Diana Damrau isn’t the first coloratura to tackle Donizetti’s poor, mad Lucia and she won’t be the last, but in this cash-strapped day and age any new opera recording is a cause for celebration. And so is any new disc by one of the world’s most interesting sopranos.

Voted Best Female Singer at this year’s International Opera Awards, Diana Damrau is clearly flavour of the month right now. Her rock-solid reputation for style and reliability regardless of the vocal challenge is allied with a keen sense of fun – witness her commandeering of Maestro Mehta’s podium at a recent Vienna Phil concert. And anyone who has seen her delicious three-in-a-bed romp with Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez in the Met’s Le Comte Ory knows that her instinctive comic timing makes her one of the most watchable and exciting singers on today’s circuit.

Diana Damrau

“I think it’s a natural gift,” Damrau tells me over the phone from Vienna’s Theater an der Wien where she’s just opened in Bizet’s Pearl Fishers. “I love acting. I think I always had a good feeling for timing and I’ve learned more and more since my first performances....