Artist Of The Week: Nina Stemme

Swedish Dramatic Soprano Makes Role Debut In ‘Die Frau Ohne Schatten’

By Francisco Salazar

This week the Wiener Staatsoper is set to open one of most anticipated productions of the 2018-19 season. The production is especially anticipated as it features a stellar cast with three of the most acclaimed dramatic sopranos currently performing in the world. Specifically, Nina Stemme is set for her role debut as the Barak’s wife, a role that is especially demanding and one that most of the great dramatic sopranos have performed in history.

Stemme is no stranger to Strauss as she has made his music a signature of her repertoire. She has performed the Marschallin to great acclaim and has also conquered the role of Salome. Her Four Last Songs have also garnered a lot of attention but it is perhaps her “Elektra” interpretation that has dominated throughout. In the past years, it has been her Strauss calling card, and she has given acclaimed performances in the role at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Wiener Staatsoper. With the Barak’s wife, she adds another demanding role to her repertoire and one that she will surely conquer as she has done with nearly every role she has touched.

And if you’re not in Vienna for performances of Strauss’ “Die Frau Ohne Schatten,” the soprano continues in Vienna through June, where she also sings “Tosca” and then arrives at the Bayerische Staatsoper for “Turandot.” She also sings “Die Frau ohn Schatten” at the Verbier Festival, before her 2019-20 season begins.


Stemme has a number of incredible interpretations documented on record and DVD. But if you were to pick a single opera where the soprano dominates, it would be “Tristan und Isolde.” It is an opera she has performed all over the world and has three recordings of. The recording with Plácido Domingo is the most famous, while the DVD from Glyndebourne is also impeccable. Then there is the recording with Stephen Gould, which is also highly recommended.

And for those who want to hear some other work from Stemme, take a listen right here.