The Latvian soprano, Inessa (originally Inesse) Galante, entered the Music Academy of Riga in 1977. She began her singing career while still a student and her unique voice was soon heard in the Riga Opera House, and then in other Eastern countries including Russia, where she became a regular singer at the Kirov Opera in St. Petersburg. She was able to visit the West on an official visit to the USA and Canada with a Latvian ensemble and it was her performance which the critics recorded with enthusiasm.
Sir Yehudi Menuhin and Zubin Mehta were among those advising her to make a career in America but "in that time" as Inessa puts it "the wall between the two worlds was too high!". Of course, that wall came down and Inessa made her debut under contract from The Mannheim Opera in Germany in 1992, as Pamina in Mozart's Magic Flute. She then had 20 principal operatic roles in her repertoire but has since doubled that number.
On a return visit to Riga in 1994 she made a recording sponsored by the Baltic Bank, amazingly her debut on record after fifteen years on the operatic stage. The resulting CD had initially a small local release but a few copies made their way to an international music fair and was eventually heard by Irving Wilson, a veteran independent producer. Retitled "Debut" when issued on CD worldwide by Campion Records, these first recordings included the performance of Caccini's Ave Maria (in a modern setting) which has since become a cult hit. Since "Debut" was issued Campion have not only recorded another 18 arias and songs but also, at the singer's suggestion, struck up an association with Radio Latvia and discovered and restored a large number of performances recorded for broadcast and preserved in the archives.
In 1996 Inessa Galante moved from Mannheim to Oper am Rhein, Dusseldorf, where her first roles include Leonora (Trovatore), Mimi and Donna Elvira. She is rehearsing or preparing for roles in Turandot, Butterfly, The Marriage of Figaro, Die Walküre and Lehar's Guiditta. During 1996 she made her first brief appearance in Britain at a concert with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in October. Covent Garden and The Wigmore Hall were rumoured to be interested in engaging her after this appearance. In 1997 Inessa Galante appeared twice at the Evian Festival, France, including the closing concert - a celebratiuon of Mtsislav Rostropovich's 70th birthday. July finds her in USA, performing at Newport and at the Hollywood Bowl. Since 1999 Inessa Galante has no longer been under contract with an opera company in Germany and has stepped fully on to the world stage.