Elīna Garanča (born September 16, 1976) is a Latvian operatic lyric mezzo-soprano. With a musical family background, she began to study singing in her hometown of Riga in 1996 and continued her studies in Vienna and in the United States. By 1999 she had won First Place in a significant competition in Finland and had begun a career in Europe. Worldwide engagements quickly followed her 2003 Salzburg Festival appearances.
Education and family background
Elīna Garanča was born in the Latvian city of Riga into a musical family, her father a choral director, her mother Anita is a lieder singer, a professor at the Latvian Academy of Music, an associated professor at the Latvian Academy of Culture, a vocal music teacher at the Latvian National Opera, and also a private voice tutor. Her brother Jānis (aka Jaanis) Garanča, three years older than Elīna, started out in music studies, but is now an interactive computer generated visual media artist and consultant.
Career in opera
She entered the Latvian Academy of Music in 1996 to study singing with Sergej Martinov. She continued her studies in Vienna with Irina Gavrilović and in the United States with Virginia Zeani. Garanča began her professional career at the Südthüringisches Staatstheater in Meiningen and later worked at the Frankfurt Opera. In 1999, she won the Mirjam Helin Singing Competition in Helsinki, Finland.
Garanča's international breakthrough came in 2003 at the Salzburger Festspiele when she sang Annio in a production of Mozart's La clemenza di Tito, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Major engagements followed quickly, such as Charlotte in Werther, Dorabella in Così fan tutte at the Vienna State Opera (2004) and Dorabella in a Paris production directed by Patrice Chéreau (2005). In 2006, she returned to La clemenza di Tito, this time singing the part of Sesto. On January 12, 2008, Garanča made her company and house debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, in the role of Rosina in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia. Of her debut, Bernard Holland wrote in The New York Times: "Ms. Garanca is the real thing (...) Modern singing techniques adapt with difficulty to Rossini's early-19th-century emphasis on speed, lightness and athletic articulation, and Ms. Garanca was the only one onstage sounding completely comfortable. The lyric passages sang out; the episodes of racecourse delivery were fully in hand". Garanča sang the leading role of Georges Bizet's Carmen in the 2010 production of the Metropolitan Opera. In the opening concert of the 2011 Rheingau Musik Festival in the Eberbach Abbey she performed Alban Berg's Sieben frühe Lieder with the hr-Sinfonieorchester, conducted by Paavo Järvi.
- 1999: First Place: Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition (Finland)
- 2000: Latvian Great Music Award
- 2001: Finalist: Cardiff BBC Singer of the World Competition (UK)
- 2005: Nominated: Grammy Award for the recording of Bajazet
- 2006: MIDEM Classical Award: "Best Opera", recording of Vivaldi's Bajazet with Fabio Biondi, conductor; Patrizia Ciofi, David Daniels, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Vivica Genaux and Marijana Mijanovic.
- 2006: European Culture Prize in Music (Soloist Category) awarded by the Pro Europa / European Foundation for Culture (Switzerland/Germany)
- 2007: Echo Klassik Award: "Singer of the Year" for the solo CD "Aria Cantilena"
- 2007: Three-Star Order: awarded by the Latvian State
- 2009: Echo Klassik Award: "Singer of the Year"
- 2010: Musical America Award: "Vocalist of the Year"
- 2010: MIDEM Classical Award: "Singer of the Year"
- 2010: Latvian Great Music Award
- 2013: Austrian Kammersängerin
- 2013: Echo Klassik Award: "Best Solo Recording of the Year", (duets/opera/opera arias for Romantique, works by Berlioz, Donizetti, Gounod, Lalo, Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky and Vaccai). Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Dir. Yves Abel
Other audio recordings include:
- I Capuleti e i Montecchi by Vincenzo Bellini
- Norma by Vincenzo Bellini
- Il barbiere di Siviglia by Gioachino Rossini
- Arie Favorite, Ondine
- Habanera, Deutsche Grammophon
- Aria Cantilena, Deutsche Grammophon
- Mozart: Opera and Concert Arias, EMI Classics
- Bel Canto, Deutsche Grammophon
- Romantique, Deutsche Grammophon
- The Opera Gala: Live from Baden-Baden ft. Anna Netrebko, Ramón Vargas, and Ludovic Tézier
- Elina: The Best of Elina Garanča, Deutsche Grammophon
DVD recordings include:
- Wirklich wichtig sind die Schuhe (English: Really important are the shoes), 2013
Elīna Garanča's auto-biography, written while on maternity leave for the second time. The book is in German.
- Gurewitsch, Matthew (June 28, 2009). "A Mezzo Kicks Up Her Heels in High Style". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
- Loomis, George (January 10, 2008). "Opera's Switch Hitter". The New York Sun. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
- "Elina Garanca - Biography". Deutsche Grammophon. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
- Kuusisaari, Harri (July 22, 2009). "Latvian blonde is eager to alter her image". The Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition. Finnish Cultural Foundation.
- "Anita Garanča's website".
- "Jaanis Garancs". www.garancs.net.
- ""Garanča Baby: a meeting place for fans" on The Eyes Have It". 2011-11-15. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
- "Pregnant Garanca cancels shows at Met, Covent Garden". FRANCE 24. 10 August 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
- "Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia". BBC. 26 January 2008. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- Holland, Bernard (January 14, 2008). "Barreling Through Rossini With a ‘Noises Off’ Rhythm". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- Klaus Ackermann (27 June 2011). "Magische Momente". op-online.de. Retrieved 27 June 2011. (German)
- Veikko Ylikojola. "Where are they now? Previous winners". Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- "Latvia: Elina Garanca". BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. 1 July 2001. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- Aaron Green. "48th Annual Grammy Awards: Classical Music". About.com. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- "Alle Preisträger" (in German). Die Europäische Kulturstiftung Pro Europa. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- "Opera star Elina Garanca wins award for "Romantique"". The Baltic Course. 27 August 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- "Magazine "Musical America" names Elīna Garanča Vocalist of the Year". Bestriga. 16 November 2009. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- "Elīna Garanča gewinnt MIDEM Classical Award" (in German). KlassiKAkzente. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- "Verleihung des Titels "Österreichische Kammersängerin" an Elina Garanca" (in German). KlassiKAkzente. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
- "Solo Recording of the Year/Voice (Duets/opera arias)". Echo Klassik. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- Rupert Christiansen, "Elina Garanca: We mezzos get to have such fun", The Telegraph (London), 26 September 2012: Christiansen states "on the showing she makes in her new album, Romantique, I would go further and claim that in her repertory, there has been no one to touch her since the Olga Borodina of 20 years ago."