The Russian soprano completed her degree in singing at the State Conservatory of Voronezh under the guidance of baritone Mikhail Podkopaev. After winning several important international competitions, still being student at La Scala's Accademia she was chosen by Maestro Riccardo Muti for the 2003/2004 season opening production of La Scala as Anaï in Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon. Since then she has portrayed numerous roles on this prestigious stage: Adina in L’elisir d’amore, the title role of Maria Stuarda, Marguerite in Faust , Nannetta in Falstaff, Oksana in Čerevički, the title role of Sancta Susanna and her first Violetta in La traviata in 2007 in Liliana Cavani's production conducted by Lorin Maazel, returning to sing the role in the same staging in 2008 and in 2013 in Dmitri Tcherniakov’s new production conducted by Daniele Gatti.
Other engagements have led her to the Metropolitan Opera New York (Gilda in Rigoletto and Musetta in La bohème), the Paris Opera (La traviata, Rigoletto), the Vienna State Opera (La traviata, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni), the Teatro Real of Madrid, Zurich Opera House, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Berlin, the Hamburg State Opera and the Aix-en-Provence Festival (La traviata), the Royal Opera House Covent Garden (Musetta in La bohème), the Dutch National Opera of Amsterdam (Marguerite in Faust) as well as the Arena of Verona (Micaela in Carmen, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni).
In 2017 Ms Lungu added four new Bel Canto roles to her repertoire: Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Teatro Filarmonico of Verona, Elvira in I puritani in Modena, the title role of Anna Bolena at the Avignon Opera House and Corinna in Il viaggio a Reims at the Gran Teatre del Liceu of Barcelona.
Among her engagements of the 2017/18 season are La traviata at the Vienna State Opera, the New National Theatre of Tokyo and the Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni in Prague and at the Vienna State Opera, her debut in the title role of Manon at the ABAO Bilbao, her house debut at the Los Angeles Opera as Gilda in Rigoletto and a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Den Norske Opera of Oslo.
Irina Lungu has sung with many of the world’s greatest conductors, including Riccardo Muti, Lorin Maazel, Daniele Gatti, Michel Plasson, Daniel Oren, Gianandrea Nosea, Nicola Luisotti, Daniel Harding, Gustavo Dudamel, and Stéphane Denève and has worked with stage directors such as Franco Zeffirelli, Luca Ronconi, Robert Carsen, Laurent Pelly, Pierluigi Pizzi, Deborah Warner, Claus Guth, Eimuntas Nekrošius and Liliana Cavani.