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 many leading roles. She later appeared as a resident artist with Oper Frankfurt. Since then, Garanča has established herself as one of the music world’s major stars through her performances with leading opera companies and symphony orchestras worldwide. She has captured critical and popular acclaim for her beautiful voice, intelligent musicianship, and compelling stage portrayals.
In September 2005, Garanča became an exclusive artist with Deutsche Grammophon. Her first solo recording, "Aria Cantilena," was released in March 2007 to great popular and critical acclaim. Two of her previous albums ("Romantique" and "Meditation") won an ECHO Klassik Award. "Sol y Vida" was released in May 2019 and has been unanimously praised by the critics: “Garanča’s selection of flamboyant Mediterranean and Latin American songs is a predictably good fit for her ripe and beguiling timbre.” (Gramophone).
This season, Garanča will make her role debut as the Princess de Bouillon in Adriana Lecouvreur at the Wiener Staatsoper, and will star in new productions of Don Carlos at the Metropolitan Opera and Samson et Dalila at the Royal Opera House. She also will return to Opernhaus Zürich for Cavalleria rusticana, and Staatsoper Berlin for Samson et Dalila. On the concert platform, Garanča will appear with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Riccardo Muti, and will give recitals and galas across Europe, Russia, Japan and the United States to promote her recent recital album, released in November 2020 on Deutsche Grammophon.
Recent highlights include a critically acclaimed Sea Pictures with Daniel Barenboim and Staatskapelle Berlin, which was recently released on Decca. Role debuts in new productions as Kundry in Parisfal at the Wiener Staatsoper, as Princess Eboli in Don Carlos at the Opéra national de Paris, and Dalila in Samson et Dalila at the Wiener Staatsoper and Metropolitan Opera. Other highlights include a new production of La favorite at Bayerische Staatsoper (recently released on DVD by DG). She also starred in a new production of Der Rosenkavalier at the Metropolitan Opera, which was broadcast in cinemas worldwide.
Garanča has been the recipient of many awards: Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year 2010, MIDEM’s Singer of the Year 2007 and the ECHO Klassik Award for Female Singer of the Year 2007. She also has given numerous gala concerts and recitals across the world, including the Verdi Requiem at Teatro alla Scala with Daniel Barenboim, Anja Harteros, Jonas Kaufmann and René Pape (also released as a CD/DVD on Decca) and regular recitals at Carnegie Hall in New York and Wigmore Hall in London.
In May 2013, Garanča was honored by the Wiener Staatsoper with the title of Kammersängerin. One of the youngest recipients of the award, Garanča was honored for her devotion to the company, singing more than 140 performances of 18 roles since her debut in 2003, beginning with the small role of Lola, and now the venue’s reigning Carmen, Sesto, Giovanna Seymour, Charlotte and Octavian.