"Karita Mattila is an artist who confounds expectations… She has a voice that is most often described in terms reserved for varieties of light – radiant, luminous, incandescent, shining. The same adjectives apply to the lady herself, whose artistry and integrity literally seem to brighten whatever she sings.”
Opera News, March 2012
Karita Mattila is one of today’s most exciting lyric dramatic sopranos. She is recognized as much for the beauty and versatility of her voice as for her extraordinary stage ability. A native of Finland, Mattila was trained at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where her teacher was Liisa Linko-Malmio, and subsequently she studied with Vera Rozsa for nearly 20 years. She sings at all the world’s major opera houses and festivals, and has performed with the world’s greatest conductors including Levine, Abbado, Davis, Dohnanyi, Haitink, Pappano, Rattle, Salonen and Sawallisch. Her operatic repertoire encompasses works by Beethoven, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Puccini, Wagner and Janácek.
Mattila’s innate sense of drama has led to remarkable collaborations with major stage directors, including Luc Bondy in his highly acclaimed Don Carlos, which she performed in Paris, London and at the Edinburgh Festival; Lev Dodin in his productions of Elektra for the Salzburg Easter Festival and Pique Dame and Salome at the Opéra National de Paris; Peter Stein for his Simon Boccanegra in Salzburg and Don Giovanni in Chicago; and Jürgen Flimm for his Fidelio at the Metropolitan Opera. She is an influential artistic force in the development of new music, regularly collaborating with eminent contemporary composers in the debut performances of significant modern works. Recent performances in this genre include the world premiere of Emilie de Châtelet by Kaija Saariaho at the Opéra National de Lyon. She has won numerous awards throughout her distinguished career, including Musical America’s Musician of the Year and Opera News Awards (two of the most prestigious honors paid to classical artists in the USA) and the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (one of France’s highest cultural honors).
Karita Mattila has many recordings to her credit on the Phillips, EMI, Sony, DG, Warner and Ondine labels. Her 40th birthday concert, in front of nearly 12,000 people in Helsinki, was released on CD by Ondine. Other recordings include Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder with Claudio Abbado on the DG label. On the Warner labels: Arias and scenes from the operas of Puccini, Verdi, Janácek, Tchaikovsky, Wagner and R. Strauss with Yutaka Sado; German Romantic arias by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Weber with Sir Colin Davis; Grieg and Sibelius songs with Sakari Oramo; (all on Erato/Warner); complete recordings of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg on Decca with the late Sir Georg Solti, which won a Grammy ® Award in 1998; Jenůfa on Erato/Warner with Bernard Haitink, which won a Grammy ® Award in 2004; and Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14 with Sir Simon Rattle on EMI.
Recent highlights include Leonore in Fidelio for Houston Grand Opera, Emilia Marty in The Makropoulos Case at the Metropolitan Opera, the title role of Janácek’s Katya Kabanova at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Lisa in Pique Dame at the Metropolitan Opera, The Makropoulos Case at San Francisco Opera, concert appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Berlin Philharmonic with Sir Simon Rattle, and recitals at the Edinburgh International Festival and the Carnegie Hall, New York.
Highlights of the 2012-13 season include Emilia Marty in The Makropoulos Case at Finnish National Opera; the title role of Jenůfa at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich; Strauss's Vier letzte lieder with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon; concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; and recitals in London, Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Zurich, Paris, and the USA. Future seasons will see Mattila return to the Royal Opera House and the Metropolitan Opera, with roles including Marie in Wozzeck and the title roles of Ariadne auf Naxos and Jenůfa.