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 appearances at 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, Grand Théâtre de Génève and Oper Frankfurt . Her repertoire includes the great mezzo roles of Handel, Mozart, Rossini, Bizet, Wagner and Strauss and highlights of recent seasons have included Brangaene / Tristan und Isolde at Glyndebourne, Stuttgart, the Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestra and Gothenburg, the title role in Ariane et Barbe-bleu in Paris and Frankfurt, Elisabetta/Maria Stuarda in Berlin, Der Komponist in Geneva, the title role in Xerxes in Stockholm, Fricka in Barcelona and Erwartung in Gothenburg, the title role in Norma as well as Klytaemnestra / Elektra in Gothenburg, Herodias / Salome for Opera North and the title role in Der Besuch der alten Dame for the Theater an der Wien. Engagements in 2018/19 included Fricka / Das Rheingold and Santuzza / Cavalleria Rusticana for the Gothenberg Opera and Judith / Bluebeard’s Castle in Brno and in 2019/20 she will sing Fricka / Die Walküre and Hébé / La Ville Morte for Gothenburg Opera and Waldtaube / Gurrelieder for the Helsinki Festival.
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 CenterNew 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 , also on EMI, by Ravel’s Chansons Madecasses with Stephen Kovacevich, Emanuel Pahud and Truls Mørk. Since then she has recorded two albums for Hyperion, of Sibelius and 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 the title role in Donizetti’s Rita for Opera Rara, conducted by Sir Mark Elder. Her performance of Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde from Glyndebourne can now be seen on DVD.
Recent and future concert highlights include performances with the New York Philharmonic, Gothenberg Symphony, Hallé, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Symphony, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, Uppsala Chamber Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony, Gävle Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Liceu Barcelona, Dresden Philharmonie, Melbourne and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras, Netherlands Philharmonic, tours in Europe and the US with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, performances at Wiener Kozerthaus, Baltic Sea Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and the BBC Proms as well as recitals at the Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall, London, and the Oxford Lieder Festival.
Katarina Karnéus is a member of the Gothenburg Opera and acts as an international ambassador for the company. She was presented with the Litteris et Artibus medal by H.M. The King of Sweden in 2015 and is a Court Singer for the Swedish Royal Court.