Karita Mattila
Soprano

“Mattila is unquestionably glorious…that engulfing sound still hits you in the solar plexus.” (Tim Ashley, The Guardian)

Contacts

Ian Stones +44 (0)20 3725 9104
Christopher Lawson +44 (0)20 3725 9108

Biography

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 dramatic sopranos in the world today. 

In demand by every major opera house and festival, Karita Mattila performs with the world’s greatest conductors including Levine, Davis, Dohnányi, Haitink, Pappano, Rattle and Salonen. Outstanding collaborations with major stage directors to date include: Luc Bondy in his highly acclaimed Don Carlos, which she performed in Paris, London and at the Edinburgh International Festival; Lev Dodin in his productions of Elektra for the Salzburg Easter Festival and Pique Dame and Salome at 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. Other critically acclaimed roles include Kostelnička (Jenůfa) which she has recently performed at The Metropolitan Opera conducted by David Robertson, at the Bayerische Staatsoper under Tomáš Hanus, with San Francisco Opera under Jiří Bĕlohlávek and also in concert with Bĕlohlávek and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; and Emilia Marty (Věc Makropulos) for The Metropolitan Opera, Finnish National Opera and at the BBC Proms. She has performed Sieglinde (Die Walküre) for Houston Grand Opera, Marie (Wozzeck) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos for the Bayerische Staatsoper and also at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden 

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 dramatic sopranos in the world today. 

In demand by every major opera house and festival, Karita Mattila performs with the world’s greatest conductors including Levine, Davis, Dohnányi, Haitink, Pappano, Rattle and Salonen. Outstanding collaborations with major stage directors to date include: Luc Bondy in his highly acclaimed Don Carlos, which she performed in Paris, London and at the Edinburgh International Festival; Lev Dodin in his productions of Elektra for the Salzburg Easter Festival and Pique Dame and Salome at 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. Other critically acclaimed roles include Kostelnička (Jenůfa) which she has recently performed at The Metropolitan Opera conducted by David Robertson, at the Bayerische Staatsoper under Tomáš Hanus, with San Francisco Opera under Jiří Bĕlohlávek and also in concert with Bĕlohlávek and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; and Emilia Marty (Věc Makropulos) for The Metropolitan Opera, Finnish National Opera and at the BBC Proms. She has performed Sieglinde (Die Walküre) for Houston Grand Opera, Marie (Wozzeck) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos for the Bayerische Staatsoper and also at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden 

Current season highlights include Sieglinde (Die Walküre) at San Francisco Opera and important role debuts as Begbick (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny) at Opernhaus Zürich and as Kundry in a concert performance of Parsifal at the Turku Music Festival.

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Contacts

Ian Stones +44 (0)20 3725 9104
Christopher Lawson +44 (0)20 3725 9108

Reviews

“Karita Mattila: a force of nature impossible to resist…there’s no denying that Karita Mattila socks it to an audience through a star quality all too rare on the classical scene today…she can still sing softly to generate a warm tonal glow and at the climaxes above the stave she raises the rafters without a hint of vibrato or tremolo. Even more impressive than this is her commitment: whether it’s exuberant gypsy songs by Brahms or the slyly deductive cabaret number by Friedrich Holländer, she inhabits what she sings, making it vivid, real, immediate, personal.” (Rupert Christiansen, Telegraph, May 2017)

“Karita Mattila swept on to the Wigmore Hall platform and scooped the audience into the palm of her hand for two hours. In part, that’s because the soprano is such a fabulous and fearlessly direct stage performer…Fundamentally, though, it’s about the rich nuance of her vocal sound, which still ranges from the full-on operatic to the intimate, all delivered with a laser-sharp awareness of both text and context.” (Martin Kettle, Guardian, May 2017)

“Her identification with the character is almost frighteningly complete. She sings with a rapture that borders on recklessness.” (Tim Ashley, The Guardian, February 2017)

