Born in Somero, Finland, on September 5, 1960, Karita Mattila graduated 1983 from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where she studied singing with Liisa Linko-Malmio. She then continued her studies with Vera Rózsa in London. Also in 1983, Mattila won the first Cardiff Singer of the World competition.
In 1985, she made her Covent Garden debut with the Royal Opera as Fiordiligi in Mozart's Così fan tutte. She was seen as Emma in the first ever televised production of Schubert's Fierrabras at the Vienna State Opera in 1988. In 1990 she made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Donna Elvira in Mozart's Don Giovanni.
In 1994, she made her Spanish debut as Tatyana in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin in Madrid, and 1996 debuts in Paris in Wagner's Lohengrin, Verdi's Don Carlos.
Mattila has won Grammy Awards for "Best Opera Recording" for Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in 1998 and for Jenůfa in 2004. [Vis-à-vis the recording shown at right, see my interviews with Anja Silja, Jerry Hadley, and Bernard Haitink.] She was awarded the Evening Standard Ballet, Opera and Classical Music Award for “Outstanding Performance of the Year” in 1998 for her performance of Elisabeth in Don Carlos at the Royal Opera House.
In 2001 The New York Times chose Karita Mattila as the best singer of the year for her performance in Fidelio at the Metropolitan Opera, and in the same year she was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award “Outstanding Achievement in Opera”.
Mattila's 2004 New York performances in Salome and subsequent Káťa Kabanová inspired the New York press to write: "When the history of the Metropolitan Opera around the time of the millennium is written, Karita Mattila will deserve her own chapter."
In 2005, she was named Musician of the Year 2005 by Musical America, which describes her "the most electrifying singing actress of our day, the kind of performer who renews an aging art form and drives the public into frenzies." BBC Music Magazine named Mattila as one of the top 20 sopranos of the recorded era in 2007.
Worldwide audiences saw Mattila in Manon Lescaut live in movie theaters in 2008. The Metropolitan's Salome and Tosca were seen live in High Definition worldwide in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
In 2010 at Opéra National de Lyon, Mattila created the role
of Émilie du Châtelet in Kaija Saariaho's monodrama Émilie,
which was dedicated to her.
See my interviews with Kurt Moll, and Duane Schuler (Lighting Designer
of the Fidelio)
See my interview with Thomas Moser
© 1991 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded at her hotel in Chicago on January 23, 1991. Portions were broadcast on WNIB the following year, and again in 1995 and 2000. This transcription was made in 2018, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.