Anne Sofie von Otter

Born: 1955

The Swedish mezzo-soprano has a vast repertoire, in countless languages, which she approaches with a professionalism and style that have kept her at the peak of her profession for many years. A consummate artist, she appears to move effortlessly between opera, song and choral music.

Tribute by Sir John Eliot Gardiner:

The outstanding mezzo of her generation, Anne Sofie von Otter has always shown extraordinary flexibility in terms both of her musical sympathies and stylistic awareness. The projects we did together in concert and on record during the 1980s and ’90s ranged from Monteverdi, through Handel and Bach, to Mozart, Beethoven and Berlioz. They extended to the Verdi Requiem, song-cycles by Mahler and Zemlinsky, and – probably the most unusual thing we did – Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins and Broadway songs, which she delivered with terrific panache. She is also a fantastic linguist, and she has a way of getting under the skin of every individual character and part that she performs, as well as an ability to find empathy with the individual composers. She is never somebody who uses ‘the voice’ – as singers so often refer to it – in a self-conscious and narcissistic way: she uses her voice in the service of the composer and the repertoire she is performing.

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