Praised by The Independent for her “movie-star looks” and “chocolatey mezzo-soprano,” Latvian mezzo-soprano Zanda Švēde recently finished her final year as an Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera. The 2017 – 2018 season sees Ms. Švēde’s debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago as Maddalena in Rigoletto, conducted by Marco Armiliato, and Grimgerde in the David Pountney production of Die Walküre. Ms. Švēde also makes her house debut at Atlanta Opera singing the title role in Carmen conducted by Arthur Fagen, and returns to Lyric Opera of Kansas City to sing Maddalena in Rigoletto.
The 2016 – 2017 season saw Ms. Švēde’s return to the stage of San Francisco Opera as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Maddalena in Rigoletto, the Maid in The Makropulos Case, and Handmaiden/The Flower in the world premiere of Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber. Additional engagements include her debut at Palm Beach Opera as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and covering Olga in Yevgeny Onegin at Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Operatic highlights include her role and house debut in the title role of Carmen at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and her house debut as Olga in a concert performance of Yevgeny Onegin at North Carolina Opera. At San Francisco Opera she has sung Flora in La Traviata, Lena in the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s Two Women, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte, and Tisbe in Rossini’s La Cenerentola. Additional highlights include María in Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires, Endimione in Cavalli’s La Calisto, and the title role in Massenet’s Cléopâtre.
On the concert stage Ms. Švēde made her debut with the San Francisco Symphony in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and has sung Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Liszt’s Missa Coronationalis, Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium, Haydn's Mass in the time of War, and Mozart's Missa de Requiem.
Ms. Švēde studied at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music in Riga, Latvia, the Manhattan School of Music Summer Voice Festival in New York, Scuola Italia in Italy, the Tyrolean Opera Program in Austria, and is an alumna of the 2013 Merola Opera Program.