More than twenty years have passed since the Finnish soprano reached the final of the Cardiff Singer of the World competition. Since then, her meteoric rise as one of the outstanding Mozart and Richard Strauss sopranos of our day has masked the range of her operatic repertoire… Is there a more beautiful soprano voice in opera today? Listening to her rapt, long-breathed phrasing of Come, in quest’ora bruna from Boccanegra and Desdemona’s Willow Song and Ave Maria, it’s hard to think of one.
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times
Soile Isokoski’s name originally means ‘the northern light’ – a light that she carries to the world today in an exceptional way. One of the most celebrated sopranos to emerge from Finland, Isokoski studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and made her stage debut with Finnish National Opera.
She has gone on to capture audiences and critics alike across the world, winning the coveted ProFinlandia medal in 2002 in honour of her notable contribution to Finnish music. A regular guest of the most renowned opera houses, she is also a familiar face on the world’s most prestigious concert stages, working with conductors including Philippe Herreweghe, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Seiji Ozawa, John Elliot Gardiner, Sir Colin Davis, Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, Sir Simon Rattle, Marek Janowski, Bernhard Haitink, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Valerie Gergiev, Pierre Boulez, James Levine, Leif Segerstam and Michael Tilson Thomas, as well as giving numerous recitals with her accompanist Marita Viitasalo.
Isokoski’s acclaimed discography includes Strauss’ Four Last Songs under Marek Janowski (Gramophone Editor’s Choice Award 2002), as well as two Sibelius CDs under the baton of Leif Segerstam: Kullervo with Tommi Hakala (Diapason d’Or 2008) and Luonnotar and Orchestral songs (MIDEM classical award, BBC Music Magazine Vocal Award and Disc of the Year 2007). She was awarded the Sibelius Medal in 2007 and was honoured with the title of Austrian Kammersängerin in 2008. This year she received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Helsinki.
Isokoski’s recent engagements have included role debuts as Tatyana Eugene Onegin in Helsinki, Ellen Orford Peter Grimes in Dresden and Blanche de la Force Dialogues des Carmélites in Munich, as well as Rachel La Juive, Marschallin Der Rosenkavalier in London and Geneva, Donna Elvira Don Giovanni, Marguerite Faust in Vienna, Desdemona Otello in Berlin, Madame Lidoine Dialogues des Carmelites, and Elsa Lohengrin in Los Angeles.
Highlights of the 2012-13 season include Donna Elvira Don Giovanni at Los Angeles Opera, Desdemona Otello at the Wiener Staatsoper, Elsa Lohengrin at the Semperoper Dresden and Ariadne Ariadne auf Naxos at the Glyndebourne Festival.