Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian has quickly established herself as one of the world’s leading interpreters of Verdi and Puccini.
In the 2018-2019 season, Haroutounian opens the San Francisco Opera as Nedda in José Cura’s new production of Pagliacci. She makes her house debuts at the Wiener Staatsoper and the Gran Teatre del Liceu in the title role of Madama Butterfly and will return to the Teatro Real, Madrid as Leonora in Francisco Négrin’s new production of Il trovatore. She also sings Elisabeth in Peter Konwitschny’s production of the complete Don Carlos at the Staatsoper Hamburg and the title role of Iolanta at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia.
Highlights of Haroutounian’s recent seasons include numerous performances as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, which she has sung at San Francisco Opera, Staatsoper Hamburg, and Seattle Opera to great acclaim, as well as Elisabetta in Don Carlo with which she made her debuts at both the Staatsoper Berlin and Deutsche Oper, Berlin. She also reprised Tosca for her Palau de les Arts debut, Leonora in Il trovatore at Covent Garden, and Amelia in a concert performance of Simon Boccanegra at the Concertgebouw, with James Gaffigan’s conducting the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest.
Haroutounian gained international recognition in 2013 when she replaced an ailing colleague as Elisabetta in Verdi’s Don Carlo at the Royal Opera House conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano. Following her instant success as Elisabetta, the Royal Opera House invited her to perform the role of Hélène in Stefan Herheim’s new production of Les Vêpres Siciliennes (a performance captured on video by Warner Classics), the final revival of John Copley’s beloved production of La bohème, and a new production of Il trovatore conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Highlights from Lianna Haroutounian’s prior seasons include: Elisabetta at the Metropolitan Opera conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, at the Opernhaus Zürich conducted by Fabio Luisi, and at the Verbier Festival; Amelia in Simon Boccanegra at the Metropolitan Opera conducted by James Levine; Tosca at the San Francisco Opera; Adriana Lecouvreur at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie; Desdemona at the Teatro Real, Teatro di San Carlo and Opera Australia; Hélène at Oper Frankfurt; and Marguerite in Faust at the Opéra de Massy.
An avid concert singer, Haroutounian’s repertoire includes the Verdi Requiem, Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Petite Messe Solennelle, and Dvorak’s Stabat Mater. She has also given numerous recitals in the United States, France, Spain, Italy, and her native Armenia.
Born in Metsamor, Haroutounian studied Voice and Piano at the National Conservatory of Yerevan. She continued her studies at the Centre de Formation Lyrique de l’Opéra-Bastille. Haroutounian is based in France.
“No one could say that the splendor of Haroutounian’s artistry — the shimmery firmness of her sound, the voluptuous swell and fall of her vocal phrasing, the intensity and grandeur of her stage presence — came as any kind of surprise.”Joshua Kosman
“As Leonora, Lianna Haroutounian reveals the most sumptuous yet sensitive soprano in ‘Di tale amor’ and imbues her pleasingly elegant movement with just the right level of charge.”Sam Smith
Madama Butterfly, San Francisco Opera 2016
“No one could say that the splendor of Haroutounian’s artistry — the shimmery firmness of her sound, the voluptuous swell and fall of her vocal phrasing, the intensity and grandeur of her stage presence — came as any kind of surprise.”
“The Madama Butterfly of Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian may well become recognized as the Butterfly of our time, indeed one of the great Butterflies of all times…Mlle. Haroutounian still does not exude the complexities of a diva and this brings the sheen of innocence to her Butterfly that makes it operatically true. The purity of voice that casts her as the unstained Verdi heroine, and the security of her vocal technique sustain the youth and stamina of the 18-year-old Butterfly. The strength and beauty of tone throughout the role’s range underscore the moral certitude of this simple and courageous geisha. The excited Saturday night audience understood and felt the gravity of Butterfly’s strength and innocence, and awarded Mlle. Haroutounian an ovation the size of which I have never before witnessed in the War Memorial Opera House.”
“As Cio-Cio-San, the lovestruck Japanese teen whose sham marriage to an American serviceman ends in tragedy, the soprano inhabits the role completely and decisively, tracing the character’s arc from shy hopefulness to utter despair. The role’s gleaming high notes and poignant utterances are hers to command, and she made the most of them throughout this revival.
Mining the deep vein of emotionalism in Puccini’s soaring score, her voluptuous, artfully shaded vocalism and delicately nuanced characterization added up to a gripping portrayal, and her expressive singing in the role’s great set pieces, including the timeless Act II aria, “Un bel di,” was nothing short of brilliant.”
Il Trovatore, Royal Opera House, July 2016
“As Leonora, Lianna Haroutounian reveals the most sumptuous yet sensitive soprano in ‘Di tale amor’ and imbues her pleasingly elegant movement with just the right level of charge.”
“Haroutounian sings with grace, charm and real refinement.”
La Boheme, Opera Australia, May 2016
Haroutounian has attracted rave reviews for her recent performances at major houses such as the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera and it was soon plain to see why. When she soared to her first high note in the opening act, the Wow! factor was enough to make the most reluctant opera goers sit up and pay attention, convinced that they had got their money’s worth. Smooth, generous and glowing at the top of the range, clear and attractive in the middle and with enough weight to give the dark passion of “grande come il mare… profunda” its oceanic depth in Mimì’s final aria, her spectacular voice alone merits full houses. The enthusiastic applause and bravos at the end of her first aria came as no surprise.
Simon Boccanegra, Metropolitan Opera, April 2016
“Haroutounian began with a simple and attractive luminosity and then, throughout the performance, added increasing levels of musical and emotional depth—she guided the dramatic direction of the performance as much as [Placido] Domingo. Her high notes, sung with as rich, rounded, and clear tone as everything else, were prominent, but the way she shaped her lines, building to climaxes, was scintillating.”
“Haroutounian is making only her second appearance at the Met – she debuted last season in Don Carlo – and she is a thrilling addition to the roster. She has a lilting and silvery voice, full of joy, that climbs effortlessly to the upper registers.”
“The soprano Lianna Haroutounian, as Amelia, boasted a big, plush, youthful voice…throbbing intensity filled every phrase.”
Anthony Tommassini, New York Times
Tosca, San Francisco Opera, October 2014
“But Haroutounian’s Tosca, unveiled at the War Memorial Opera House in the course of a traditional but largely effective revival, was more than just a virtuoso display of vocal prowess. It was a dramatic depiction of a woman for whom that artistry was essential to her very character.”
Otello, Teatro di San Carlo, Naples, April 2014
Lianna Haroutounian was at her finest in an intense conception of the role. Her Desdemona complemented Otello’s disturbed temperament, with a convincing interpretation of a young bride, chaste and naïve, who reacts audaciously to her husband’s false charges, at the beginning of Act III. Her “Willow Song” and the Ave Maria were beautifully sung. Haroutounian’s rich, full tones produced such tender pain and prayerful compassion that she created a real empathy with the audience.
Les Vêpres Siciliennes, Royal Opera House, October 2013
Lianna Haroutounian was equally impressive as Hélène, particularly as she had only stepped into the part after the original choice dropped out. The role places huge demands on the voice of the singer, stretching both higher and lower than most soprano parts but Haroutounian was fully up to them.