Soprano Elbenita Kajtazi, a native of Mitrovica, Republic of Kosovo, is impressing audiences in some of Europe’s most important opera houses. She studied at the University of Prishtina, Faculty of Arts in Kosovo, after which she moved to Germany where her international career in opera began. She is moving into the full lyric repertoire and in the 2021/22 season her performances will include her role debut as the title role in Manon in Hamburg, Mimi La boheme in Dresden as well as Contessa Le nozze di Figaro in Erfurt.
In March 2018, she won the Audience Prize and the 3rd prize at the first ever Glyndebourne Opera Cup. Previous awards include the first prize of the Riccardo Zandonai Competition and the first prize in the Spiros Argiris Sarzana Festival Competition in Italy, 2014. She represented Kosovo in the 2021 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.
In the 2021/22 season and beyond Kajtazi returns to Hamburg as Gretel, Violetta, and Adina and makes her role debut as Manon. Other engagements that season include Mimi and Pamina in Dresden, Rita at the Konzerthaus Berlin and Contessa in Erfurt. Further ahead, Kajtazi will make her much anticipated debut at Glyndebourne Opera after winning the Audience Prize.
Recent highlights include Mozart Missa in Tempore Belli at the Salzburg Festival with Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg and Riccardo Minasi, and an opera-air gala concert for Hamburg Staatsoper. Kajtazi made her debut as Nannetta Falstaff at Staatsoper Hamburg in the 2019/20 season, a production directed by Calixto Bieito streamed live at the ARTE Opera Season. In the summer of 2020 she received rave reviews in her debut at Opéra National de Bordeaux as Violetta La Traviata directed by Pierre Rambert.
Within just four years, Kajtazi went from being one of the youngest members of the Young Artist Program at Deutsche Oper Berlin, to becoming a member of Aalto-Musiktheater in Essen, and then joining the ensemble of Hamburg State Opera in the 2018/19 season, with several commitments for leading roles. In the same season, she appeared as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier at Teatro Municipal de Santiago, sang Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel in Essen and Pamina from Die Zauberflöte at Semperoper Dresden.
From 2014 to 2016, Kajtazi held a Young Artist fellowship at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where roles included Frasquita in Carmen, Gianetta in L’elisir d’amore, Papagena and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Annina in La Traviata, Anna in Nabucco, Shepherd in Tannhäuser, Bianca in La Rondine, Sandmännchen and Taumännchen in Hänsel und Gretel, Voice from Above in Don Carlos, Frantík and Grasshopper in The Cunning Little Vixen, First Elf in Die ägyptische Helena, Fifth Maid in Elektra‚ and Contessa Ceprano in Rigoletto. That season Kajtazi began a longstanding collaboration with her singing teacher Caroline Isabel Merz. In October 2015, Kajtazi was heard as Bianca in La Rondine with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, performing at Prinzregententheater Munich. In Autumn 2016, she sang concerts of Pulcinella as well as Musetta in Scènes de la vie de bohème, both at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. As of the 2016/17 season, she joined the ensemble of the Aalto-Musiktheater in Essen. Here, she has had the opportunity to make important role debuts, including performances of Adina, Pamina, Violetta in La Traviata, Liu in Turandot, Gretel, Musetta in La Bohème, Adele in Die Fledermaus, and Annina in Eine Nacht in Venedig. In Summer 2016, Kajtazi made her Salzburg Festival debut as a member of the Young Singers Project, performing alongside Plácido Domingo and the Münchner Rundfunkorchester as Crobyle in Massenet Thaïs. As a young artist she took part in masterclasses with great artists including Christa Ludwig, Thomas Hampson, Ermonela Jaho and Malcolm Martineau.
"Elbenita Kajtazi in Violetta is the discovery of the evening. The different vocal registries demanded by the partition for this role, are here gathered in singing lines soaked with grand purity, with beauty and above all with youth. Bewitching timbre, crushing sharps, her grand aria with the shining and retained final notes is a rare moment"