Elīna Garanča


“Garanča’s talents would make her a star in any century” (Opera News)

© Deutsche Grammophon


Elīna Garanča was born into a musical family in Riga, Latvia.  She studied at the Latvian Academy of Music with her mother. She won the Mirjam Helin Singing Competition in 1999 and was a finalist in the 2001 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.

Ms Garanča is an exclusive recording artist with Deutsche Grammophon. She has won four ECHO Klassik awards: ‘Singer of the Year’ in 2007, ‘Vocalist of the Year’ in 2010 and ‘Solo Recording of the Year’ for both her Romantique recording (2012) and Meditation (2015).

Her most recent album Sol y Vida was released in May 2019 and has been unanimously praised by the critics. Gramphone said: “Garanča’s selection of flamboyant Mediterranean and Latin American songs is a predictably good fit for her ripe and beguiling timbre.”

Among other roles, she is particularly famed for her portrayal as Bizet’s Carmen which she has sung at both the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Metropolitan Opera to critical acclaim; the NY Times named her “the finest Carmen in 25 years…”.

Ms Garanča appears regularly at the Vienna Staatsoper, Metropolitan Opera, ROH Covent Garden, Salzburg Festival, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Bayerisches Staatsoper Munich and Deutsche Oper Berlin and continues to perform in various concerts, festivals and recitals all over the world.


From The Green Room


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    Sol y Vida

    Label: Deutsche Grammophon

    Release Date: 10 May 19

    A celebration of love and the long hot days of summer. A very personal selection of music from the Latvian mezzo, the album’s repertoire ranges from well-known Italian love songs to Spanish and Latin American favorites.

    “For me, these many-coloured songs are a perfect reflection of the highly emotional way of life in the South – there’s that almost crazy kind of love, but also a deeply felt sentimentality.” – Elīna Garanča

    This album marks Elīna’s first recording of entirely non-core-classical repertoire, with a colorful program featuring tango, Latin American folk music, and Italian love songs. Karel Mark Chichon conducts the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria.

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    Label: Deutsche Grammophon

    Release Date: 04 Nov 16

    A collection of arias drawn from the great Romantic repertoire, complete with captivating rarities and genuine showstoppers.

    Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana / Roberto Abbado (conductor)

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    Label: Deutsche Grammophon

    Release Date: 03 Sep 12

    Arias by: Berlioz, Donizetti, Gounod, Lalo, Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky & Vaccai.

    Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna / Yves Abel (conductor)

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    Label: Deutsche Grammophon

    Release Date: 01 Aug 10

    Arias by: Bizet, Lehar, Falla et al.

    Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai / Karel Mark Chichon (conductor)

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    'Bel Canto'

    Label: Deutsche Grammophon

    Release Date: 09 Jan 09

    Arias by: Bellini, Donizetti & Rossini.

    Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna / Roberto Abbado (conductor)

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    02 Dec 17 MASCAGNI Cavalleria Rusticana
    Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

    “In the forefront of today’s great operatic artists, the Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca holds an indisputable place. If she isn’t as celebrated in Britain as she should be, that is simply because she hasn’t performed here much (…). But grab at any chance to hear her: she is in her prime and something exceptional, blessed with beauty, presence, actorly instinct, musicality, nous – and above all, the God-given magnificence of voice that is opera’s ultimate selling point.

    Returning to Covent Garden after an eight-year absence, she takes the role of the desperate Santuzza in Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana. There’s not much for her to sing here and the music is rough, red-blooded stuff, but what a wealth of meaning she finds in its broad brush-strokes! Colouring Voi lo sapete with a range of emotions and infusing fierce intensity into the duet with her faithless lover Turiddu, she makes unforgettably vivid an ardent young woman destroyed by a toxic combination of shame and anger.”
    Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

    “…her singing is simply glorious.”
    Michael Church, The Independent

    “Elina Garanca’s luxuriantly sung Santuzza”
    George Hall, The Stage

    “Even better, however, is Elina Garanca as Santuzza. Her voice is thrillingly strong yet warm, and her domestic bust-up with the errant Turiddu seems agonisingly true to life.”
    Catherine Ashmore, The Times

