Elisabete Matos was born in Caldas da Taipas, Guimarães  , Portugal and she began her first musical studies in at the Conservatório de Música Calouste Gulbenkian de Braga. Firstly she started to study violin and then singing, alongside.
A second place in a European Singing Contest made her be noticed and her international career was launched by the roles of Donna Elvira in Mozart's opera Don Giovanni and Alice Ford from Verdi's Falstaff at the Hamburg Opera.
Shortly after that, in the year of 1997, she made a triumphal debut in Madrid at the reopening of the Teatro Real as an opera house, interpreting the leading role of Marigaila in the opening of Divinas Palabras, by Antón García Abril, with Plácido Domingo in the tenor part. Her performance impressed him very much and he invited her to sing with him Massenet's Le Cid (Chimène) and Dolly from Sly, by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari with José Carreras.
After all these successes, Elisabete Matos has sung in many major opera houses around the world, like the Gran Teatre del Liceu, La Fenice, Teatro Nacional de São Carlos (Lisbon), Teatro Real, La Scala, Maestranza de Sevilla, Teatro Regio di Torino and the Teatro di San Carlo (Naples). She has made appearances too at the Macerata Festival and the Mérida Festival, Japan, Washington, Chicago and all around Spain.
In 2001, Matos participated in the commemorations of the centenary of Giuseppe Verdi's death, singing again with Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and other names, under the musical direction of Zubin Mehta, in Rome. Currently she lives in Madrid and is considered the greatest and most internationally known Portuguese opera singer.
Elisabete Matos portrayed Minnie in two performances of Puccini's La Fanciulla del West at the Metropolitan Opera during the 2010-2011 season. She received excellent reviews.
A lirico-spinto soprano, Elisabete Matos owns a large voice capable of a dramatic intensity with a timbre of sheer beauty. Her most performed composers are Puccini and Wagner, but she has also sung the works of many others, counting more than fifty roles in her repertory.
Roles in opera
- Norma, Norma (Bellini)
- Micaela from Carmen (Bizet)
- Dolores in La Dolores (Bretón)
- Margarita, Margaritala Tornera (Chapí)
- Salud, La Vida Breve (Falla)
- Marigailla, Divinas Palabras (García Abril)
- Iphigénie, Iphigénie en Tauride (Gluck)
- Rosa, Gaudí (Joan Guinjoán)
- La del Alba, Don Quijote (Halffeter)
- Kátja, Kátja Kabanowá (Janáček)
- Zazà, Zazà (Leoncavallo)
- Santuzza, Cavalleria rusticana (Mascagni)
- Chiméne, Le Cid (Massenet)
- Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni (Mozart)
- Contessa, Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart)
- Ermissende, Els Pirineus (Pedrell)
- Mimí, La Bohème (Puccini)
- Minnie, La fanciulla del West (Puccini)
- Tosca, Tosca (Puccini)
- Suor Angelica, Suor Angelica (Puccini)
- Principessa Turandot, Turandot (Puccini)
- Gioconda, La Gioconda (Ponchelli)
- Mme Lidoine Les dialogues des Carmélites (Poulanc)
- Contessa, Capriccio (Strauss)
- Abigaille, Nabucco (Verdi)
- Elisabetta, Don Carlo (Verdi)
- Amelia, Simón Boccanegra (Verdi)
- Lida, La Battaglia di Legnano (Verdi)
- Amelia, Gustavo III (Verdi)
- Amelia, Ballo in maschera (Verdi)
- Leonora, Il trovatore (Verdi)
- Alice Ford, Falstaff (Verdi)
- Sieglinde, Die Walküre (Wagner)
- Senta, Der Fliegende Holänder (Wagner)
- Freia, Das Rheingold (Wagner)
- Elsa, Lohengrin (Wagner)
- Isolde, Tristan und Isolde (Wagner)
- Gutrune und Dritte Norn, Götterdämmerung (Wagner)
- Elisabeth, Tanhäuser (Wagner)
- Dolly, Sly (Wolf-Ferrari)
- La Dolores (Tomás Bretón), with Elisabete Matos, Plácido Domingo, Tito Beltrán, Conductor Antoni Ros Marbá, DECCA (winner of the 2000 Latin Grammy for Best Classical Album)
- Requiem (Suppé), with Elisabete Matos, César Hernández, Giorgio Cebrian and the Orchestra and Corus of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Conductor Michel Corboz VIRGIN