Ainhoa Arteta Ibarrolaburu, recognised under the Spanish title of “Ilustrísima Señora”, was born the 24th September 1964 in Tolosa (Guipúzcoa). She reconciles her demanding profession as an opera singer (soprano) with the education and care of her two children: Sarah and Iker. As a woman with great spirituality, charisma and temperament, her marked Basque identity stands out, combined with a deep love for Spain. She also claims the territorial unit of her country, an issue she defends both within and outside the Spanish frontiers, even before her appointment as Ambassador of Brand Spain. Furthermore, she is a big enthusiast of animals and strongly committed to social causes, charities and non-profit organisations – in particular, those involving cancer research and child poverty – which she actively collaborates with taking part in charity concerts and recitals organised by the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC, by its Spanish acronym), “Save the Children” and “Manos Unidas”.
Personal Information and Education
Her passion for music started at the early age of five when she listened for the first time to an album by María Callas. Then she started singing in the Coral Eresoinka School which her father, who had been educated in a convent and was a schoolteacher, had created in Tolosa. At age twelve she joined the Conservatory in San Sebastian and, after completing her training at the age of eighteen, she moved to Mantua, Italy, to receive style lectures with Ettore Campogalliani, who had been the teacher of Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni. Around 1987 she obtained a grant funded by the regional government of Guipúzcoa which allowed her to pay for a one-way ticket to the United States to continue with her education enrolling in the Actor’s Studio in New York. There, over the following three years, she focused on acquiring and refining her interpreting technique. She has never stopped studying in order to face new challenges. Now, she is under the guidance of the singing master Ruth Falcon.
Her debut in the opera world took place in the 90s in the United States. In 1993, after winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in New York and the Concours International de Voix d’Opera Plácido Domingo in Paris, she started a brilliant international career in theatres such as the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Covent Garden, Bayerische Staatsoper, the operas in Washington, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco, La Scala de Milan, San Carlo in Naples, Arena di Verona, Bellas Artes theatre in Mexico, Amsterdam, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and many others, interpreting the main roles in operas such as La Traviata, La Bohème, Romeo et Juliette, Faust, La Rondine, Eugene Onegin, Turandot, Manon Lescaut…
She combines her opera performances with recitals and concerts conducted by the most renowned maestros, such as Sir Neville Marriner, Christian Badea, Gianandrea Noseda, Christopher Hogwood, Vasily Petrenko, Pablo González, Adrian Leaper, Víctor Pablo Pérez, Friedrich Haider, Pier Giorgio Morandi, Gustavo Dudamel, Miguel Ángel Gómez Martínez, Günter Neuhold, Frédéric Chaslin… and acclaimed pianists such as Marco Evangelisti, Rubén Fernández Aguirre, Roger Vignoles and Malcolm Martineau, with whom she collaborated in the recording of “Recital”, a sophisticated selection of French and Spanish music, for Deutsche Grammophon.
Within her intense concert career, the following should be emphasised: her recital in the White House, her debut in the Royal Opera Covent Garden in London and the concert in Baalbeck (Lebanon) —the last two with Plácido Domingo—; the Commemorative Concert of the 70th Anniversary of the Bellas Artes Palace in Mexico together with Ramón Vargas; her interpretation of Mozart’s Concerto Arias in the Palau de la Música in Valencia with the Orchestra of Valencia conducted by Miguel Ángel Gómez Martínez; Vier Letzte Lieder by Richard Strauss with the Symphonic Orchestra of Tenerife conducted by Víctor Pablo Pérez, as well as her interpretation of Arriaga’s Herminie in the season closure of the Symphonic Orchestra of Bilbao and the Musical Fortnight in San Sebastian, with the Cadaqués Orchestra conducted by Sir Neville Marriner.
Among her great successes it is important to highlight her participation in Cyrano de Bergerac along with Plácido Domingo in the San Francisco Opera and the Spanish Royal Theatre in Madrid; La Bohème in the Metropolitan Theatre and La Scala in Milan, Otello in La Coruña, Turandot, Carmen and La Bohème in the Liceo Theatre of Barcelona, Dialogues des Carmelites, Eugene Oneguin and Simon Boccanegra in ABAO in Bilbao, as well as in the premiere in Paris of the opera Le dernier jour d’un condamné, together with Roberto Alagna; Don Carlo in the Oviedo Opera and Don Giovanni in the Spanish Royal Theatre, among others.
She succeeded again in the San Francisco Opera as Alice Ford in Falstaff, along with Bryn Terfel; and afterwards she took part in Verdi’s Réquiem in the Suntory Hall and Fukushima with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nicola Luisotti; her interpretations as Manon Lescaut in the Maestranza Theatre, Adriana Lecouvreur in ABAO, Tosca in the Comunale Theatre in Bologna and in Reggio Emilia, or in the operas La Wally in the Great Theatre in Geneve, La Bohème in the Bellas Artes Theatre in Mexico, and Tosca along with Marcelo Álvarez in Sao Paulo. To these we must add her great achievements: Falstaff in the Covent Garden, Tosca in the Welsh National Opera together with Bryn Terfel; the opera gala in the Vienna Konzerthaus with the Wiener Kammer Orchester; Tosca in the Deutsche Oper in Düsseldorf, Manon Lescaut in ABAO, Alice Ford in Falstaff, the San Carlo Theatre in Naples and La Coruña, and her debut in the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow interpreting Manon Lescaut, as well as in the Sydney Opera House with Tosca.
Among her next concerts, we can find Tosca in the Verona Arena, the San Carlo Theatre in Naples and the Deutsche Oper in Düsseldorf; Manon Lescaut in the San Carlo Theatre in Naples and Bolshoi; Verdi’s Réquiem along with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conducted by Vasily Petrenko; Andrea Chenier in the Oviedo Opera; La Bohème (as Mimí) in ABAO; Adriana Lecouvreur in the Maestranza of Seville; I Pagliacci (as Nedda) in the La Monnaie Theatre in Brussels; Butterfly in the Liceo Theatre of Barcelona; Falstaff and Don Carlo in the Spanish Royal Theatre, etc.