The Stockholm-born Stemme came to international attention after her performances as Isolde at Glyndebourne (2003) and Bayreuth (2005) and on the 2005 EMI Classics recording of Tristan und Isolde alongside Plšcido Domingo. (Perhaps not coincidentally, she won Domingo's Operalia competition in its first year, 1993.) Stemme's debut solo album, which includes Strauss's Four Last Songs with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Antonio Pappano, will be released in April 2007.
Pappano said, "I trust the warmth of Nina's voice. There are a lot of lighter voices that have recorded the piece [Four Last Songs] but you have to remember that Kirsten Flagstad sang the premiere and it's that kind of ample voice with warmth and body — Nina's voice — that I think is too rarely heard in this repertoire."
Stemme studied viola at the Adolf Fredrik School of Music, business administration and economics at the University of Stockholm, then did a two-year course at the Stockholm Opera Studio and further study at the National College of Opera in Stockholm.
Kate Royal was born in London in 1979 and studied piano and voice at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and voice at the National Opera Studio with Rudolf Piernay. She has won numerous awards, including a Boise Foundation scholarship, the Clonter Prize and in 2004, both the Kathleen Ferrier Award and the John Christie Award.
Royal made her Proms debut in 2000 and her Wigmore Hall debut in 2003. In 2004, she won critical acclaim as a last-minute stand-in for Lisa Milne as Pamina in Glyndebourne's Die Zauberfl‹te. She is currently singing the Governess in Britten's The Turn of The Screw with Glyndebourne Touring Opera.
"Kate is an exquisite artist with a voice that is instantly recognizable. Her rise to stardom is inevitable and we at EMI Classics are thrilled to be her partners in this adventure," said EMI Classics president Costa Pilavachi.
Royal sings on the new EMI recording of Paul McCartney's oratorio Ecce Cor Meum; her debut solo release with the label will be released next summer.