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    14 Apr 17 STRAUSS Der Rosenkavalier
    The Metropolitan Opera

    “Mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča, a revelation as Octavian, the 17-year-old count with whom the older, married Marschallin is having an affair. With her short, fair hair and androgynous allure, Ms. Garanča is eerily convincing in the role of a randy adolescent boy, and her plush, sensual voice is ideal for this vocally demanding music … sung with shimmering sound and impressively focused tone by Ms. Morley and Ms. Garanča.”
    Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

    “Elīna Garanča would easily have had pride of place in the cross-dressing role of Octavian, the young nobleman who is Ochs’ romantic rival. Her voice, cool yet glamorous, subtly suggests an elegant androgyny.”
    James Jorden, Observer

    “The singing is splendid, not only from Fleming, carefully husbanding her resources until the great trio in the finale, but also from Elīna Garanča, who invests the pants role of Octavian, the Marschallin’s young lover, with a mixture of boyish sensitivity and hawk-like watchfulness that balances masculine and feminine impulses on a knife’s edge.”
    Russell Platt, The New Yorker

    “She is credibly and creditably wooed by the impetuous mock-macho Octavian, beautifully and dutifully performed by Elīna Garanča.”
    Martin Bernheimer, The Financial Times

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    10 Nov 16 'Revive' - Album Reviews Deutsche Grammophon

    “Garanča’s voice is full and glamorous with an increased weight behind it, but expressive despite its density.”
    Erica Jeal, The Guardian

    “This is a thrilling disc, rich in a sumptuous quality that has become all too rare . . . Her voice is a gorgeously plum-coloured, velvet-upholstered instrument of awe-inspiring smoothness, power and flexibility, matched to a powerhouse technique and highly intelligent musicality. Her lower register is quite magnificent . . . [Garanca possesses] a dramatic urgency and imposing regality that sits well with the queenly characters that she mostly embodies . . . she is also a beautiful woman and a vivid actress . . . Sensitive accompaniment is provided by the conductor Roberto Abbado and a little-known but vivacious Spanish orchestra and chorus. Highlights include a scintillatingly flamboyant and sinuously phrased performance of Eboli’s “Veil Song” from “Don Carlo” . . . Preziosilla’s merry “Rataplan” from “La Forza del Destino” is done with irresistible élan . . . Saint- Saens’s “Henri VIII” brings this exciting recital by one of the world’s greatest vocalists to a strong conclusion.”
    Rupert Christiansen, The Daily Telegraph

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    29 Mar 16 DONIZETTI Roberto Devereux
    Metropolitan Opera

    ‘As the unhappy Sarah, Elīna Garanča practically stole the show. With her glowing, coppery mezzo and its powerful top notes, she made a touching, youthful foil for Elizabeth in their different ways of being distraught over the same man.’
    Heide Waleson, The Wall Street Journal

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    04 Apr 16 Opera News Awards
    April 2016

    “Garanča’s talents would make her a star in any century”
    Opera News (April 2016)

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    15 Apr 16 Bachtrack Interview

    ‘When I reviewed Elīna Garanča’s Wigmore Hall recital last year, I was struck by her remarkable poise and stillness as a performer. Vocally, hers is probably the most beautiful mezzo voice in the world right now – velvety smooth, with just a flash of silver at the top. She is equally at home on the operatic stage, in Mozart or bel canto roles, or as Octavian or Carmen. In January, I saw her superb Charlotte in Paris. She is one of a remarkable number of Latvians prominent in the classical music world. In our interview, Garanča muses on why so many great voices are emerging from Latvia, as well as discussing key roles, singing competitions, and how her voice is developing.’
    Mark Pullinger, Bachtrack

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    26 Oct 16 Gala Concert
    Prague Philharmonia, Smetana Hall

    “…the sold out Smetana Hall proved that the blonde singer has a large number of admirers in this country. Along with PKF-Prague Philharmonia and her husband Karel Mark Chichon, she prepared an exceptional experience – Gounod’s Repentir opened the concert and determined its course. The singer did not try to break listeners’ hearts with soft heights, she did it with an exceptional determination in delivering expressive and ambiguous arias; she mastered their inner drama perfectly… along with an absolute vocal purity and clarity, Garanča brought the audience to fervor. She did so in the Italian arias (Donizetti, Verdi, Cilea, Mascagni) as well as Bizet’s Carmen, her signature role which ended the official part of the evening…’

