Born in Naples, Maria Grazia Schiavo studied with R. Passaro at the Conservatory in Naples, graduating with honours. She won the First Prize both at the Santa Cecilia Competition in Rome and at the International Singing Competition of Clermont-Ferrand. She made her debut on stage with Roberto De Simone, performing the leading role in La Gatta Cenerentola touring in major theatres both throughout Italy and abroad.
Her renditions of the following roles affirmed her as one of the most interesting sopranos of her generation in Bel Canto and Romantic repertoire: Violetta in La Traviata in Naples, Rome, Turin and Venice’s La Fenice under the baton of the late Nello Santi and in a Stefano Ranzani/Robert Carsen production; Gilda in Rigoletto at the Teatro Massimo Palermo and Valencia Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia; the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor in Turin, Naples and Rome; Adina in L’Elisir d’amore at the Bari Teatro Petruzzelli and Opéra de Wallonie-Liège; La Contessa di Folleville in Il Viaggio a Reims in Beijing and Rome. She also appeared as Olympia in Offenbach’s Contes d’Hoffmann at the Naples Teatro di San Carlo.
Earlier in her career, Maria Grazia was considered by many as one of the greatest specialists in the 18th Century Neapolitan repertoire. She sang Jommelli’s Demofoonte in Salzburg and Paris under Riccardo Muti; Cimarosa’s Marito disperato in Hong Kong with Christophe Rousset, Paisiello’s Pulcinella vendicato, Anfossi’s Finta giardiniera, Piccini’s Didone abbandonata, De Majo’s Motezuma and Vinci’s Partenope with renowned Neapolitan Maestro Antonio Florio.
In the early Baroque Italian repertoire, she sang Euridice, La Musica and Proserpina in Monteverdi’s Orfeo with William Christie and Pier Luigi Pizzi at the Madrid Teatro Real; Venere in Cavalli’s Didone with Europa Galante at La Fenice; Floralba in Cavalli’s Statira at the Naples Teatro di San Carlo. She appeared in Caldara’s Morte e sepoltura di Cristo in Stavanger with Fabio Biondi.
Maria Grazia Schiavo paid tribute to Baroque composers such as Handel: Asteria in Tamerlano at La Scala with Diego Fasolis, Almirena in Rinaldo at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées under Ottavio Dantone, Dalinda in Ariodante with Christophe Rousset at the Theater an der Wien, the title role in Partenope at the International Baroque Festival in Beaune; Vivaldi: La Fida ninfa with Jean-Christophe Spinosi at the Opera Rara Festival in Krakow, Giustino at the Theater an der Wien; Pergolesi: L’Olimpiade in Naples; Gluck: Il Trionfo di Clelia at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna.
Part of her repertoire features sacred music: Paisiello’s Messa per l’Incoronazione di Napoleone at the Festival of Saint-Denis; Mozart’s Exsultate jubilate at the Teatro Real; Mozart’s Mass in C minor with Christophe Rousset at the Mozarteum in Salzburg… Under the guidance of Zubin Mehta, she performed as the soprano soloist in Hayden’s Paukenmesse at the Florence Opera.
Particularly fond of Mozart, Maria Grazia was Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Teatro Regio Torino, Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail in Rome, Liège and Prague; Pamina in Die Zauberflöte in Bologna and Turin; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni in Turin, Liège and Rome (Jérémie Rhorer/Graham Vick); Amital in Betulia liberata at the Salzburg Festival under the baton of Riccardo Muti.
She has issued several CDs with Naïve: Pulcinella vendicato by Paisiello, Statira Principessa di Persia by Cavalli and Coralità e Devotione by Provenzale. She has recorded Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Stéphanie d’Oustrac and Antonio Florio for the label Eloquentia; she features on the CD “Le Cantate Italiane di Handel” with la Risonanza released by Glossa. Her first solo album “Furor!” with music by Spanish composer Terradellas achieved great critical acclaim.
Recent and future engagements include Violetta in La Traviata at the Teatro San Carlo di Napoli (Stefano Ranzani/Lorenzo Amato), the title role in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lamermoor at the Roma Opera and Norina in Don Pasquale at the Teatro Regio Torino (Francesco Ivan Ciampa/Ugo Gregoretti). She sings a programme of Neapolitan Baroque Music under Riccardo Minasi at the Zurich Opera.