited back numerous times to perform.

Since this time Opolais has appeared in titles including “Manon Lescaut”, “Madama Butterfly”, Tatjana in “Onegin” and Margherita in “Mefistofele”.

Opolais’ solo concert and recital appearances, for which she is highly in demand, include performances at the Salzburg Festival, BBC Proms, George Enescu, Turku and Tanglewood Festivals, the Vienna Musikverein, Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, Royal Opera House Muscat, Royal Concertgebouw and Carnegie Hall, to name but a few.

Opolais has appeared with orchestras including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, with whom she tours this season, the Concertgebouworkest, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Filarmonica della Scala.

Opolais’ most recent opera recording was released in Autumn of 2017 - a DVD of “Tosca”, from Himmelmann’s production in Baden-Baden, with the Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

I have always loved music and sang quite a bit at home. I wanted to become a pop/rock singer or an actress, however I never thought about becoming an opera singer, but my mother knew intuitively that I had a voice and pushed me to take singing lessons and to discover my voice.

Kristīne Opolais"My mother is a very strong woman and doesn’t take no for an answer, so I had no other choice than to follow her advice and start exploring classical music! "

Once I listened to a recording of Maria Callas I knew that this passionate art form was the right choice for me. I was mesmerized by her passionate, expressive singing.

"I find that all operas are very emotional, and I express those emotions with my voice. It’s what I love about the art form. Emotions help a vocal performance, not hinder it."

"Martin Kušej’s production in Munich is very close to my heart. It’s a deep, emotional, dark work. It’s hugely challenging for the performers and the audience. I was sick when we rehearsed it initially and had to remain silent while rehearsing."

"I couldn’t sing, so I spent my days rehearsing in silence, thinking about the role. Suffering. It was almost surreal that I had to live through in real life what Rusalka lives through in the story. I have had a great relationship with Martin Kušej. He is brilliant and this production initiated a huge development for the singer/actress in me."

"I became so much stronger and learned how to sing in any condition – feeling cold, being wet, being exhausted - I truly grew as a performer. A lot of people have approached me about this production who have told me that they feel it is unforgettable. It’s wonderful when theatre moves people to this extent."

Kristīne Opolais"Rusalka is a magical story. We have to experience it in a magical way. There are many moments in the plot that can’t be seen as completely realistic scenes. Rusalka is a mermaid and asks Ježibaba to make her human, to give her a soul, so she could live with her human lover."

"The witch Ježibaba uses magic to give Rusalka legs and to make her human - or something in between a woman and a nymph. It’s a deep story, it’s not a Cinderella story. It’s heartbreaking and definitely more of a tragic tale than a romance."

"Her love affair is doomed and when she gets hurt by her beloved, she is lost. The role is still quite new to me. It’s a very special, delicate role. I am happy that I don’t sing it too often – it has to remain special for me."

"I depend on a longer rehearsal period to really dive into the character and it’s hugely important to have a great production and cast. I once jumped into a production of Rusalka and took over a few performances."

"I wasn’t happy. For a role like Rusalka, I need the rehearsal process. I need to explore different aspects of the her character and I need to feel supported by a cast I trust."

"Vocally, I feel quite stable. Rusalka is not a huge challenge for the voice. It’s more of an emotional challenge, an acting challenge. The biggest vocal challenge is the Act 2 aria, which comes after having been on stage for more than 30 minutes without singing a word."

Kristīne Opolais"It’s a big jump from silence to a dramatic aria and there is no chance to warm up the voice. You just have to trust that it’s there."

"I find that all operas are very emotional, and I express those emotions with my voice. It’s what I love about the art form. Emotions help a vocal performance, not hinder it."

"I can’t sing Cio-Cio-San that often because it’s emotionally exhausting for me. I am always completely immersed in the character and, being a mother, I find the scenes with my stage child so heartbreaking."

"I am an open and truthful performer, so I can’t hold back. I have to give everything, to feel it 100% and sing it 100%. It’s not something I can easily do over and over again."

"Puccini is a very passionate composer and almost all women are passionate. His soprano roles are all intense. Huge orchestration, romantic, tragic love stories – it’s always a challenge. I love this composer but he takes all my power. You can only sing these roles when you give it your all."

"I don’t listen to recordings that much any more. I used to listen to many, many singers, exploring different styles, expressions and vocal lines. Sometimes when I prepared a role, I listened to recordings to see how my colleagues solved difficult vocal passages or expressed certain phrases."

Kristīne Opolais"I used to be influenced by a lot of singers, but now I tend to focus more on my own path. I work with pianists and coaches and try to discover my own interpretation."

"I would encourage my younger colleagues to listen to the great singers of the past though. There is a lot to be learned, especially at the beginning of your career."

"When I first studied Madama Butterfly I listened to Renata Scotto, for Tosca, I listened to Maria Callas, also to Mirella Freni and when I prepared Manon Lescaut, I listened Renata Scotto, Renata Tebaldi and Maria Callas."

"I have to say that I was also very inspired by Renée Fleming. My favorite album is the one on which she recorded Czech and Russian music with Valery Gergiev."

"My voice is constantly changing. Whenever I work on a new role - I learn something new. The voice is always evolving, but I feel that my voice is developing slowly. I actually used to sing a more dramatic repertoire at the beginning of my career, and I have added some more lyrical roles now."

