Operatic mezzo stuns with impromptu Bizet ‘Habanera’ in busy London restaurant

11 April 2024, 18:23 | Updated: 19 April 2024, 14:01

Aigul Akhmetshina sings an impromptu Carmen
Aigul Akhmetshina sings an impromptu Carmen. Picture: Instagram / Aigul Akhmetshina

By Kyle Macdonald

The opera world’s new star singer creates a sensation in a packed London eatery, with one of Bizet’s most delectable arias.

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One of London’s top Italian restaurants got an unexpected dose of opera, as one of today’s finest opera singers stopped by for a meal with some musical friends.

Star mezzo Aigul Akhmetshina is just beginning her run singing Bizet’s Carmen at the Royal Opera House. A few nights ago, she was with friends and fellow singers from the production. Taking a break from the rigours of the opera stage, they enjoyed a meal together at an iconic restaurant in London’s West End: Giovanni’s of Covent Garden.

And as always, when singers are united with great food, a special moment of music is never too far away.

With her Covent Garden colleagues clapping along to the famous ‘Habanera’ dance rhythm, Aigul Akhmetshina took the lead like the true diva she is.

Tables were tapped as drums, and wine glasses clinked in time as Aigul serenaded the packed restaurant with the famous aria from Carmen. Bizet would have been proud as his infectious Spanish magic rang through the central London restaurant. Watch her performance below.

Read more: How Bizet’s Carmen came to be the soundtrack of Formula One racing

The eager theatrics of her clapping colleagues brought Aigul to the brink of laughter, but with a deep breath she gave her all in the showstopping high note to end the aria.

“Habanera rendition from our team night out!”, Aigul wrote when posting the video of her impromptu performance. “Can’t promise this at the show, but the spirit is there.”

Piotr Beczala sings Don Jose alongside Aigul Akhmetshina as Carmen at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Piotr Beczala sings Don Jose alongside Aigul Akhmetshina as Carmen at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Picture: Alamy

In 2022, Aigul was named one of Classic FM’s 30 under 30 rising stars. Earlier this year she was signed to the prestigious record label Decca, before becoming the talk of the opera world when she became the youngest soprano ever to sing Carmen at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Listen to her new Bizet recording here.

This spring, she brings the magic of the famous opera role to the Royal Opera House.

If you don’t already have the much-in-demand tickets to the London show, there will be both live and encore cinema screenings around the country from 1 May. Find out more details from the Royal Opera House here.

And as anyone lucky enough to be near Giovanni’s of Covent Garden this week can reliably attest, Aigul is in very fine voice indeed!