    Vladimír Říha, Novinky

    The evening… had a very sophisticated dramaturgy… Elīna Garanča proved at the opening song that she is still the same – a singer with an exceptionally even-tempered voice, of a rich and broad register. Her breathing is spotless, she astonishes with trouble-free heights and she fully embodies the spirit of the arias. The warming melody of Repentir drew the listeners into the charismatic charm of the singer where they remained till the end of the evening. The expressive possibilities of the singer were manifested in the subsequent numbers. She never gives up on the perfect phrasing, her approach to music is exceptionally sensitive, and yet very rational. She treats her voice with a great tenderness; she weights dynamics on the perfect scales. You can hear the softest (sounded) pianissimo, as well as very powerful… She can totally rely on Karel Mark Chichon. Their collaboration is perfect and sets a great example how a singer and a conductor can unite in acoustics and expression, and how to cooperate on the stage – many of our conductors should follow this example…. Chichon manifested his works mainly in orchestra pieces; PKF – Prague Philharmonia was working very hard to meet his requests. The conductor builds the compositions on unusually swift and contrasting tempos, he is dynamic, rhythmical, he often emphasizes individual instruments groups, his demands on the orchestra often border virtuosity… if the singer proclaimed, she is moving towards more dramatic repertoire, then Leonora’s Pace, pace, mio Dio! is probably the outer boarder of this tendency. The very difficult aria which proves dramatic powers of sopranos was almost a provocative choice. Ms Garanca sang the aria with no mistakes, with befitting heights and without any difficulty… I truly admire her Carmen whose seductiveness and witty temperament are not so obvious… she is able to create a Carmen, who is irresistible because her temperament is almost hidden, yet it penetrates through her charismatic expression; this required a lot of drama ability. Carmen of Elīna Garanča can be blonde, she can even look like a cold northerner; yet her charisma does the job done. She is desperately seductive and she cannot be conquered by Don José, or any other toreador. The audience went wild… Elīna Garanča is a great singer; due to her perfect harmony with Karel Mark Chichon, the evening was an exceptional experience…
    Olga Janáčková, 

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    17 Nov 16 Opera Now
    November 2016 issue

    Elīna Garanča features as November 2016’s cover story in Opera Now magazine
    Click to read the full article

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    21 Oct 14 SCHUMANN, BERG, STRAUSS Recital
    Barbican Centre, London

    “She is known and loved for her prowess in the Italian and French repertoire, particularly in opera. But she has the makings of a truly great lieder singer too…”

    “Between the Strauss and her deeply pondered and movingly nuanced Frauenliebe und-Leben, Garanča turned to Alban Berg and his Seven Early Songs, tinting them with the rich colours of an Expressionist canvas and inflecting compellingly the dark mysteries of their shadow world.”
    Hilary Finch, The Times

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    16 Aug 13 VERDI Requiem
    Salzburg Festival

    “Leuchtend hell und schön, perfekt phrasierend, aber auch mit der nötigen Substanz in der Tiefe ausgestattet absolvierte sie ihre Soli.”
    Die Presse

    “Ein freundlicheres, wärmeres, durch und durch wohliges Ewiges Licht ist jedenfalls nicht denkbar, als es Elīna Garanča in Salzburg, in Verdis Requiem verströmen lässt.”
    Wiener Zeitung

    “Elina Garanča wirkt bühnenbeherrschend gerade in ihrer Ruhe und Unerschütterlichkeit, gibt auch einen Vorgeschmack auf mögliche Sopranrollen: Tosca, Santuzza, das wäre irgendwann schon denkbar.”
    OVB Online

    “Elīna Garanča’s timbre was full of colours, yielding, and especially moving in the opening line of the Lacrimosa.”


Habenera recording on DG – featurette

Bel Canto recording on DG – featurette

Habenera from Carmen in Baden Baden 2008

Panis Angelicus at Dresden Adventskonzert 2008