Karita Mattila © Marica Rosengård

Karita Mattila

Soprano

The lyric beauty of Karita Mattila’s voice and her innate sense of theatre have set her apart as one of the most sought-after operatic sopranos in the world today.

Opening this season, Mattila made a triumphant return to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Kostelnicka in Claus Guth new production of Jenůfa conducted by Henrik Nánási; and will close it at the Salzburg Festival in a new role – La zia Principessa in Christoph Loy’s new staging of Il trittico. She’ll also add both Poulenc’s La voix humaine at Finnish National Opera directed by Jussi Nikkilä and under Dalia Stasevska and Jonathan Dove’s Flight to her repertoire for Dallas Opera.

On the concert platform Ms Mattila returns to Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France for her first performances of Mussorgsky Songs and Dances of Death and joins the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra and Jaako Kuusisto in a programme of Sibelius Songs especially arranged for her by the conductor.

In demand by every major opera house, further new roles have dominated in recent seasons including Staatsoper unter den Linden as Kabanicha (Katya Kabanova); Ortrud (Lohengrin) at Bayerishce Staatsoper under Lothar Koenigs; Leokadja Begbick (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny) conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen at Festival d’Aix; Foreign Princess (Rusalka) under Susanna Mälkki for Opéra national de Paris, and Madame de Croissy (Dialogues des Carmelites) under Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the Metropolitan Opera in a performance broadcast worldwide in the Live in HD series.

Other outstanding roles in a remarkable career include Emilia Marty (Věc Makropulos) for San Francisco Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, Finnish National Opera and at the BBC Proms; Sieglinde (Die Walküre) for Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera, Marie (Wozzeck) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos for the Bayerisches Staatsoper. She recently made her role debut as Kundry in a concert performance of Parsifal at the Turku Music Festival.

In addition to two Grammy Awards for Best Opera Recording – Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg under Sir George Solti (1998) and Jenůfa under Bernard Haitink (2004) – Ms Mattila has many recordings to her credit, highlights of which include Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder under Claudia Abbado (Deutsche Grammophon) – recently selected as the performance of choice by BBC Radio 3’s Building a Library; Schönberg’s Gurrelieder and Shostakovich’s Symphony No.14 with Sir Simon Rattle (EMI), and her 40th birthday concert in front of an audience of 12,000 in Helsinki (Ondine). An influential artistic force in the development of new music, she has given world premiere performances of Kaija Saariaho’s Quatre instants, Mirage, and the monodrama Emilie which received its first performance at Opéra national de Lyon in 2010.  

Ms Mattila has won numerous awards throughout a distinguished career and received the Order of the Lion of Finland, First Class Commander in 2020. Her other notable awards include Musical America’s Musician of the Year and the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres; and in the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Award for her “unforgettable incarnations of both Kostelnička and Emilia Marty”. A native of Finland, Ms Mattila trained at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki with Liisa Linko-Malmio and subsequently with Vera Rózsa with whom she studied for almost 20 years. Her experience is now highly sought after and recent invitations to give masterclasses include the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, Lauluakatemia, Helsinki and The Birgit Nilsson Museum and she sat on the jury panel for the 2021 Toivo Kuula Competition.

Updated on 06 january 2022

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