The Greek born mezzo-soprano Irini Karaianni has followed a very diverse career that brought her in major opera houses including the Teatro alla Scala (Giulietta in Tales of Hoffmann), Opera di Roma (Octavian in Rosenkavalier and Carmen at the Terme di Caracalla), Teatro Massimo in Palermo (Dulcinee in Don Quichotte and Caterina in Greek passion), Oper Frankfurt (Giulietta), Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Olga in E. Onegin), the Israeli Opera of Tel Aviv (Nicklausse in Tales of Hoffmann), the Teatro Regio di Torino (Maddalena in Rigoletto), Linbury Theatre at Covent Garden (Tarquinio il Trionfo di Clelia).
She has appeared in numerous productions of the Greek National Opera, the Megaron of Athens, the Concert Hall of Thessaloniki and other international venues in roles such as Rosina (Barbiere), Angelina (Cenerentola), Isabella (Italiana in Algeri), Isolier (Le Comte Ory), Cherubino (Nozze di Figaro), Adalgisa (Norma), Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos), Miss Jessel (Turn of the screw), Charlotte (Werther), Siebel (Faust), Opignon Publique (Orphee aux Enfers).
After winning the “Giuseppe di Stefano” international contest in 1998, she was invited to perform the role of Carmen in many theaters all over Italy including Teatro Romano di Fiesole and Teatro Greco di Taormina) and Rosina and Nicklausse for (A.S.LI.CO).
An important part of her activity is dedicated to the music of the 18th cent. including roles such as Bradamante (Alcina), Carilda (Arianna in Creta), Cornelia (Giulio Cesare), Irene (Tamerlano), Irene (Theodora), Ottone (Incoronazione di Poppea), Clytemnestre (Iphigenie en Aulide), Costanza (Isola Disabitata) and numerous concert works by Handel, Vivaldi, Haydn, Mozart etc.
She has participated in award winning recordings of Handel’s Tamerlano (Irene), Arianna in Creta (Carilda), Giulio Cesare (Cornelia), Alessandro Severo (Albina ) for the German label MDG, receiving praise from the international press as one of today’s foremost interpreters of Handel’s music and recently she participated as Tarquinio in the World Premiere Recording of il trionfo di Clelia by Ch.W Gluck for the German label MDG.
Irini Karaianni studied music in Athens, at Atheneum and the National Conservatory and french Literature in the University of Athens. Under scholarships from both the “A. Onassis” foundation, and the “Maria Callas” foundation, she continued her studies at the “Conservatorio di Musica di Santa Cecilia” in Rome. Additionally, she attended classes with Victoria de Los Angeles in Barcelona and with Maria Luisa Cioni in Milan. She also studied acting and dance in London, as a member of the “Mayer Lissmann Opera Center”. She is equally comfortable with the concert stage, performing in recitals, concerts and special projects with a very wide range of repertoire.
The undoubted star, though, was Irini Karaianni, whose almost contralto voice was big and mesmerising.
Her fearsome lower range was put to good use in what was the most dramatic role of the opera.
Linbury Studio at Covent Garden, June 2012