Elena Kelessidi was born in Chimkent, Kazakhstan, of Greek parentage. She completed her musical studies at Alma Ata where she made her professional debut as Leila in Les Pêcheurs de perles.
In 1992 she moved to Athens and made her debut with the National Opera of Greece as Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) in 1993, followed by Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) and Gilda (Rigoletto). In 1995 she played Donna Anna in a new production of Don Giovanni at the Megaron Hall, directed by Ruggero Raimondi.
Elena sprang to international attention in 1996 when she made her acclaimed debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as Violetta in La Traviata. Since then she has made the role her own with performances at the Bavarian State Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opéra de Monte- Carlo, Zürich Opera and Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the latter conducted by Plácido Domingo. Also in 1998, she made her Vienna debut as Desdemona in a new production of Rossini’s Otello at the Theater an der Wien, conducted by Yehudi Menuhin.
Her many subsequent Royal Opera House roles have included Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare, the Queen of Shemakha in The Golden Cockerel, Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Amina in La Sonnambula, Liú in Turandot, Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Mimi in La bohème and Marguerite in Faust.
Her other roles include Gilda in Rigoletto (Toulouse), Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro (Dallas Opera) while her portrayal of the role of Mimi has been acclaimed in London, at the Paris Opera, Vienna State Opera, with the Canadian Opera Company and in her debut with both the Metropolitan Opera New York and the Staatsoper Berlin.
One of the highlights of Elena’s career was her role debut as Liú in a new production of Turandot in Amsterdam, with a new finale composed by Luciano Berio and conducted by Riccardo Chailly. She has since sung the role worldwide in venues ranging from Baltimore, Covent Garden and Japan.