„Diedi gioielli della Madonna al manto,
e diedi il canto agli astri,
al ciel, che ne ridean più belli”
Giacomo Puccini, Tosca
Biography of Violeta Urmana - soprano / mezzo-soprano
La Forza The Lithuanian-born singer is now recognised as one of the leading dramatic sopranos in the Italian and German fach with roles such as Aida, Amelia, Elisabetta, Gioconda, Leonora, Tosca, Norma, Sieglinde or Isolde.
First acknowledged as a mezzo-soprano, Violeta Urmana became world famous for her interpretation of roles such as Kundry in Wagner's Parsifal and Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlo. Besides many other parts, she sang these two roles at nearly all important opera houses and with conductors like Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Bertrand de Billy, Pierre Boulez, Riccardo Chailly, James Conlon, James Levine, Jesús López Cobos, Fabio Luisi, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Sir Simon Rattle, Donald Runnicles, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Franz Welser-Möst and Christian Thielemann.
Following her debut in the part of Sieglinde in Wagner's Die Walküre at the 2001 Bayreuth Festival, her real soprano debut took place in December 2002 in the title role of Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide conducted by Riccardo Muti to open the new season at Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
After that, she made several highly successful debuts as a soprano: Maddalena in Giordano's Andrea Chénier in Vienna, Lady Macbeth in Verdi's Macbeth in Seville, Isolde in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde in Rome, the title role of Ponchielli's La Gioconda and Leonora in Verdi's La forza del destino in London and, in 2005, the title roles of Puccini's Tosca in Florence, of Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at the New York Metropolitan Opera and of Catalani's La Wally at the Vienna Konzerthaus. In 2006 she scored a huge success in her debuts as Bellini's Norma in Dresden, as Elisabetta in Verdi's Don Carlo in Turin, as Aida to open the 2006 season at La Scala in Milan and lately as Amelia in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera in Florence. The part of Isolde has taken Violeta Urmana into the highly dramatic territory of Wagner opera, and having sung it repeatedly in concert performances, she made her fully-staged debut in July 2008 in Japan, with the Opéra Bastille under the direction of Semyon Bychkov. In December she sang her debut in the title role of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride in Valencia. In 2010 she made her highly acclaimed debut in the part of ‘Odabella’ in Verdi’s Attila conducted by Riccardo Muti at the Met.
Among future projects of Violeta Urmana are La Forza del Destino in Barcelona, Macbeth in Madrid, Tosca in Bilbao and Vienna, her debut in the part of Brünnhilde in Siegfried in a concert performances in Berlin and Bucharest, Tristan und Isolde in Berlin, London, Madrid and Paris, Parsifal in Berlin, La Gioconda in Paris, Don Carlo in Vienna and Berlin as well as many concerts throughout Europe.
As a concert and recital singer Violeta Urmana performs a wide repertoire from Johann Sebastian Bach to Alban Berg in all the important music centres in Europe, the USA and Japan. Her lieder recitals are musical events acclaimed by press and public alike.
Violeta Urmana has recorded the title role of La Gioconda conducted by Marcello Viotti, excepts from Tristan und Isolde and from Götterdämmerung conducted by Antonio Pappano, Azucena in Verdi's Il Trovatore conducted by Riccardo Muti, Cuniza in Verdi's Oberto conducted by Sir Neville Marriner, Beethoven's 9th Symphony conducted by Claudio Abbado, Berlioz's La mort de Cléopâtre conducted by Bertrand de Billy, Zemlinsky's Maeterlinck-Lieder and Stravinsky's Le Rossignol conducted by James Conlon, Mahler's 2nd Symphony conducted by Kazushi Ono and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde and Rückert-Lieder conducted by Pierre Boulez. Verdi's Requiem with Violeta Urmana in the soprano role, with Semyon Bychkov conducting the WDR Symphony Orchestra, was released in July 2008. In September 2009 has been issued a Puccini album together with Placido Domingo and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra by the Deutsche Grammophon, titled "Puccini Rediscovered". In September 2010 there has been released a Parsifal" recording with her as Kundry on the Mariinsky label.
Many DVDs document her achievements. These include Aida directed by Franco Zeffirelli and under the musical direction of Ricardo Chailly to mark the opening of the 2006/7 season of Milan's La Scala, and Cavalleria rusticana – a 2007 production at the Teatro Real in Madrid directed by Giancarlo del Monaco and conducted by Jesús Lópes Cobos. A recording of a European concert by the Berlin Philharmonic at the Teatro di San Carlo under the baton of Riccardo Muti was released in 2009 and that DVD features Violeta Urmana singing La canzone dei ricordi by Giuseppe Martucci. January 2010 saw the release of a recording of Un ballo in maschera, another production at the Madrid Opera House under Jesús Lópes Cobos. In 2011 a second DVD was released with Violeta Urmana as Aida, this time a production for the New York Metropolitan Opera under the musical direction of Daniele Gatti. In a recording of the Opéra Bastille's production of Macbeth, Violeta Urmana performed the role of Lady Macbeth, released in 2011.
Violeta Urmana plays the role of Kundry in Tony Palmer's film The Search for the Holy Grail.
In 2002, in London, she received the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Award for singers and in 2009 the Austrian "Kammersängerin" award in Vienna.