Monica Groop MEZZO SOPRANO

With her naturally rich, distinctive sound and luminous stage presence characterized by poise and integrity, Finnish mezzo-soprano Monica Groop enjoys a multi-faceted career combining operatic, recital, symphonic, and chamber music engagements with a discography of critically acclaimed recordings.

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Monica Groop has performed with many of the world’s major opera companies and orchestras including Covent Garden, Munich State Opera, Royal Opera of Stockholm, Los Angeles Opera, Paris Opera, and the Teatro Real in Madrid as well as performances at the festivals in Aix-en-Provence and Glyndebourne. Orchestral appearances include the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, NDR Orchestra, and Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome, under conductors such as Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink, Zubin Mehta, Christoph Eschenbach, Herbert Blomstedt, Myung-Whun Chung, Neeme Järvi, Franz Welzer-Möst, Robert Spano, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and the late Sir Georg Solti. An accomplished recitalist, Ms. Groop has given solo recitals at New York’s Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, and Vienna’s Musikverein. She works regularly with pianists András Schiff, Roger Vignoles, and Rudolf Jansen.

 One of the highlights of her career was the inaugural concert of the Walt Disney Concert Hall 2003 and the performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Ms. Groop’s New York Philharmonic debut that same year featured Berlioz’ solo cantata Herminie under Sir Colin Davis. This was followed by her debut at the New York City Opera in the title role of The Rape of Lucretia, described by Newsday: “(...) splendid Monica Groop captured perfectly Lucretia’s blend of tenderness and hauteur.”

 Monica Groop has world premiered music by several Finnish contemporary composers and many of the pieces have been commissioned especially for her: Olli Kortekangas’ opera Daddy’s Girl, Kalevi Aho’s orchestral songs The Book of Questions, Tapio Tuomela’s Sea Drift for mezzo-soprano, piano, and string quartet, and Per-Henrik Nordgren’s Songs to Texts by Edith Södergran. She participated in the memorable U.S. premieres of Kaija Saariaho’s operas L’amour de Loin (2002) and Adriana Mater (2008) at the Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico. The DVD of Saariaho’s L’amour de Loin (Deutsche Grammophon), in which she performs the much acclaimed role of the Pilgrim, was released in 2006, and was awarded the BBC Music Magazine Jury Award, as well as being Grammophone Magazine’s DVD of the month.

 A prolific recording artist, Ms. Groop has released over sixty albums. Her solo disc Flamme d’Amour on the Finlandia label features opera arias by various French composers and her disc Arie Amorose features arias from the Baroque period. The New York Times noted about this recording: “Ms. Groop is an intelligent, nuanced singer with a rich and flexible voice. She makes even familiar music seem fresh.” Another critically acclaimed album on the same label is Ms. Groop’s recording of Bach’s Alto Cantatas with the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra. She has recorded all of Bach’s oratorios with Eric Ericson and the Drottningholm Baroque Orchestra.

 A remarkable project that spans several years and deserves special attention is the complete recording of all 170 songs by Norwegian composer Edward Grieg for the BIS label. Magazine noted: “...the distinctive artistry of the Finnish mezzo-soprano provides an irresistible new take on these songs.” She is also featured as Zerlina in Decca’s recording of Don Giovanni under Sir Georg Solti. Ms. Groop has recorded for Sony, Decca, Chandos, Harmonia Mundi, CPO, Ondine, Accent, and BIS. Her latest recordings include Stravinsky’s Pulcinella/Alba, Spanish music Passacalle (Naxos, 2012) with guitarist Timo Korhonen, and arias by Kraus (Naxos, 2013).

Monica Groop made her professional debut as Charlotte in Massenet’s Werther with the Finnish National Opera in 1987, and has been an international mainstay since her London debut at Covent Garden in the highly acclaimed 1991 Haitink-Wagner Ring Cycle. She divides her time between teaching and performing. Teaching and bringing forward vital ideas about vocal quality, phrasing, and handling of text to young students has always been very close to her heart. Since 2009, Monica Groop occupies the Professor Chair of the Vocal Department at the Sibelius-Academy in Helsinki, Finland. She is also member of the Royal Academy of Music in Sweden.

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