Krisztina Laki is a Hungarian soprano who has been praised over the years by critics for the versatility and range of her voice. Laki's vocal traits have enabled her to choose a wide selection of roles: Adele in Johann Strauss, Jr.'s Die Fledermaus; Oscar in Verdi's Un ballo in Maschera; Aminta in Richard Strauss' Die Schweigsame Frau; Clymene in Jommelli's Fetonte; Pamina in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, and many others, including several from contemporary works. She was perhaps best known for her portrayal of Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto, having achieved great success with it in Berne, Switzerland, where she made her professional operatic debut, and in Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Budapest, San Francisco, and other major operatic venues. Her concert repertory has also been broad and her successes in that realm equally impressive. Laki has made numerous recordings for several labels, including Hungaroton, EMI, Orfeo D'or, and Deutsche Harmonia Mundi.
Laki was born on September 16, 1944, in Budapest, Hungary. She studied music at the Franz Liszt Academy with famed Hungarian tenor József Réti. Her 1976 debut in Berne launched her career with spectacular notice, and she continued to draw international acclaim with her first Salzburg Festival appearance that same year. At La Scala the following year, she scored another successful debut singing Blonde in Mozart's Il Seraglio.
From 1979 she was taken on as a principal member of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf. Additional international debuts of note soon followed, including at the 1979 Glyndebourne Festival and the San Francisco Opera in 1981. In 1983 she began appearing in guest engagements at the Cologne Opera and soon at other important operatic venues in Berlin, London, Prague, Rome, Munich, Hamburg, Barcelona, and in major U.S. cities.
Laki was also busy in the recording studio. Some of her more significant efforts involved unusual repertory items such as the 1989 Elektra CD of Salieri's Prima la Musica, coupled with Mozart's Der Schauspieldirektor, and the 1994 Supraphon recording of the Josef Myslivecek opera Il Bellerofonte. Laki had success in more standard fare, of course, like the 1999 Angel release of Haydn's The Seasons. In 2000 Laki retired from singing, but remained active as a teacher at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich. Several of her older recordings have gained currency, like the 2004 reissue of Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 2 on EMI Classics.