“Karita Mattila: a force of nature impossible to resist…there’s no denying that Karita Mattila socks it to an audience through a star quality all too rare on the classical scene today…she can still sing softly to generate a warm tonal glow and at the climaxes above the stave she raises the rafters without a hint of vibrato or tremolo. Even more impressive than this is her commitment: whether it’s exuberant gypsy songs by Brahms or the slyly deductive cabaret number by Friedrich Holländer, she inhabits what she sings, making it vivid, real, immediate, personal.” (Rupert Christiansen, Telegraph, May 2017)

“Karita Mattila swept on to the Wigmore Hall platform and scooped the audience into the palm of her hand for two hours. In part, that’s because the soprano is such a fabulous and fearlessly direct stage performer…Fundamentally, though, it’s about the rich nuance of her vocal sound, which still ranges from the full-on operatic to the intimate, all delivered with a laser-sharp awareness of both text and context.” (Martin Kettle, Guardian, May 2017)

“Her identification with the character is almost frighteningly complete. She sings with a rapture that borders on recklessness.” (Tim Ashley, The Guardian, February 2017)

“Mattila was something else, somewhere else. At an age when most sopranos are fading, she is basking in an Indian summer, and like her legendary predecessor Leonie Rysanek, she holds nothing back. This Sieglinde radiated a quality of ecstatic incandescent abandon that went way beyond mere vocalising – she was simply a woman who needed to be freed from misery, a woman who needed to give herself up to love. Kaufmann sang the music marvellously: but it was Mattila who found the heart of the drama and lived in it.” (Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, February 2017)

“The requisite atmosphere was only one virtue of the incandescent production of Jenůfa that welcomed back Karita Mattila to San Francisco as the Kostelnička, a new role which the Finnish soprano added to her repertory in a now-legendary London concert performance in April. Mattila’s interpretation of the title role has been acclaimed for decades; her stage debut as the stepmother whose agonized act of infanticide propels this 1904 music drama dominated the performance…her soprano remains blessedly even and expressive throughout its range.” (Opera Magazine, October 2016)

“She was every bit the femme fatale. But for every hip-swagger there was a shrug of apathy: a glimpse of the emotional corpse that Marty has become. Delivered in characteristically full and fearless voice, her interpretation alone would have justified this performance.” (Financial Times, August 2016)

“Karita Mattila was Emilia Marty, quite literally…she incarnated every aspect – glamour and charm, wiles and caprices, cynicism and compassion – of this mercurial character. And this wasn’t mere histrionic posturing: her singing was gloriously rich and expressive.” (Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen, August 2016)

“Emilia Marty is a role that Mattila has very much made her own in recent years, and it’s hard to imagine it sung more beautifully or with greater opulence of tone…Yet Mattila’s characterisation also runs gloriously deep…The closing scene, in which Marty finally finds emotional release in acceptance of her own mortality, was realised in an engulfing flood of sound that took one’s breath away. (Guardian, Tim Ashley, August 2016)

“Whether we knew it or not, the operatic world has been waiting all this time for Karita Mattila to sing the role Kostelnicka…She finally did so at the San Francisco Opera and the results were even more intense and brilliant than we could have hoped…there was no mistaking that the focus of attention was on Mattila, in a performance of unforgettable theatrical intensity and vocal brilliance…With Mattila, there are no compromises…her vocal endowments are, if anything, more opulent and finely honed than ever. Throughout the opera, and especially during Kostelnicka’s climactic moral crisis at the heart of Act 2, Mattila unleashed great torrents of sound – now burnished to an extraordinary lyrical sheen for moments of introspection, now pouring forth in a practically unhinged expression of psychic anguish. And as a singing actor, Mattila is nonpareil. The combination of provincial rectitude and maternal tenderness that make Kostelnicka such a tricky character to embody onstage shone through with telling clarity in her performance…One way or another, everything in this production works perfectly – and Mattila’s exquisite performance most perfectly of all.” (San Francisco Chronicle, June 2016)

“Karita Mattila, grabbing the Kostelnička irresistibly by the throat…Mattila’s voice, as always both imposing and intriguingly diffuse” (Opera Magazine, July 2016)

