The Lithuanian-born singer, Violeta Urmana, is now recognised as one of the leading sopranos in the Italian dramatic genre and has played such roles as Aida, Amelia, Elisabetta, Gioconda, Leonora, Tosca and Norma. 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 Violeta Urmana's 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.
Violeta Urmana's operatic plans include Parsifal and Iphigénie en Tauride in Valencia, Tristan und Isolde in Vienna as well as the 2nd act in concert in Cologne, Tosca in Berlin, Vienna, Chicago and New York, La Forza del Destino in Vienna and Barcelona, Ariadne auf Naxos in Berlin and New York, Macbeth in Paris and Bilbao, Aida in Vienna, Milan, Tel Aviv and New York, Cavalleria rusticana in Hamburg and her debut in the role of Odabella in Verdi's Attila in New York.
As a concert and recital singer Violeta Urmana performs a wide repertoire from J.S. 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, L.v. Beethoven's 9th Symphony conducted by Claudio Abbado, Berlioz's La mort de Cléopâtre conducted by Bertrand de Billy, Zemlinsky's Maeterlinck-Lieder and Igor Stravinsky's Le Rossignol conducted by James Conlon, Gustav Mahler's 2nd Symphony conducted by Kazushi Ono and G. 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 Sinfonieorchester Köln, was released in July 2008. She can be heard on numerous DVDs. The most recent of these are Aida directed by Franco Zeffirelli under the musical direction of Ricardo Chailly for the opening of the 2006-2007 season at La Scala in Milan and Cavalleria rusticana in a 2007 production by the Teatro Real in Madrid directed by Giancarlo del Monaco and conducted by Jesús López-Cobos. Her Aida from La Scala in Milan and La forza del destino from the 2007 Maggio Musicale in Florence and her latest production Un ballo in maschera at the Téatro Real Madrid are now playing in selected cinemas around the world. She plays the role of Kundry in Tony Palmer's film The Search for the Holy Grail.
In 2002, in London, Violeta Urmana received the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Award for singers.