Mezzo-soprano Irena Petkova was born in Bulgaria. After graduating in singing from the Sofia Conservatory, she soon became a soloist at the Sofia State Opera. After a European concert tour, particularly after winning a special prize at the Boris Hristov International Singing Competition, she became a regular guest at many opera houses in Europe, especially in Germany. Her repertoire consists mainly of roles from Mozart’s operas and from the Italian tradition of bel canto (Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini), high and late romanticism (Verdi, Puccini) and verismo (Leoncavallo, Mascagni, Puccini). Among her most notable portrayals is the title role of Bizet’s Carmen. Furthermore, she has also enjoyed great critical acclaim for her portrayals of Rosina (The Barber of Seville), Adalgisa (Norma), Fenena (Nabucco), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), the Old Woman (Candide), etc. She has been also a prolific concert singer, particularly in France and Spain, and made her debut in the Great Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. Since 2006 she has been a soloist at the Maribor Opera, where she appeared in numerous opera productions, including Falstaff, The Magic Flute, Candide, Un ballo in maschera, Nabucco, Norma, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Lakmé, The Barber of Seville, Faust, The Queen of Spades, La forza del destino, Eugene Onegin, Die Fledermaus, Werther, etc. Her most recent stage portrayals include the roles of Frugola, the Monitress and La Ciesca from Puccini’s Il triticco (Il tabarro, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi). Her most recent signature portrayals include important mezzo-soprano roles such as Amneris (Aida), Ježibaba (Rusalka), Delilah (Samson and Delilah), Azucena (Il trovatore) and Bersi (Andrea Chénier). In the 2022/2023 season she debuted as Laura Adorno in Ponchielli’s opera La Gioconda.