Composer Opera Role
G. Bizet Carmen Carmen
P. Glass Akhnaten Nefertiti
G. F. Handel Giulio Cesare


Giulio Cesare


J. Massenet Werther Charlotte
S. Prokofiev The Love for Three Oranges Linetta
G. Rossini L’italiana in Algeri Isabella
P. I. Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin Olga

Aytaj Shikhalizada

This fall, mezzo-soprano Aytaj Shikhalizada will return to Stadttheater Klagenfurt for her debut as Erda in Wagner’s Siegfried and Ulrica in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera.

In Summer 2022 she made her role and „lake“ stage debut as Suzuki in the new production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly at the Bregenz Festival. The mezzo-soprano won the 2nd prize of the Paris Opera Competition in January 2022. In fall 2021, she returned to Staatsoper Stuttgart to perform the role of Flosshilde in the new production of Das Rheingold, conducted by Cornelius Meister.

In 2020-21 Aytaj completed her second season as a member of the opera studio at the Staatsoper unter den Linden in Berlin, where she was heard in the role of Schäferin in Janáček’s Jenůfa under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. In summer 2019 she sang the role of Olga in a new Jan Eßinger production of Eugene Onegin at the Bregenz Festival, and reprised the same role for her house debut at the Staatstheater Klagenfurt in December 2019. In 2020 a debut at the New National Theater Tokyo as the title role of Händel's Giulio Cesare was cancelled due to COVID.

The mezzo-soprano was an ensemble member at the Theater Dortmund in 2018/19 and made her house and role debut as Rosina in a new production of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia in October 2018. Other roles that season included Nefertiti in a new Theater Dortmund production of Philip Glass's Akhnaten and Linetta in a new production of Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges at the Staatsoper Stuttgart.

The 29-year-old Azerbaijani made her professional European debut in June 2018, when she debuted the role of Isabella in Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri at the Opera Royal de Versailles in a concert performance conducted by Jean-Christophe Spinosi. She is also under contract with Azerbaijani TV and Radio, and regularly appears in her native country on TV and on the concert platform.

The young mezzo-soprano pursued Master's studies in singing with the renowned Professor Claudia Visca at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. In Vienna, she performed the title role of Händel’s Oreste in January 2018, and previously appeared at the Schlosstheater Schönbrunn as Olga in Eugene Onegin, and at the Penzing Institute with scenes from Carmen as well as Charlotte in Massenet’s Werther. For her studies in Vienna, she was the recipient of a scholarship from the Dr. Robert and Lina Thyll-Dürr Foundation.

Aytaj studied voice and piano at the Baku Music Academy from 2010 to 2014 and Bülbil Music School, where she received a Young Performers Diploma with Honors. She is also the recipient of many prizes, including bronze medal for 3rd place at the 2014 Muslim Magomayev International Vocal Competition in Moscow, Grand Prix at the IX Azerbaijan Republic Contest ‘’Springs of the Soul’’ in 2013, and the 'Hope Prize' at the 2012 Bulbul International Vocalists Competition. In 2017, she also competed in the Bertelsmann Neue Stimmen Singing Competition in Gütersloh, Germany.


February 25, 2023

Aytaj Shikhalizada sings Floßhilde at the Staatsoper Stuttgart

The Azerbaijani mezzo-soprano sings Floßhilde in Stephan Kimmig’s production of Das Rheingold under the musical direction of Cornelius Meister.

November 14, 2022

Aytaj Shikhalizada debuts as Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera

The talented mezzo-soprano made her role debut at Stadttheater Klagenfurt, conducted by Nicholas Milton. The production was directed by Bernd Mottl.

September 22, 2022

Aytaj Shikhalizada sings Erda in Siegfried

The talented Azerbaijani mezzo-soprano celebrated her successful role debut at Stadttheater Klagenfurt, where she will also be seen as Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera later this year.

July 29, 2022

Aytaj Shikhalizada makes her role debut as Suzuki in Madame Butterfly at the Bregenzer Festspiele

Azerbaijani mezzo-soprano Aytaj Shikhalizada made her wonderful debut at this year’s Bregenzer Festspiele, conducted by Yi-Chen Lin. The large-scale production was directed by Andreas Homoki.

January 22, 2022

Aytaj Shikhalizada wins 2nd Prize at the 2022 Paris Opera Competition!!

Mezzo-soprano Aytaj Shikhaliizada walks away with the 2nd Prize at the Paris Opera Competition, performing works by Rossini, Mozart and Rimsky-Korsikov! The competition will be available for viewing on Mezzo.tv shortly!

February 25, 2021

Aytaj Shikhalizada debuts in Jenufa at the Berlin State Opera

The young mezzo, a member of the Studio of the Berlin State Opera, appeared in the 3SAT Film of Janacek’s Jenufa alongside Camilla Nylund conducted by Simon Rattle on Feb 13, 2021. Watch the broadcast on 3 SAT: https://www.3sat.de/kultur/musik/jenufa-oper-in-drei-akten-102.html

August 11, 2019

Shira Patchornik and Aytaj Shikhalizada debut as Tatjana and Olga at the Bregenzer Festspiele

Soprano Shira Patchornik and Mezzo Aytaj Shikhalizada make their debuts as sisters Tatjana and Olga at the Bregenzer Festspiele in Tchaikovsky’s classic Eugene Onegin. The premiere is tomorrow evening August 12th at 19:30. Toi toi toi ladies!

Conducted by: Valentin Uryupin

Stage Direction by: Jan Eßinger

Additional Performances: 13., 15., and 17., of August

May 23, 2019

Aytaj Shikhalizada debuts as Nofretete in Philip Glass’s Echnaton

Mezzo soprano Aytaj Shikhalizada will make her role debut as Nofretete at the Theater Dortmund in a new production of Philip Glass’s minimalistic masterpiece Echnaton. The premiere is tomorrow, May 24th! Toi toi toi Aytaj!
Conducted by Motonori Kobayashi, Stage direction by Giuseppe Spota and Pasquale Plastino
Additional Perfromances: 26. May
01., 07., 09., 20., 21., 22., 29., June

January 17, 2019

Baritone Neven Crnic, Soprano Carina Schmieger, and Mezzo-soprano Aytaj Shikhalizada to be featured in the Emmerich Smola SWR Young Opera Stars 2019 on January 19!

We are very proud to announce three of our young artists, Neven Crnic, Soprano Carina Schmieger, and Mezzo-soprano Aytaj Shikhalizada have been invited to participate in the 2019 Emmerich Smola Junge Opernstars Competition on January 19 at 19:00 CET!  Watch the livestream here

December 6, 2018

Mezzo Soprano Aytaj Shikhalizada makes house debut at the Staatsoper Stuttgart!

This past weekend the talented azerbaijani mezzosoprano Aytaj Shikhalizada made her dazzling debut as ‘Linetta’ in the new production of Sergei Prokofiev’s opera Die Liebe zu den drei Orangen!  Dir. Axel Ranisch, Conducted by Alejo Pérez, additional performances 14, 17, and 19 December,  4 and 11 January, and  9, 14, and 22 of April.