Entertainment & Arts

Breakdancing opera singer steps in as Glyndebourne leading lady pulls out

Elizabeth DeShong will be replaced by Jakub Jozef Orlinski Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Elizabeth DeShong will be replaced by Jakub Jozef Orlinski

A breakdancing opera singer will replace the leading lady in Glyndebourne Opera's production of Handel's Rinaldo after she pulled out "for personal reasons".

Polish singer Jakub Jozef Orlinski, 28, will take over from US mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong in the title role.

The part of Rinaldo was written as a man but can be performed by a female mezzo-soprano or a male counter tenor.

Orlinski is part of the breakdancing collective Skill Fantastikz Crew.

He has also modelled for fashion brands like Nike and Levi's.

"Breakdancing is about freestyling. There are no right or wrong moves," he has said. "Stage directors love performers with an acrobatic ability. I included one of my power moves, the windmill, when I sang Erismena at the Château De Versailles."

Orlinski was already in the Glyndebourne cast, and his character Eustazio will now played by Patrick Terry.

In a statement, Orlinski said the title role was "a soldier with a big heart", who "I can really relate to".

He said: "When Glyndebourne offered me jumping in for Rinaldo I didn't know what to say. I mean I right away agreed, but I was absolutely not expecting something like that.

"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."

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