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 she is a currently a principal singer of the Hamburgische Staatsoper. 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.
Kajtazi is a principal singer of the Hamburg State Opera, where roles this season include Micaela Carmen, title role of Massenet Manon, Liu Turandot and Mimi La boheme. Also in 2022/23, Kajtazi makes her debut appearances with the Bayerische Staatsoper as Gretel Hansel und Gretel and Opera de Lyon as Susanna Le nozze di Figaro, returns to the Deutsche Oper Berlin for their staged performances of Bach The St Matthew Passion, and sings Juliette Romeo et Juliette at the Opera de Rouen. Last season, Kajtazi made her debut with the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin as Gretel, sang La Contessa Le nozze di Figaro in Erfurt, debuted the role of Mimi in Dresden, appeared as Sophie Der Rosenkavalier for the Opéra National de Bordeaux and performed many roles in Hamburg, including Violetta La Traviata, Gretel and Manon.
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 State Opera. 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 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, before 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 Der Rosenkavalier at Teatro Municipal de Santiago, sang Gretel in Essen and Pamina Die Zauberflöte at the Semperoper Dresden.
From 2014 to 2016, Kajtazi held a Young Artist fellowship at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where roles included Frasquita Carmen, Gianetta L’elisir d’amore, Papagena and Pamina Die Zauberflöte, Annina La Traviata, Anna Nabucco, Shepherd Tannhäuser, Bianca La Rondine, Sandmännchen and Taumännchen Hänsel und Gretel, Voice from Above Don Carlos, Frantík and Grasshopper The Cunning Little Vixen, First Elf Die ägyptische Helena, Fifth Maid Elektra‚ and Contessa Ceprano Rigoletto. That season Kajtazi began a longstanding collaboration with her singing teacher Caroline Isabel Merz. In October 2015, Kajtazi was heard as Bianca La Rondine with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, performing at Prinzregententheater Munich. In Autumn 2016, she sang concerts of Pulcinella as well as Musetta 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 as Adina, Pamina, Violetta, Liu, Gretel, Musetta, Adele, and Annina 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"