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Latvian mezzo-soprano Zanda Švēde has been praised for her “lush timber” (Münchener Merkur) and “full-bodied, sensuous voice and arresting presence” (Post Gazette). Her 2023/2004 season includes role debut as Cornelia in Giulio Cesare at Oper Frankfurt, where she is an ensemble member, performing Mahler’s 2nd Symphony with Latvian National Symphony Orchestra and returning to Tiroler Festspiele Erl for a full Ring Cycle in the summer, directed by Brigitte Fassbaender.


Zanda’s 2022/2023 season included role debut as Clairon in Capriccio, Nenila in Tschaikovsky’s The Enchantress, the title role of Handel's Orlando in a new production and roles Forester's wife and Owl in The Cunning Little Vixen at her home company Oper Frankfurt. Further engagements included role debuts as Erda in Siegfried and Waltraute in Göterdammerung at Tiroler Festspiele, and a return to Latvian National Opera in title role of Carmen.


Carmen has become one of Zanda's signature roles, which she debuted at Lyric Opera of Kansas City and has performed with Oper Frankfurt in two revivals of Barry Kosky’s production, Seattle Opera, Latvian National Opera and Pittsburgh Opera, earning stellar reviews.


In previous seasons at Oper Frankfurt, Zanda has performed Herodias in Salome, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Zenobia in Radamisto, Sonyetka in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Dryade in Ariadne auf Naxos and the title role of Serse


Zanda continues to expand her alto repertoire on the concert stage. She has performed Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder with Sinfonietta Riga, Brahms' Alto Rhapsodie with Camerata Salzburg, Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the San Francisco Symphony, Bernstein’s Mass with LA Philharmonic, Bruckner’s Te Deum with Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester at Alte Oper Frankfurt.


Celebrating a long and fruitful relationship with San Francisco Opera since joining the Merola Opera Program in 2013, Zanda became an Adler Fellow in Season 2014-15 and remained for two more seasons. She appeared on the main stage as Flora in  La traviata, Tisbe in La Cenerentola, Lena in the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s Two Women, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Rychtarka in Jenůfa, Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Maid in The Makropoulos Case, and Handmaiden/The Flower in the world premiere of Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber. 


Other principal guest highlights in the US include Zanda's debut at Palm Beach Opera as Suzuki and Olga in Eugene Onegin at Opera Idaho. She made her house debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago as Maddalena in Rigoletto and Grimgerde in Die Walküre. Zanda studied at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music in Rīga.

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