Elbenita Kajtazi. Photo by Simon Pauly 2017

Elbenita Kajtazi. Photo by Simon Pauly 2017

While soldiers held a gun to her head, seven-year-old Elbenita Kajtazi sang in her mind. Now, 20 years later, the Kosovan soprano’s voice has enchanted audiences at Glyndebourne.

As a child living in Mitrovica, a city that is still divided, she loved to sing. But during the war that drove her family and thousands of others from their homes it was often unsafe to do so aloud. This weekend, on her first trip to England, Kajtazi, 27, won the audience prize at the inaugural Glyndebourne Opera Cup.

“Singing for me is like therapy. When we were able to return home after the war everyone was so happy to be alive, so no one would talk about what happened,” she told The Times.

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