The mezzo-soprano Viviana Araiza Staffini was born in Munich and spent part of her childhood in the USA and Italy. She studied at the Munich College of Music and completed her studies at the International Opera Studio of the Zurich Opera House.
She made her professional opera debut in a title role as Hänsel in Humperdinck’s opera Hänsel und Gretel at the Lucerne Opera in December 1983. In a master class at the Mozarteum Salzburg, she drew the attention of Robert Kettelson, who henceforth became her teacher and mentor. He was particularly impressed by her unusual coloratura talent for Rossini in the key role “La Cenerentola”, which opened the doors of international venues to her in the ensuing years. Another key role in her career was Bizet’s Carmen, with which she, with the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, made her Japanese debut to great acclaim in 1990. Mozart is also prominent in her repertoire, and Riccardo Muti called her to La Scala in Milan in the role of Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito. She has also gained acclaim on the concert stage and often performs at venues like the Cologne Philharmonie, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt and the Dresden Philharmonie. She did several recordings with the Bayerische Rundfunk with works by Rossini, Wolff-Ferrari, Respighi, de Falla, Ginastera, Galindo, Moreno and Garcia-Lorca.