Lithuanian mezzo-soprano VIOLETA URMANA won several voice competitions before making her debuts in Munich, at the Bayreuth Festival, and at La Scala in Milan (as Fricka in Wagner's Die Walküre conducted by Riccardo Muti) during the 1993/94 season. Within short time Violeta Urmana sang leading roles at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, at the Opéra-Bastille in Paris, and at the Liceu in Barcelona.
In the decade since, Urmana has made several notable debuts in roles that are cornerstones of the mezzo repertory. In 1996, she made her debuts in Vienna and Hamburg as Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlos, in Berlin, and at the Orange Festival in Holland as Preziosilla in Verdi's La forza del destino. The following year saw her debuts in Amsterdam (her first Kundry in Parsifal), Bologna (as Santuzza in Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana), and at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro, where she appeared in Verdi's Giovanna d'Arco. In 1998, she sang for the first time at the festivals of Aix-en Provence (as Judith in Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle) and Edinburgh, and she made her highly acclaimed debut at the San Francisco Opera as Brangäne in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. 1999 saw her debut at Zurich Opera, again in the role of Kundry, and 2000 took the mezzo to Seville for Adalgisa in Bellini's Norma and Florence, where she reprised the role of Santuzza. In March 2001, she made her critically lauded Carnegie Hall and Metropolitan Opera debuts (she revisited Kundry for the Met), in december her successful Covent Garden debut.
During recent seasons, Urmana's appearances have included Sieglinde in Die Walküre at the Bayreuth Festival, Iphigénie in Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide at La Scala, and Léonore in Donizetti's La favorite at the Vienna State Opera. She returned to the Met for Kundry in April 2003, and to Bayreuth for Sieglinde this past summer. She also took on the role of Lady Macbeth in Verdi's Macbeth at this summer's Edinburgh Festival. Earlier this month, she completed a run of performances in San Francisco in the role of Eboli. Urmana's future operatic plans include Sieglinde in Munich and Dresden, Lady Macbeth in Seville, and Eboli in Amsterdam, as well as a recital in January at the Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona.
Urmana performs regularly with leading orchestras and conductors throughout Europe, the U.S., and Japan. She works with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Garry Bertini, Riccardo Chailly, James Conlon, Valerij Gergiev, Fabio Luisi, Neville Marriner, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Antonio Pappano, Simon Rattle, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Pinchas Steinberg, and Christian Thielemann.
Urmana's recordings include Verdi's Oberto with Marriner, Zemlinsky's Maeterlinck Lieder and Stravinsky's Rossignol with Conlon, and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with Boulez, as well as excerpts from Tristan und Isolde and Götterdämmerung with Pappano and the title role in Ponchielli's La Gioconda with Marcello Viotti for EMI. She can also be seen as Kundry in Tony Palmer's film The Search for the Holy Grail, which also features tenor Plácido Domingo.