Vienna State Opera, January 26, 2003: Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana is about to be staged, with Waltraud Meier as Santuzza and Johan Botha as Turiddu – and a singer making her Vienna opera debut in the minor role of Lola. At first the audience only hears a wonderful mezzo-soprano voice offstage, then she comes forward in full view – and the operagoers are immediately captivated by the attractive Latvian singer.
Elīna Garanča caught people’s attention at her very first performance in Vienna, and audiences continue to be inspired by the artist, who seems capable of singing everything, from breeches roles like Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier to the brilliant coloratura of Rosina in The Barber of Seville and the emotional outbursts of Charlotte in Werther. Whether it is Mozart, bel canto, French Romanticism, or Richard Strauss – Garanča is convincing in every style thanks to her flawless vocal technique, musicality, and stage presence combined with the sumptuous timbre of her mezzo-soprano.
Vienna marked the beginning of Garanča’s career, and she soon conquered the world’s great stages with new and fascinating role portrayals – recently adding more dramatic parts to her repertoire as well.

© Michael Blees, ORF - Radio Österreich 1


  • Elīna Garanča is born in Riga as the daughter of a choral conductor and voice professor; young Elīna completes her studies with her mother

  • First engagements at the Meiningen State Theater and Frankfurt Opera

  • 2003 debuts at the Vienna State Opera and Salzburg Festival, followed by international invitations to Helsinki, Paris, Aix-en-Provence, London, Berlin, Munich – and New York’s Metropolitan Opera (2008)

  • In 2013 she is honored with the title of Kammersänger in Vienna

  • Up to now, Garanča’s repertoire has ranged from Mozart roles (Sesto, Cherubino, Dorabella) to bel canto operas of Rossini (Rosina and Angelina), Bellini (Romeo and Adalgisa), and Donizetti (Giovanna Seymour, Sara, and Léonor de Guzman), French works of Bizet (Carmen) and Massenet (Charlotte), and Richard Strauss (Octavian)

  • Since 2007 regular recording projects; several of her solo recitals have won major record awards. She was named Singer of the Year at the 2010 MIDEM Classical Awards

  • As a concert singer, Garanča regularly collaborates with her husband, conductor Karel Mark Chichon. She has also delighted audiences all over the world with her Lied programs

Did you know?

  • Garanča initially contemplated a career in the musical genre before deciding in favor of opera.

  • While still a student, she sang the difficult bel canto role of Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena – after just ten days of preparation.

  • Garanča first sang the role for which she is most famous – Carmen in Georges Bizet’s opera of the same name – in her home city of Riga. She has also performed the role to enthusiastic acclaim at the Met in New York and in Vienna, Munich, Berlin, and London.

  • She retired the role of Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier at the Met in May 2017, the same performance that star soprano Renée Fleming sang the Marschallin for the last time.

  • Since 2005 Elīna Garanča has been an exclusive artist with Deutsche Grammophon.

  • Every year since 2008 in early July, Garanča has given an open-air concert before the scenic backdrop of Göttweig Abbey, Austria: in “Classical Music Under the Stars,” she performs together with her colleagues from the opera world and her husband Karel Mark Chichon – captivating audiences with samplings from upcoming roles that she has not yet sung on stage.