Born in Stockholm, Katarina Karnéus studied at Trinity College of Music in London, and at the National Opera Studio. In 1995 she won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.
Since then she has appeared throughout the world in opera, concert and recital and worked with many leading conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Roger Norrington, Antonio Pappano, Michael Tilson-Thomas, Franz Welser-Möst, Donald Runnicles and Ivor Bolton.
Opera engagements have included The Metropolitan Opera New York, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, the Netherlands Opera Amsterdam, La Monnaie Brussels, the Geneva Opera and the Frankfurt Opera. Her repertoire includes the great mezzo roles of Handel, Mozart, Rossini, Bizet, Wagner and Strauss and highlights of recent seasons have included Brangaene in Glyndebourne, the title role in Ariane et Barbe-bleu in Frankfurt, Elisabetta/Maria Stuarda in Berlin, Der Komponist in Geneva, and the title role in Xerxes in her native Stockholm.
In concert, Katarina Karnéus has worked with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic (Szymanowski’s Love Songs of Hafiz with Rattle and the title role in Hänsel und Gretel with Elder), the Cleveland Orchestra (Der Rosenkavalier with Welser-Möst), the NDR Symphony, the Vienna Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony and at the BBC Proms, the Edinburgh Festival and the Salzburg Festival.
As a recitalist she has been heard in many major venues in Europe and North America including London’s Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Lincoln Center New York, La Monnaie Brussels, Frankfurt, Washington, San Francisco and Frankfurt.
In 1999 EMI released her first solo recital disc, of songs by Mahler, Strauss, and Marx, accompanied by Roger Vignoles, described in the Gramophone as “an outright winner….one of the most satisfying CDs of Lieder to appear in recent months.”, followed in 2000 with a recording, also on EMI, of Ravel’s Chansons Madecasses with Stephen Kovacevich, Emanuel Pahud and Truls Mørk. Since then she has recorded two albums for Hyperion, one of Sibelius songs and one of Grieg songs. Other recordings include orchestral songs by Schreker with the BBC Philharmonic and Vassily Sinaisky, Szymanowski’s Love Songs of Hafiz with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle on EMI, Mahler’s Symphony No 8 with the San Francisco Symphony conducted my Michael Tilson-Thomas (which received two Grammy Awards as best album and best choral album of 2009.), the three Mahler song cycles with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Susanna Mälkki for BIS and Donizetti’s Rita for Opera Rara. Her performance of Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde from Glyndebourne can now be seen on DVD.
Recent and future concert engagements include performances with the Hallé, BBC NOW, BBC Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Gothenberg Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, Stockholm Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfonica Castilla y Leon, Dresden Philharmonie, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras, Netherlands Philharmonic, tours in Europe and the US with the San Francisco Symphony, performances at Wiener Konzerthaus, Baltic Sea Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and the BBC Proms as well as recitals at the Concertgebouw, Stockholm Concert Hall, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Wigmore Hall and Oxford Lieder Festival.
Recent and future operatic engagements include Ruggiero / Alcina in Gothenburg and Stuttgart, Orfeo / Orfeo ed Euridice, Erwartung / Schoenberg, Gertrude / Hamlet, Klytaemnestra / Elektra, Gefors’ Notorius, Norma (title role) and Fricka in Gothenburg, Der Besuch der alten Dame for the Theater an der Wien, Donna Elvira for Covent Garden and for Gothenberg, Ariane et Barbe-bleu in Frankfurt, Fricka at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Gothenburg and Opera North, Judith / Bluebeard’s Castle at the Brno National Theatre, Herodias / Salome in Stuttgart and Opera North and Brangäne in Stuttgart and Gothenburg.
Katarina Karnéus is a member of the Gothenburg Opera and acts as an international ambassador for the company. She was recently presented with the Litteris et Artibus medal by H.M. The King of Sweden.