In 2024 Northern Irish soprano Giselle Allen makes her debut at Sydney Opera House to reprise the role of Tosca with Opera Australia and returns to Opera North to sing Santuzza Cavalleria Rusticana. In 2023 she performed Praskov’ya Osipovna Nos (The Nose) at La Monnaie, Brussels and 3rd Norn Götterdämmerung for Opernhaus Zürich. Celebrated for her strong character portrayals, recent highlights include her debut in the title role of Elektra for Irish National Opera, Miss Jessel The Turn of the Screw for La Monnaie (streamed live to European audiences) and the cover of Ellen Orford Peter Grimes for The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Previously she has sung Ellen Orford at Bergen International Festival, under the baton of Ed Gardner, at Berlin’s Komische Oper and in the renowned 2013 Aldeburgh Music production of Grimes on the Beach (broadcast on BBC4 and released on DVD). In 2020 she sang Anna Maurrant Street Scene for Opera North having recently sung Mila Osud and the title role Salome for the Company. She has also sung Gutrune, Gerhilde and Freia Der Ring des Nibelungen in the celebrated Opera North concert stagings, conducted by Richard Farnes, which toured the UK and were broadcast live on BBC4.
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Giselle Allen has appeared in many productions with Northern Ireland Opera, including Mimi La bohème and Senta Der Fliegende Höllander and has appeared with RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in the role of Minnie La fanciulla del West. For several years, Giselle has established a versatile career across the major UK opera houses and festivals with highlights including; Magda Sorel The Consul for Welsh National Opera, Musetta La bohème for English National Opera and title roles of Rusalka, Jenůfa and Kat’á Kabanová for Opera North. Highlights of her work abroad include; Miss Jessel with Opéra National de Lyon and Opernhaus Zürich and her debut as Marie Wozzeck and Tatyana Eugene Onegin with the Canadian Opera Company, returning to sing Helena A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She has also appeared as Parassia Sorochintsky Fair and the title role Suor Angelica at the Singapore Lyric Theatre.
Giselle has appeared in many of the major concert halls in the UK and Ireland under the baton of conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Sir David Willcocks and Marin Alsop, and she has recorded with the Ulster Orchestra under Vernon Handley. Concert engagements include Wagner’s Liebestod at St David’s Hall Cardiff, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Philharmonia Orchestra and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass with Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra, Dvorak’s Te Deum with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Salieri’s Prima la Musica poi le Parole andKurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, both for the Edinburgh International Festival. In concert she has sung Geraldine in Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge in the ‘American Series’ at the Barbican, Wellgunde Das Rheingold and Gutrune Götterdämmerung at the Covent Garden Festival, Salome in Massenet’s Herodiade at the Anna Livia International Opera Festival in Dublin, and concert performances of Vitellia La Clemenza di Tito in Malaga.
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YouTube playlist includes:
- Vissi d’arte, Tosca, Puccini
- She is here, in my own room, The Turn of the Screw, Britten
- Embroidery Aria, Peter Grimes, Britten
“The most gripping drama, however is created by Giselle Allen and Robert Hayward as Tosca and Scarpia. Allen matches that in the volatile Act II confrontation by turning her voice – so thrillingly focused at the top – into a guttural snarl of pure hatred. Of all her magnificent performances for Opera North, this is the most terrifying and gripping.”The Times
“Giselle Allen has returned to the title role and reminds us yet again that she is one of the most talented and adaptable sopranos to grace these islands…a passionate, humane artist at work. Her Floria Tosca dominates the opera and “Vissi d’arte” is sung as it is staged – with disarming simplicity – and the sincerity of the text shines through.”Bachtrack
“Yet again, Giselle Allen demonstrates why she is fast becoming one of the UK’s foremost sopranos. Her voice is exquisite, her range phenomenal and she is a wonderful actress. Her heart-breaking naivety at the end of the opera, as she encourages an already dead Cavaradossi not to move, to stay quiet, is simply devastating – definitely the biggest emotional hit of the night.”Manchester Theatres Review
“Irish National Opera, presenting a new staging of this work hit the jackpot with soprano Giselle Allen. She summons immense vocal strength and stamina to contend with Strauss’s vast instrumental forces and project a captivating humanity and emotional intensity in a role that never leaves the stage”.The Irish Times
“Soprano Giselle Allen’s Elektra, manifests her tortured brain with physical recklessness, but a contriving sarcasm adds a layer of playfulness that only enriches the fury. Her magnificent voice was enough to blast away the effects of the drizzle that fell throughout the evening….An Elektra for our times.”Irish Independent
“Soprano Giselle Allen as Anna Maurrant is an Opera North veteran who displayed her dramatic skill and versatility yet again.Memorable for a feisty Tosca in 2018, here she is full of despair. Her “ A boy like You”, addressed to her young son Willie (Louis Parker) was beautifully moving”Bachtrack
“Giselle Allen’s Magda deepened greatly in emotional depth and intensity during the course of the performance. She was at her most powerful in her extended Act 111 solo beginning ‘Paper’s! Paper’s! Paper’s!’ which built to a terrifying intense frenzy in the midst of which there was a clarity of insight that made her an eloquent spokesman for all ( in whatever time, whatever country) going through a similar experience.”Seen and Heard International
“Giselle Allen was simply thrilling as Santuzza, one of the best I have heard. She sang with wonderful amplitude of tone, combining the requisite power with a lovely sweep to the line, and a lack of bumpiness which dramatic sopranos bring to the part…whilst capturing the character’s sadness she had a sense of independence too so that this Santuzza was not whiny.”Robert Hugill
“Giselle Allen has sung Rusalka, Tatyana, Ellen Orford and Jenufa for this company, and her Katya crowns those achievements, marking her as a singing actress of the front rank. This was a moving portrayal. Not since Susan Chilcott have I seen and heard a Katya so obviously on the brink of mental collapse from her first appearance…she excelled in the final mad scene, her farewell to her worthless lover Boris infinitely touching in gesture and vocal expression. She dominated the stage throughout, a poignant and tragic figure.”Opera Magazine