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.
She began her professional career as a resident artist with the Südthüringischer Staatstheater in Meiningen where she appeared in a number of leading roles and she appeared as a resident artist with the Frankfurt Opera.
In September 2005 Elina became an exclusive artist with Deutsche Grammophon. Her first solo recording ‘Aria Cantilena’ was released in March 2007 to great popular and critical acclaim and she was awarded the prestigious Echo Klassik award for ‘Singer of the Year 2007’. Her last two albums have also both won an Echo Klassik award, in 2012 (‘Romantique’) and most recently in 2015 (‘Meditation’).
Elina has since, quickly established herself as one of the music world’s major stars through her performances with leading opera theaters and symphony orchestras around the world. She has captured critical and popular acclaim for her beautiful voice, intelligent musicianship, and compelling stage portrayals.
Her landmark 2015/16 season saw her make appearances at the ECHO Klassik Awards, on the Moscow and St. Petersburg stages with Hvorostovsky and Friends, opera productions in Vienna Staatsoper, Paris Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and a role debut in a new production of ‘Roberto Devereux’ at The Metropolitan Opera.
During the 2016/17 season, Elina returns to the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich (in a new production of La Favorite), Paris Opera (Cavalleria Rusticana) and to The Metropolitan Opera (Der Rosenkavalier). On the concert platform she sings Mahler songs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic & Gustavo Dudamel; and will embark on a major European tour to promote her new Deutsche Grammophon record: ‘Revive’. She also performs for the first time in Mexico on a 4 concert tour. Elina will also star at various festivals, galas and recitals throughout Europe and beyond.
Highlights of recent seasons included her critically acclaimed house debut in the title role of Bizet’s Carmen at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. She reprised this role in a new production at the Metropolitan Opera which was broadcast in more than one thousand cinemas worldwide. Ms Garanča was also named as Musical America’s ‘Vocalist of the Year’ 2010; she won the MIDEM Classical Award as ‘Singer of the Year’ and won the Echo Klassik ‘Female Singer of the Year’ award (her second Echo Klassik award) the same year. She has also given numerous gala concerts and recitals in Europe and the USA, including the Verdi Requiem from La Scala with Daniel Barenboim, Anja Harteros, Jonas Kaufmann and René Pape (also released as CD/DVD/Blu-ray) and her recital debut at Carnegie Hall in New York.
In May 2013, Ms Garanča was honoured by the Wiener Staatsoper with the title of 'Kammersängerin'. One of the youngest recipients of the Award, Ms Garanca was honoured for her devotion to the House, singing over one hundred and forty performances of eighteen roles since her debut in the House in 2003, beginning with the small role of Lola, and now the House's reigning Carmen, Sesto, Giovanna Seymour, Charlotte and Oktavian.
Elīna Garanča is married to the British conductor Karel Mark Chichon, the artistic director of "Klassik unter Sternen" in Göttweig and "Klassik in den Alpen" in Kitzbühel. They have two daughters.