Portrait: Asmik Grigorian

Diving into the deep waters of my personality

One role made Asmik Grigorian world-famous virtually overnight: Salome in Richard Strauss’ opera of the same name. Her portrayal of the role at the 2018 Salzburg Festival was so compelling and impressive that she received a standing ovation from the audience, and the director knelt before her on the stage. Within the next year, the Lithuanian-born soprano made her debuts at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and at La Scala in Milan. Since then, she has been at home on the great international opera stages.

Asmik Grigorian was born into a family of singers. As both her mother and father enjoyed success on the stage, it was only natural for her to take up the same profession. She studied piano, choral conducting and singing at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, and began her career at opera houses in the Baltic States. In her early years, she sang more than 50 roles in a short time. Her both slender and powerful voice effortlessly expresses a wide variety of tonal nuances and is ideally suited to a wide range of roles: Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Janáček’s Jenůfa, Dvořák’s Rusalka, Marie in Berg’s Wozzeck and Senta in Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer, with which she made her debut at the Bayreuth Festival in 2021.

She has also enjoyed triumphs with the female characters in Tchaikovsky’s operas – Marie (Mazeppa), Iolanta, Tatyana (Eugene Onegin) and Lisa (Queen of Spades). In the role of Iolanta, Asmik Grigorian makes her debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker standing in for Sonya Yoncheva. In April 2022, she will appear with the orchestra under the baton of Kirill Petrenko as Lisa in Queen of Spades, first at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden, then at the Philharmonie Berlin. Her success is due in no small part to the fact that she intensively explores the women she embodies, trying to understand their every inner emotion – both the noble and the dark. She has completely internalised her protagonists: “There is also something of myself in all my roles,” she stated in an interview. “I call it diving into the deep waters of my personality.”