Elena Tsallagova



Lyric coloratura soprano Elena Tsallagova’s international career goes from strength to strength. The 2016/2017 season marked her North American debut as Pamina in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Die Zauberflöte. She also debuted at the Opéra National du Rhin in The Cunning Little Vixen and Cavalli’s La Calisto and summer 2017 saw her sing Micaela at Bregenz Festival.

Born in Vladikavkaz, Russia, Elena Tsallagova studied at the St Petersburg Conservatory. On graduating she performed several roles at the Mariinsky Theatre, winning first prize in the Rachmaninoff competition.

She then studied interpretation with Ileana Cotrubas and in 2006 entered the young artists programme at the Opéra National de Paris. In 2008 she was invited to perform the title role in The Cunning Little Vixen at the Opéra Bastille, for which she received outstanding reviews. The DVD of the production was awarded DVD of the year at the 2009 Victoires de La Musique.

Elena then began a two year contract with the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich where she sang Despina (Così fan Tutte), Sophie (Werther), Nannetta (Falstaff), Zerlina (Don Giovanni) and Musetta (La Bohème).  She was invited back to sing Mélisande in 2015.

She made her UK debut as Nannetta with Glyndebourne Touring Opera in 2009, returning to Glyndebourne 2013 in the same role. She also performed the title role in The Cunning Little Vixen at the festival in 2016.

Following her debut at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro in summer 2012, Elena sang La Contessa de Folleville at Opera Vlaanderen in Il Viaggio a Reims. Following her engagement at the Teatro Real in Madrid in L’incoronazione di Poppea, she was invited to sing Cherubino there in 2014. She returned to the Opéra de Paris to sing her first Mélisande, directed by Philippe Jordan (released on DVD). Her roles in Paris also include Nannetta, Musetta and the Woodbird in Siegfried.

Elena has a privileged relationship with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, premiering the roles of Micaela, Adina, Gilda, Pamina, Liu, Corinna and Violetta there.

Her concert performances include her debut at the Lucerne Festival in a programme of Bach Cantatas and her return there in The Bells (Rachmaninoff), Ravel’s Schehezade with the MDR Leipzig, and Mozart Concert Arias with concerto Köln conducted by Ivor Bolton as part of their anniversary. A regular recitalist, Elena recently performed an eclectic Franco-Russian programme at the Paris Opera.

Among the highlights of the 2017/2018 season were her return to the Opéra de Paris for Pelléas et Mélisande and her debut at the Lyric Opera Chicago in Cosi fan tutte.

The 2018/2019 season saw her debut at the Dutch National Opera as Mélisande and her return to the Opera Vlaanderen as Leïla in a new production of Les Pêcheurs de Perles. In Berlin she debuted as Violetta and reprised the role of the Princess in a new production of Der Zwerg.

In the 2019/2020 season she returns once again to the Paris Opera as Musetta and sings Pamina, Violetta and a new staged production of the Saint Matthew Passion in Berlin, and Violetta in Stuttgart. She also debuts at the Mozartwoche Salzburg in Bob Wilson’s new production of The Messiah.

2019/2020 Season

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“Elena Tsallagova, [who] was the Mélisande of one’s dreams. Not only did she look like a Pre-Raphaelite damsel right out of a painting by Edward Burne-Jones, with whom Maeterlinck was obsessed, but she sang as if Debussy wrote the role especially for her. So natural was her phrasing that it was easy to forget that she was singing, not just acting, despite her clear, liquid soprano. And she broke your heart whenever Mélisande made one of her forlorn statements of unhappiness, such as “Je suis malade ici”.”

Jenny Camilleri


“Elena Tsallagova was outstanding as the unbalanced Contessa di Folleville, her agile soprano able to reach coloratura heights without apparent effort or loss of quality.”

John McCann


“Elena Tsallagova [was] an enchanting Nanetta, her voice of spun gold.”

Mark Valencia

Classical Source

More Reviews

“Elena Tsallagova was outstanding as the unbalanced Contessa di Folleville, her agile soprano able to reach coloratura heights without apparent effort or loss of quality. “

John McCann, Opera

“Elena Tsallagova [was] an enchanting Nanetta, her voice of spun gold.”

Mark Valencia, Classical Source

“Elena Tsallagova, en Nannetta, est l’autre grande réussite de la soirée. Tour à tour espiègle ou ingénue, sa composition dramatique est également d’une grande justesse, dans un rôle pourtant bien différent de la Mélisande où nous avons pu l’entendre. Puissante et mélodieuse, sa voix enchante la salle.
[Another of the evening’s great successes is Elena Tsallagova as Nanetta. Alternately playful and naïve, her dramatic composition is also greatly accurate, although in a completely different role than that of Mélisande, which is what we had heard of her. The powerfulness and melodiousness of her voice delight the audience.]

Marie Torrès, Artistikrezo

“Elena Tsallagova, qui fut sur cette scène une touchante Mélisande la saison passée, séduit d’emblée par la fraîcheur de son timbre et la splendeur de ses aigus filés.
[Elena Tsallagova, who was a moving Mélisande last season on this very stage, charms the audience immediately with her youthful timbre and splendid soft high notes.]

Christian Peter, Forum Opéra

“Une Mélisande remarquable, à la fois froide et corporelle (comme le souhaitait Barthes), excellente dans les parties lyriques plus difficiles – une des seules à passer constamment la barre de la fosse.
[She is a remarquable Mélisande, both seemingly absent and physically present (as was Barthes’ wish). She is excellent in the most difficult lyrical sections and is one of the only singers who are constantly heard over the orchestra.]

Marie Gil, Opéra magazine

“Elena Tsallagova, Folleville à la plastique – vocale et physique – irréprochable, qui flirte sans mal avec l’aigu le plus extrême sans renoncer pour autant à mordre le fruit d’un soprano charnu, déjà lyrique.
[Elena Tsallagova, singing Folleville, whose voice and physique are irreproachable, flirts with the highest notes without any difficulty all the while reaching a luscious, already lyrical soprano.]

Christophe Rizoud, Forum Opéra

“Rhythms, with the very occasional exception, were taut and the structure was admirably clear. Elena Tsallagova showed herself as agile of voice as she was on stage, in the title role. Her rapport with Hannah Esther Minutillo’s Fox was genuinely moving, whatever reservations one might entertain in principle about a couple of foxes falling in love.”

Mark Berry, Seen and Heard International