Mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova is a versatile singer with a large repertory that includes Wagner, Italian opera, and French works. She has been more visible in the West than in her native country.
Gubanova was born in Moscow in 1979. She began her musical studies as a pianist, switching to choral conducting and enrolling at the Moscow Conservatory. She graduated from that program with honors and then switched careers again, taking voice courses at the Conservatory and then at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. At 23, Gubanova won a place in the Young Artists Program at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. There she had her first major professional roles, small parts in Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. Critics noticed her at the Paris Opera in 2005, when she sang the role of Brangäne, Isolde's maid, in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. She made the first of several appearances at the Metropolitan Opera in 2007, in Prokofiev's War and Peace. Since then, she has sung Wagner as well as Italian and French roles at many major European houses. She is often tabbed for roles by such top operatic conductors as Daniel Barenboïm, Zubin Mehta, and Valery Gergiev. Gubanova has also appeared in Russia, often under Gergiev; she was featured in a Wagner Ring Cycle performed in 2011 and 2012 at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg and recorded for later release. In 2014, she sang in Verdi's Requiem under conductor Riccardo Muti, at Madrid's Royal Theater, in a concert marking the 400th anniversary of the death of the painter El Greco. In 2019, she made her debut at the Bayreuth Festival, as Venus in Wagner's Tannhäuser. The 2019-2020 season saw Gubanova reprise the role of Brangäne several times, as well as playing Fricka in Das Rheingold and Die Walküre in a new production of Wagner's Ring Cycle operas at the Bastille Opera in Paris. In 2019, she was featured on the Peace Concert Versailles, recorded for release on the Deutsche Grammophon label.