Combining a naturally rich, distinctive sound with a 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. Since her professional debut in 1987, Ms. Groop has remained a consistent and thoughtful musician whose artistry evolves with every performance.
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 and Paris Opera. Orchestra appearances include the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, NDR Orchestra and Santa Cecilia Academia in Rome, under such conductors 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. In honor of the Schubert bicentenary and the Brahms centenary, she joined András Schiff for three Brahms/Schubert recitals in Austria and an all-Schubert recital at the 1997 Lucerne Festival.
North American audiences will have the opportunity to hear more of this impressive artist during the 2002-2003 season. This past July, Ms. Groop made a stunning debut at the Santa Fe Opera in the North American premiere of Kaija Saariaho's L'amour de loin directed by Peter Sellars. The New York Times remarked that she "brought a dark, elemental quality to the role of the Pilgrim." Further operatic engagements in the United States include Ms. Groop's New York City Opera debut in the title role of The Rape of Lucretia in Christopher Alden's production of the Britten opera. She performs Mahler's Kindertotenlieder with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and conductor Mark Wigglesworth as well as selected Bach Cantatas and Schubert's Mass No. 5 with the San Francisco Symphony and Bruno Weil. New York City audiences will enjoy her exclusive North American recital at the Frick Collection in the spring of 2003. In Europe Ms. Groop sings Carmen with the Stockholm Opera and bows as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier at the Cologne State Opera. She also performs the role of Zenobia in Handel's Radamisto in the Salzburg Festival's production at the historic Dortmund Theater. Concert appearances include Zemlinsky's Six Songs by Maeterlinck and Bach's Weinachtsoratorium with the Berlin Deutsche Sinfonia; Berlioz's Les nuits d'été with the City of London Sinfonia; Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; and Bruckner's Te Deum in Tenerife with the Orchestra Sinfonica. Future plans include the role of Ascanio in Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini at next summer's London Proms and performances of Wolf's Der Corregidor and Bach's St. John Passion, both at Dresden's Musikfestspiele.
Ms. Groop's 2001-2002 season included the roles of Dorabella in Così fan tutte with András Schiff conducting performances at the Teatro Olympico in Vicenza and the Edinburgh Festival, and further performances of this opera in Japan with Seiji Ozawa. She also sang Octavian with the Cologne State Opera, Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito with the Welsh National Opera and Hansel in Hansel und Gretel with the Dresden Opera conducted by Marek Janowski. Orchestral appearances included Sibelius's Kullervo with the Helsinki Philharmonic at London's Royal Festival Hall, Washington's Kennedy Center and New York's Lincoln Center; Kindertotenlieder with the Deutsche Sinfonia and Kent Nagano in the United Kingdom; and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig. Ms. Groop also performed Wunderhorn-Lieder concerts with baritone Olaf Bär in Tempere, Helsinki and Prague, and appeared in recital with András Schiff at Glyndebourne. In the summer of 2000 Monica Groop joined Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra for performances of Brahms' Alto Rhapsody at Tangelwood
Ms. 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 has sung Cherubino at both Covent Garden and Munich, and Charlotte in Werther at the Royal Opera Stockholm. Of her performance in Peter Sellar's Pélleas et Mélisande, The New York Times wrote "Monica Groop was a subtle, affecting Mélisande. The voice was lovely, graceful and intelligently used." Ms. Groop has also performed the title role in Carmen with the Stockholm Opera, and both Marguérite in Berlioz's Damnation of Faust and Dorabella in Mozart's Così fan tutte with the Helsinki Opera.
A prolific recording artist, Ms. Groop has made over forty recordings. Her latest solo disc, Flamme d'Amour on the Finlandia label features opera arias by a diverse group of French composers. Also this season, the BIS label releases Ms. Groop's Grieg songs and she is featured in Arabesque's recording of Haydn's opera La Fedelta premiata. Her previous disc released for Finlandia was entitled Arie Amorose. The New York Times noted about this recording that "Ms. Groop is an intelligent, nuanced singer with a rich and flexible voice. She makes even familiar music seem fresh." The Finlandia label released her rendering of Bach Alto Cantatas in 1998. She has also recorded for Sony, Decca, Chandos, Harmonia, Mundi, CPO, Accent and BIS. Monica Groop makes her home in Helsinki, Finland with her husband and son.