“Mattila is among the greatest contemporary exponents of Jenufa - which she sang at Covent Garden in 2001 - so she has chosen a good time to make the transition to the other title role. Now 55, she looks the part of the staunch matriarch, yet her voice is still in prime condition, a big lyric soprano with a penetrating edge to it. She sings Kostelnička’s notes more beautifully - and accurately - than any other soprano I have heard live (more than 40)… She will take the role into her stage repertory, first in June in San Francisco, later in Munich and at the Met. Let’s hope the Royal Opera has joined the queue.” (Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, April 2016)

“Formidable Mattila is devastating as the Kostelnička…the voice itself, engulfing in it beauty and power, sounds devastating in this music, and the great scenes were wonderfully realised.” (Tim Ashley, Guardian, April 2016)

“Dominating it in every way was Finnish star soprano Karita Mattila…She threw herself into the role [of Kostelnička] with the recklessness that only a great artist can manage. She was every inch the iron matriarch…Mattila was the glowing centre of [this] performance” (Ivan Hewett, Telegraph, April 2016)

“they were all dwarfed next to the phenomenon that was Karita Mattila’s Kostelnička” (Financial Times, April 2016)

“Karita Mattila was sounding at her incandescent best” (Arts Desk, April 2016)

“Karita Mattila as her stepmother delivered a performance of raw emotion tipping over into madness.” (Evening Standard, April 2016)

“Karita Mattila, as Ariadne…returned to [the role] with complete confidence…there’s a compelling intensity to the portrayal, a moving commitment that’s impossible to resist…but the power [of her voice] – in terms of both expressiveness and decibels – feels undimmed.” (Opera Magazine, December 2015)

“Mattila is unquestionably glorious…that engulfing sound still hits you in the solar plexus. Her singing is wonderfully controlled yet abandoned in expression, trawling Strauss’s emotional extremes with an utterly compelling immediacy. Ever the theatrical animal, she turns the Prima Donna of the Prologue into a real monster sacré, before taking us with her every step of the way on Ariadne’s journey from grief to sensual renewal in the second half.” (Tim Ashley, Guardian, October 2015)

“Mattila’s unflagging intensity and emotional generosity were absolutely gripping…Her performances were expertly paced with an intelligent narrative arc, dreamy without sacrificing expressive clarity. Mattila sang with a great commitment to character, painting detailed psychological portraits.” (Chicago Classical Review, August 2015)

“Karita Mattila, in her role debut as Sieglinde…sang with thrilling richness and steadiness. Her soprano soared with ease in Sieglinde’s ecstatic outpourings” (William Albright, Classical Voice North America, April 2015)

“[Mattila] sounds ravishing throughout her ordeal…A high-powered actress who takes the stage just by stepping onto it, Mattila’s unfailing in her commitment and electric presence. She’s the best part of the this show.” (D. L. Groover, Houston Press, April 2015)

“Karita Mattila, in her role debut as Marie, is in fearless voice.” (Richard Fairman, Financial Times, November 2013)

“in a selection of songs by Marx, Mattila’s soaring romantic soprano and Matvejeff’s virtuoso accompaniments combined in performances of near-Wagnerian lushness and grandeur. She excited as only Mattila could, with a blazing tango encore, like the Eva Perón of the recital hall, and every bit as compelling.” (Richard Fairman, Financial Times, April 2013)

“Mattilla struck solid gold with her Duparc sequence…such steady romantic line in “Chanson Triste”, such mounting heroism about the waiting woman in “Au pays ou se fait la guerre”…Mattila shaped the often nightmarish nocturnal poetry of Paavo Haavikko [in songs by Sibelius] to several shattering climaxes; no wonder the voice resonated through the piano sounding-board.” (David Nice, The Arts Desk, April 2013)

“Mattila was electrifying before she had sung a note…This is what you call charisma…her singing was commanding: cool and cagey one moment, intense and chilling the next.” (Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, April 2012)

“[Mattila] bestrides the stage with cheerful grandiosity, exudes sexy excess and swaggers ferociously. She sings with silken purity that masks dynamic thrust. As with her celebrated Salome, she exerts magnetism at every tasteless turn.” (Martin Bernheimer, Financial Times, April 2012)

“[Mattila is] the most physical Fidelio. Her dark voice glimmers with velvet warmth, and her dramatic Act I outburst against Pizarro’s brutality completely chills.” (D. L. Groover, Houston Press, October 2011)