Mezzo Anne Sofie von Otter has enjoyed one of the richest and most diverse careers of any opera star.
Born on May 9, 1955, in Stockholm, she would grow up in Bonn, London, and her native country due to her father’s status as a diplomat. She would study in both London and Stockholm before making her opera debut in 1983 at the Basel Opera.
Within five years she was singing her debuts in London, La Scala, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
In 1993 she won the Gramophone Record of the Year for her recording of Grieg Songs, making the first time that the accolade would go to a song recording. She would continue winning awards including the Grammy, and Edison Award, among others.
What makes her career unlike others is the diversity of music in her repertoire, the mezzo recording everything from complete operas, to tons of lieder, to oratorios, and even pop and rock music. In all she has several dozen albums and has also been involved in a number of modern operas, world premiering such works as “The Exterminating Angel” and “Autumn Sonata,” among others.
She also appeared in the film “A Late Quartet.”
Does Von Otter really have a signature opera role? She has certainly sung and recorded a wide range of operatic repertoire spanning the baroque works of Handel and Purcell all the way to Stravinsky, Adès, and Fagerlund.
But in all honesty, Von Otter is arguably at her best in the lieder repertoire. She has committed a vast range of lieder to recording and constantly tours the world singing recitals. It is here where her musical intelligence is undeniably at its peak, her intricate depth and level of detail simply marvelous.
Watch and Listen
Here are two different albums of song by the great mezzo.