Breakdancing opera singer to perform as lead LADY at Glyndebourne

As well as being a star opera singer, Orliński is part of a breakdance collective known as Skills Fantastikz Crew. Jakub Józef Orliński/Facebook

A prize-winning breakdancing male opera star will replace the leading lady at a prestigious music festival after the female lead dropped out.

Jakub Józef Orliński, one of the rising stars of international opera, will perform in Handel’s Rinaldo at the Glyndebourne Opera after Elizabeth DeShong, an American mezzo-soprano, pulled out of the role for personal reasons.

The Glyndebourne performance will be another feather in the cap of the 28-year-old singer, who has already performed at leading music venues across the world including Carnegie Hall, and won high praise from the critics.Jakub Józef Orliński/Facebook

The Warsaw-born counter-tenor, who completed a Master’s degree in vocal performance at Warsaw’s Fryderyk Chopin School of Music, will take to the stage in Rinaldo next month in a role that can be performed by a woman or a man.

The 28-year-old said: “When Glyndebourne offered me jumping in as Rinaldo I didn't know what to say. I mean I right away agreed, but I was absolutely not expecting something like that.”Jakub Józef Orliński/Facebook

The Glyndebourne performance will be another feather in the cap of the 28-year-old singer, who has already performed at leading music venues across the world including Carnegie Hall, and won high praise from the critics.

The New York Times wrote of him “combing beauty of tone and an uncommon unity of colour and polish across his range.”

Orliński will perform in Handel’s Rinaldo at the Glyndebourne Opera after American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong pulled out of the role for personal reasons.Jakub Józef Orliński/Facebook

But to some Polish audiences he is also recognised for skills that have little in common with the high-brow world of opera.

Orliński is part of a breakdance collective known as Skills Fantastikz Crew, and has been something of a hit on the dance floor owing to his athletic performances.


His breakdancing skill have helped him pull in a number of prizes such as second places in competitions such as the Stylish Strike – Top Rock contest, and the Style Control competition.

His athletic dancing skills, coupled with good looks, have also won him a number of modelling roles, appearing in advertisements for Levi’s, Nike and Mercedes Benz.

Founded in 1934, the Glyndebourne Opera House in the UK is one of the most prestigious opera venues in the world.Wolfiewolf/Wikimedia

But speaking about his chance to star in Rinaldo Orliński said it was a “huge opportunity”.

“When Glyndebourne offered me jumping in for Rinaldo I didn't know what to say,” he said in a statement. “I mean I right away agreed, but I was absolutely not expecting something like that.

In March this year, Orliński finished recording his second album with the Pomo d'Oro orchestra.Jakub Józef Orliński/Facebook

"I was very happy to get such an offer and I am really grateful that Glyndebourne trust in me and gives me such a huge opportunity to sing such a fantastic role in a such a great production."