when she sings...

it's like melted chocolate,

dark, deep and rich

keeping alive the vanishing contralto

more about

The deep, resonant, open-throated contralto sound is unique, as if it were being drawn up out of the earth.


Irini Tzanetoulakou

Irini is originally from Patras, Greece and finished her Masters at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht in May 2013, studying with Jon Thorsteinsson. She is also a trained actress (outstanding graduate of "Contemporary Theatre of Athens" Drama School) and a Graduate of Biology in Patras University, Greece.

She has performed regularly on the opera and concert platform as well as theatre and dance theatre one. She has cooperated with distinguished artists of all fields in performances in: Greece, Netherlands, Germany, France, Romania, Egypt and Australia. A versatile and innovative artist, Irini often combines in her work, classical singing with contemporary dance/movement and theatre elements.

She has sung in masterclasses with Cheryl Studer, Pieter Alferink, Martyn van den Hoek, Dimitris Tiliakos, Christina Giannakopoulou and conductors Frank Adams and Nikos Vassiliou. She has been also giving singing classes in Patra’s Municipal Theatre Drama School and Athens Opera Conservatory and several seminars. Currently she is based in Belgium.

Her latest projects include:

"Actions and Post-Theatre of Joan Brossa". Music Theatre Performance by PartSuspended. Directed by Hari Marini, Queen Mary University, London,UK, May 2018

"She said", Devised Theatre by PartSuspended. Directed by Hari Marini, National Theatre of Greece, experimental stage, Athens, Greece, April 2018

"Curriculum Vitae" by La Verita Dance Company, multidisciplinary performance, Le Bateau Feu/Scene Nationale Dunkerque, France, February-March 2017

"Dia-dromos", Video Performance, music: Anna Mouzaki, poetry: Eftychia Panagiotou, Contemporary Music and Poetry Festival, Athens, March 2017

"Women in War" by Tassos Ioannides (Polyxeni), Opera (world premiere), Arts Centre Melbourne, Australia, July-August 2015

"Lullaby Baby", a staged version of "Kindertotenlieder" by G.Mahler and "A Charm of Lullabies" by B.Britten, Thessaloniki Concert Hall, Greece, December 2015

What defines a true Contralto?

Due to the rareness of the voice type, more often than not, Mezzos or Counter Tenors cross over into the Contralto repertoire. While Mezzo Sopranos make their own unique contributions to the world of singing, the Contralto experience is quite a different one altogether. And while Counter Tenors are often hired in place of Mezzos or Contraltos, especially in oratorio, they offer yet another auditory experience beyond the true Contralto.

“The contralto voice cannot be acquired; it is God-given.”

Eric Myers

Irini Tzanetoulakou's Polyxeni is grounded with salt-of-the-earth directness and a haunting voice which lives in the dark..

An excellent Contralto: Irini Tzanetoulakou, possessing a dark voice color, immaculate phrasing and a very good technique. Self controlled as well as sentimental, a trained actress who therefore knows what interpretation is