"A strong technique and vocal control are very important, much more important than the sheer volume of your voice. The repertoire I sing demands technical expertise to protect the instrument."

Kristīne Opolais"I am not a fan of an overly controlled sound. Emotions need to be expressed with different vocal colours. As I said, emotions help you sing - they add colours and expression."

"I don’t think I have such a demanding schedule compared to many of my colleagues. I find I say no very often. I am a mother and my daughter needs me. I would work much more, if I didn't have a 5-year-old daughter. I love spending time with her and she always travels with me. My schedule is very manageable. I try to live healthily and I welcome the challenges I have."

"It is difficult to feel any house as being home. The deepest emotions are definitely related to Riga, because my artist's path started here, I met a man here and, a baby was born here."

"It is good for me to have a good relationship with the theater and most importantly! - with the audience. That's why I felt like at home in New York - it was sad to go away. My calendar at the Metropolitan Opera is completed by 2020, looking forward to the end of October when I return to New York."

"As I will not go on for too long, I will only have a child and a nanny, and we will continue to live in the same apartment. If we are gone longer, my mom also goes, because the babysitter gets tired and needs help."

"Also in London, in Coventry, when I stood at Manon Lesko with Maestro Pappano and Jonas Kaufman, I felt at home. It was such a good debut and there was so much love in the process that we gave it to each other, it was a family feeling."

Kristīne Opolais"Like at that time, when we worked with you and Andris in Riga, we really had a team. Now I've got the same thing in the Meta opera. That's why I feel at home where I have a creative process and where my child feels good."

"Adrian is four and a half years old. If she accepts the new place, if I am happy, I also feel good. It is important for the daughter that the mom is happy, she is influenced by my mood. I also felt at home in Munich."

After Rusalka I had a lot of job offers, so I think we can live there when the child goes to school. We bought the apartment and lived there for almost six months, but then I felt funny that the city was not mine.

"I like to live there while I work, but I don't like to stay when I don't work. But it is not possible to work continuously however, the voice links must rest. In addition, I could not say that my child accepted those children."

"In Germany we were not easy - neither psychologically nor emotionally. I am a compromise person and I do not like everything going through force and law."

"I think there is always room for opportunities, nothing black and white, left or right. There are different directions."

Kristīne Opolais"No moment repeats! It is important to understand this, because artists often want to fix, get caught, go the same way that once brought good luck."

"Then I wonder - I took that note just like yesterday, why didn't I go today? Because you don't have to think how it was yesterday! But it is difficult because it is scared - in some ways - risk."

"If I were asked who brought people to success, I couldn't choose. Work without success does not lead to huge success. Can you drive success without work? Yes, but for a very short time. I think there is no one code. Each has its own path, and that's what's interesting."

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Bonesetters Waiting Room

In the Bonesetter's Waiting Room:
Travels Through Indian Medicine

BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week India defies definition, and the story of medicine in India is similarly rich and complex: shaped by unique challenges and opportunities, uniting cutting-edge technological developments with ancient cultural traditions, fuelled by political changes which transformed the lives of millions and moulded by the energy of forceful individuals. Here, Aarathi Prasad investigates how Indian medicine came to be the way it is. Her travels will take her to bonesetter clinics in Jaipur and Hyderabad and the waiting-rooms of Bollywood's best plastic surgeons, and introduce her to traditional healers as well as the world-beating heart surgeon who is revolutionising treatment of the poor around the globe.

Like a Virgin

LIKE A VIRGIN
Exploring the Frontiers of Conception

Sexual evolution is a slippery business. Like all mammals, we humans seem to have been left no choice in the matter: even though it is costly, inefficient and dangerous, if we want to reproduce we simply have to have sex. Yet most human cultures tell the tale of a maiden who gives birth untouched by a man; and in the wild there are plenty of creatures – such as turkeys, komodo dragons, sharks and the ‘Jesus Christ’ lizard (which walks on water, too) – that take various approaches to reproducing without sex.

In LIKE A VIRGIN, the biology writer Aarathi Prasad discusses how reproduction without sex is achieved in animals and explores why evolution hasn’t made it an option for humans – yet. In doing so, she provides a quirky, entertaining and perceptive overview of the mysteries of evolutionary biology, sex and reproduction – past, present and future.

It’s a remarkable story that ranges across Greek mythology, natural history, agriculture, conservation and medicine; takes in some of the most exciting areas of developmental genetics and molecular biology that other popular science books largely ignore; and is packed full of a cast of amazing characters, be they obscure animals or eccentric scientists such as the respected geneticist Dr Helen Spurway who in the UK in the 1950s unwittingly sparked a nationwide search for a virgin mother.

There is now a plethora of strategies being developed in reproductive medicine that could ultimately keep our species going in a world of embellished sex: the creation of artificial eggs and sperm from bone marrow, labs-on-chips on which eggs are fertilized, silicone wombs and artificial wombs (where fetuses can spend their full nine months), and even research to prepare us for reproduction in space. What’s more, we are finally beginning to understand what genetic modifications are needed to allow for the creation of women who could have babies without having sex. Now that we have the competent hand of science in our lives, will girls still need men?

Publisher: Oneworld (UK/US)
Pub Date: 16 August 2012
Status: Draft manuscript
Length: 288 pages


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Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats... take a look


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