Highly strung sopranos reach diva pitch

Do you have to be a diva to take on Tosca?
  • @jessicaduchen

Does a soprano have to be a diva herself to be a great Tosca? The spotlight falls on two fast-rising stars who take on the role in turn at the Royal Opera House.

Amanda Echalaz, 36, (above right) from South Africa, thinks not. She shot to prominence in the work at Opera Holland Park in 2008: "Playing someone so extreme can be liberating. I'm a little calmer in real life," she says.

But the Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais, 33, (above left) whose 2011 Royal Opera House debut Puccini's Madama Butterfly took her audience by storm, says: "Tosca is like me! She's an opera singer and she's very jealous."

She adds: "divas" are inherently "not normal". "You're nervous, you are afraid whether the audience will love you or not."

'Tosca', Royal Opera House, London, WC2 (www.roh.org.uk) tonight to 20 July