Obituary: Soprano Riikka Hakola Dies at 61

By Francisco Salazar

Soprano Riikka Hakola had died at the age of 61.

According to reports, the soprano died on Feb. 5 of a brain tumor that was diagnosed last September.

Born in 1962, Hakola went on to study and graduate from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and continued her studies in London, Berlin, New York, and Milan.

She had a big break when she won the first prize at the Kangasniemi and second prize at the Timo Mustakallio Vocal competition in 1987.

Following her wins, she made her debut at The Finnish National Opera as “Lucia di Lammermoor.” She went on to become one of the leading sopranos at the house performing there for 20 years in numerous roles.

She also made an international career performing Stockholm and Copenhagen Royal Operas, the Oslo National Opera, the Bolshoi Theatre, the Latvian National Opera, the Bonn Opera, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, the Washington Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera Company.

Among her signature roles Violetta in “La Traviata,” Donna Anna and Donna Elvira in “Don Giovanni,”  Fiordiligi in “Cosi fan Tutte,” Adina in “L’Elisir d’Amore,” Rosina in “Barbiere di Sevilla,” “Lucia di Lammermoor,” Nedda in “I Pagliacci,” Micaela in “Carmen,” Natasha in “War and Peace,” and “Anna Bolena,” among others.

She was also a well-known concert soloist and performed several world premieres by contemporary composers such as “Bird and the Wind” by Eero Hämeenniemi, “Magic Mirror” by Jukka Linkola, the 5. Symphony by Erkki Salmenhaara and Onerva in “The Knife” by Paavo Heininen, among others.

Throughout her career, she left many recordings including solo recital albums and “Benjamin Britten: Les Illumination (Virtuosi di Kuhmo).”