Nina Stemme

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Nina Stemme, Tosca, Wiener Staatsoper, 2012 Nina Stemme.JPG
Nina Stemme, Tosca, Wiener Staatsoper, 2012

Nina Maria Stemme (born Nina Maria Thöldte on May 11, 1963) is a Swedish dramatic soprano opera singer.


Stemme "is regarded by today's opera fans as our era's greatest Wagnerian soprano". [1] In 2010, Michael Kimmelman wrote of one of Stemme's performances in Richard Wagner's opera Die Walküre , "As for Brünnhilde, Nina Stemme sang gloriously. It's hard to recall anyone's sounding more commanding or at ease in the part, and that includes Kirsten Flagstad". [2]

Early life and education

Born in Stockholm, the young Stemme played piano and viola. She attended Adolf Fredrik's Music School (Swedish: Adolf Fredriks Musikklasser), a high-profile song-and-chorus school in Stockholm. [3] [4] During a year as an exchange student at Langley High School in McLean, Virginia, she joined the school chorus, sang solos and won awards. [5]

Parallel to her studies of business administration and economics at the University of Stockholm, Stemme followed a two-year course at the Stockholm Operastudio. Her debut as Cherubino in Cortona, Italy, in 1989 made Stemme decide to follow a professional singer's career; her studies at the University College of Opera in Stockholm were completed in 1994. In addition to two minor roles at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm, she also sang Rosalinde ( Die Fledermaus ), Mimì ( La bohème ), Euridice in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice , and Diana ( La fedeltà premiata by Haydn). [4] [6]

She sang in two singing competitions, Operalia, The World Opera Competition [7] and Cardiff Singer of the World. [8] As winner of Operalia in 1993, Stemme was invited by Plácido Domingo, founder of Operalia, to appear with him in a concert at La Bastille (1993); the same concert also took place on January 1, 1994, in Munich. [9]


Nina Stemme, Notorious, GoteborgsOperan, 2015. Photographer - Neda Navaee Nina Stemme Photographer - Neda Navaee.jpg
Nina Stemme, Notorious, GöteborgsOperan, 2015. Photographer - Neda Navaee

Since her 1989 operatic debut as Cherubino in Cortona, Italy, Stemme has appeared with many opera companies, including the Royal Swedish Opera Stockholm, the Vienna State Opera, La Scala Milano, Semperoper Dresden, Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Zurich Opera, Teatro di San Carlo Naples, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Opéra Bastille Paris, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Covent Garden London, Teatro Real Madrid, Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, the Metropolitan Opera New York, San Francisco Opera, as well as at the Bayreuth, Salzburg, Savonlinna, Glyndebourne and Bregenz festivals. [10]

Her roles [11] include Rosalinde, Mimì in La bohème , Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly , Turandot , Tosca , Manon Lescaut , Suor Angelica , Euridice, Katerina in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk , the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro , Marguerite, Agathe, Marie, Nyssia (König Kandaules), Jenůfa, Marschallin, Eva, Elisabeth, Elsa, Senta, Sieglinde, Elisabeth in Tannhäuser and Isolde. This last brought her critical acclaim at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 2003, on disc for EMI Classics with Plácido Domingo, Antonio Pappano and the chorus and orchestra of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden released in 2005 and most recently at the Bayreuth Festival in 2005 and again in 2006. In 2007 Stemme returned in the role of Isolde to Glyndebourne Festival Opera where she made her debut in the role. [12]

In 2006, Stemme sang Maria in the premiere of Sven-David Sandström's Ordet – en passion , on March 24 in Stockholm. [13] She also made her role debut in the title role of Aida in a new production at Zürich Opera [14] and recorded her first album of Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs and final scenes. On the concert platform in 2006–07, she appeared in recital with Antonio Pappano (piano) in Barcelona and Dresden, in concert performances of Salome in Strasbourg and Paris and in recital at the Zürich Opera. [15]

In 2008, Stemme replaced Deborah Voigt in what would have been Voigt's role debut as Brünnhilde in the opera Siegfried , part of a new Vienna State Opera Ring cycle conducted by Franz Welser-Möst. Stemme also sang Brünnhilde in the 2010 season opening at La Scala [16] and in San Francisco Opera's 2011 Ring cycle. [17]

In 2015 Stemme is scheduled to perform at GöteborgsOperan in Gothenburg, Sweden, in a new opera by composer Hans Gefors with libretto by Kerstin Perski and directed by Keith Warner. The opera is based on Alfred Hitchcock's spy thriller Notorious from 1946. Other members of the cast include Katarina Karnéus, John Lundgren and Michael Weinius. [18]

In September and October 2016, Stemme returned to the role of Isolde in the Metropolitan Opera's new production of "Tristan und Isolde". [19]

In 2017, Stemme was the soprano soloist at the Last Night of the Proms.

Stemme performs on average 40 times per year in various venues around the world. [20]

Personal life

Stemme lives in Stockholm. She is married to stage designer Bengt Gomér and has three children. [4] She speaks five languages. [4]



Stemme's repertoire includes: [10]

Year (debut)ComposerOperaRole(s)Location
2011 Ludwig van Beethoven Fidelio Leonore Royal Opera House
Alban Berg Wozzeck Marie
Christoph Willibald Gluck Orfeo ed Euridice Euridice
2015 Hans Gefors Notorious Alicia GöteborgsOperan
Charles Gounod Faust Marie
Joseph Haydn La fedeltà premiata Diana
Leoš Janáček Jenůfa Jenůfa
Bohuslav Martinů The Greek Passion Katerina
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Le nozze di Figaro Contessa
1989 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Le nozze di Figaro Cherubino Cortona
2011 Giacomo Puccini La fanciulla del West Minnie Royal Opera Stockholm
Giacomo Puccini Madama Butterfly Cio-Cio San
Giacomo Puccini Manon Lescaut Manon
Giacomo Puccini Suor Angelica Angelica
Giacomo Puccini Tosca Tosca
2013 Giacomo Puccini Turandot Turandot Royal Opera Stockholm
Dmitri Shostakovich Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District Katerina Ismailowa
Johann Strauss II Die Fledermaus Rosalinde
2006 Richard Strauss Arabella Arabella GöteborgsOperan
Richard Strauss Ariadne auf Naxos Ariadne
Richard Strauss Der Rosenkavalier Marschallin
2015 Richard Strauss Elektra Elektra Vienna State Opera
Richard Strauss Salome Salome
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin Tatjana
2006 Giuseppe Verdi Aida Aida Zürich Opera
Giuseppe Verdi La forza del destino Leonora
Giuseppe Verdi Un ballo in maschera Amelia
1994 Richard Wagner Das Rheingold Freia Bayreuth Festival
Richard Wagner Der fliegende Holländer Senta
Richard Wagner Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Eva
Richard Wagner Lohengrin Elsa
Richard Wagner Tannhäuser Elisabeth
2003 Richard Wagner Tristan und Isolde Isolde Glyndebourne Festival
Richard Wagner Die Walküre Sieglinde
2008 Richard Wagner Siegfried Brünnhilde Vienna State Opera
2010 Richard Wagner Die Walküre Brünnhilde San Francisco Opera
2011 Richard Wagner Götterdämmerung Brünnhilde San Francisco Opera
Carl Maria von Weber Der Freischütz Agathe
Carl Maria von Weber Oberon Rezia
2002 Alexander von Zemlinsky Der König Kandaules Nyssa Salzburg Festival


Stemme's recordings include:

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Further reading