A STOURBRIDGE soprano is starring in Midland Opera’s production of Puccini's Turandot - the popular opera known for its famous aria Nessun Dorma.

Graphic designer Lorraine Payne, who lives and works in the Old Quarter, plays a pivotal role in Puccini’s last opera which is being staged at Birmingham’s Crescent Theatre until Saturday October 13.

The busy mum-of-two has been a lead soprano with the opera company for a number of years - playing many parts including the title role in Carmen.

She says she doesn’t know how she finds the time to juggle motherhood, work and her passion for singing but said: “I simply can't not sing, so I approach all areas of my life with the same enthusiasm, and somehow, with the support of my amazing family, I manage to keep the plates spinning.”

The opera tells the romantic tale of the mythical Princess Turandot, who rules her people with an iron fist and forces any prince seeking to marry her to answer three riddles; and Lorraine plays the role of slave girl Liu who helps to melt the princess’s icy heart.

Taking the title role in the production is Finnish Serafiina Sainio - the first singer from Finland to play the role since Anita Välkki starred at the Royal Opera House in London 50 years ago.

Lorraine said: “The casting is such a national honour that the opening night is to be attended by the Finnish Ambassador to Great Britain, Pekka Huhtaniemi and his wife Liisa.”

Midland Opera's orchestra for the show will include players from the Queen’s Park Sinfonia, comprising musicians from Birmingham Conservatoire who will play from a score adapted to suit the Crescent Theatre.

Tickets for the show, priced £14 to £17 for adults and £6 for children and students, are available on 0121 778 3637 or via website www.midlandopera.com