Born in Krasnodar, Irina Mishura completed her musical studies at the prestigious Gnesinikh Music Institute, where she earned a doctorate in vocal arts. Her earliest performances were with the Moldavian State Opera, where she rose to the position of prima mezzo-soprano, singing Carmen, Amneris, Azucena, Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera, and Eboli, plus the core of the Russian repertoire: Marina in Boris Godunov, Marfa in Khovanshchina, Pauline in Pique Dame, Olga in Eugene Onegin, and Lyubasha in The Tsar’s Bride.
In recent seasons, Mishura has established herself as one of the most important dramatic mezzo-sopranos singing today. A recent performance of Bizet’s Carmen led one critic to write, “Irina Mishura’s Carmen absolutely floored the audience. Hers is a big sultry voice, evenly produced throughout its range, particularly solid in its lower register, but easily floated on top. Her Carmen is truly voluptuous, with restrained, smoldering intensity.”
Irina Mishura is well-known to audiences throughout North America and Europe. She made an auspicious debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 2000 when she appeared as Dalila in Samson et Dalila opposite Plácido Domingo. Her 2005-06 season began with a welcome return to Michigan Opera Theatre for the role of Adalgisa in Norma, a role she repeats this season with San Francisco Opera and Opera Colorado.
In concert, Mishura has appeared with the San Francisco Symphony in performances of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and the New World Symphony in performances of Shostakovich’s Songs from Jewish Folk Poetry, both led by Michael Tilson Thomas. Prokofiev's Alexandre Nevsky was the vehicle for her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and she has appeared with Teatro Comunale di Firenze and Genova's Teatro Carlo Felice in this same work.
Irina Mishura immigrated to the United States in 1992 and was soon engaged by Neeme Järvi to sing Tchaikovsky’s The Snow Maiden in performances with the Detroit Symphony and for a recording on Chandos Records. Her recording of Russian songs with her long-time collaborator, pianist Valéry Ryvkin, was released by VAI Records.