Anne Sofie von Otter was born in Stockholm and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with Vera Rosza. She also attended classes in lied interpretation with Geoffrey Parsons in London and Erik Werba in Vienna. In 1980 she began her collaboration with the pianist Bengt Forsberg. Two years later she joined the ensemble of the Basle Opera, where she made her mark as an interpreter of Mozart (Cherubino, Dorabella, Sesto) and Richard Strauss (Composer). One of the finest singers of her generation, the internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano works with the pre-eminent conductors of the day, has triumphed at the world’s major opera houses and is a regular guest at leading festivals. Anne Sofie von Otter has also achieved great success as a lieder interpreter, mostly in collaboration with Bengt Forsberg.
Debut with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome under Giuseppe Sinopoli; first appears at the Aix-en-Provence Festival.
Covent Garden debut as Cherubino; Berlioz’s L’Enfance du Christ and La Damnation de Faust at the Opéra de Lyon under Gardiner. Beginning of her association with Deutsche Grammophon/Archiv Produktion.
CD releases: Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo (Messenger; Edison prize, 1988), and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, both with Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists.
Named “Recording Artist of the Year” with an International Record Critics Award.
At Covent Garden, debut in La Cenerentola (title role); CD releases: Mozart’s Idomeneo (Idamante) and La clemenza di Tito (Sesto) with Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists, and Le nozze di Figaro at the Met under Levine; Brahms lieder with Forsberg (Grand Prix International du disque, 1991).
Salzburg Easter Festival debut; great success as Ramiro in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera at the Salzburg Summer Festival.
CD of Grieg songs with Forsberg (Gramophone Award, Prix Caecilia, Brussels, 1993; Edison Award, Record Academy Prize, Tokyo, 1994).
Tours Japan with the Vienna State Opera in Der Rosenkavalier; CD releases: Speak Low (Weill songs) with Gardiner, the NDR Symphony Orchestra and Forsberg; Handel’s Marian Cantatas with Reinhard Goebel and Musica Antiqua Köln (CD Compact Award, Barcelona, 1995); lieder by Berg, Korngold and Strauss with Forsberg.
“Singer of the Year” at the Cannes Classical Awards and Germany’s Echo Awards; on CD: Berg’s orchestral lieder with Abbado and the Wiener Philharmoniker, and Schumann lieder with Forsberg (Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Académie du disque, Prix Caecilia, Brussels, 1995).
First recital at the Salzburg Festival; “Artist of the Year” at the Gramophone Awards; tours with songs from Wings in the Night (Echo Award, 1997); other CD releases: La bonne chanson (Edison Award, Grand Prix du disque, 1997); lieder by Mahler and Zemlinsky, and Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (Ottavia).
Great success as Handel’s Ariodante (under Minkowski) in Europe; debut as Carmen in Japan with the Opéra de Lyon and Kent Nagano, performs Carmen at the Berliner Philharmoniker’s New Year’s Eve concert with Abbado, recorded for DG and telecast live; Diapason d’or as “Artist of the Year”; CD releases: Ariodante (title role) with Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre (Classic CD Award and Cannes Classical Award, 1999).
Creates the role of Sorl in Ståden by Sven-David Sandström at the Royal Swedish Opera; CD releases include La Damnation de Faust (Marguerite) with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Chung, and Lamenti with Goebel and Musica Antiqua Köln.
Appears in Poppea in Aix-en-Provence; CD releases: Rendezvous with Korngold with Forsberg and Friends; Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with Thomas Quasthoff, the Berliner Philharmoniker and Abbado (Grammy, 2000); Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress (Baba the Turk) with the London Symphony Orchestra under Gardiner (Grammy, 2000); and Home for Christmas – a compilation of Swedish Christmas carols and songs.
Participates in the Stockholm concert celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize; named “Singer of the Year” at the Echo Awards; CD releases include For the Stars, with Elvis Costello (Edison Award, 2002), and Mots d’amour (Mélodies by Cécile Chaminade) with Forsberg (Gramophone Award “Best Vocal Recording”, 2002).
Sings Carmen at the Glyndebourne Festival. CD releases: Handel’s Hercules (Choc du Monde de la musique, Diapason d’or, 2002) and arias and scenes by Offenbach, both featuring Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre.
Tours Europe with Lamenti; BBC Prom with Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre; Handel’s Serse in Paris and London. CD releases: Mahler’s Third Symphony with the Wiener Philharmoniker under Boulez, orchestrated Schubert lieder with Abbado and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (Grammy, 2004), and Handel’s Giulio Cesare with Minkowski (Diapason d’Or, Record Academy Prize, Tokyo, 2003).
Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict and Strauss’s Capriccio in Paris, Poppea in Paris and London; recitals with Forsberg in Europe and North America and with Andreas Staier in Germany and Austria. CD releases include Watercolours, a second Swedish song recital with Forsberg (Diapason d’or, 2004), and Ravel’s Shéhérazade with Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra.
Appearances include Mélisande and Sesto, Ravel’s L’Heure espagnole, Gluck’s Orfeo, and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion; concerts and recitals in the USA and Europe, including a BBC Prom with Gustavo Dudamel and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. On CD: Mahler with Boulez and the Wiener Philharmoniker, and Music for a While – Baroque melodies by Caccini, Monteverdi, Frescobaldi, Ferrari, Strozzi, Dowland and Purcell.
Opera engagements include Carmen, Orfeo, Theodora (Handel) and Bluebeard’s Castle; Mahler song cycles with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Finnish Radio and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Berliner Philharmoniker; world premiere of Sven-David Sandström’s St. John Passion in Stockholm. Recitals in Japan, Europe and the USA. European tours with the programmes “I Let The Music Speak” and “Excerpts from the Great American Songbook”. CD releases: I Let The Music Speak – with the music of ABBA and songs by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and the Christmas album Noël with Bengt Forsberg. On Hélène Grimaud’s disc Reflection she performs three songs by Clara Schumann.
Role debut as Brangaene in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Los Angeles and New York, Orfeo in Stockholm, and Berlioz’s Les Troyens in Geneva; Ravel’s Shéhérazade with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in France, Mozart’s Requiem with Levine at the Verbier Festival, Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’été with Les Musiciens du Louvre – Grenoble and Minkowski at the Athens Festival, the BBC Proms and in Spain; recitals with Forsberg in London, Lille, Brussels, Vienna and Verbier. On her new recording with music composed by Jewish prisoners in the Theresienstadt (Terezín) concentration camp, she is joined by baritone Christian Gerhaher, pianists Bengt Forsberg and Gerold Huber, and violinist Daniel Hope (scheduled for summer).
Orfeo, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn in Stockholm; Lully’s Thésée in Paris; Ravel’s Shéhérazade at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress under Nikolaus Harnoncourt in Vienna; Mozart arias in Salzburg and Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne in Grenoble, Frankfurt, Spain and at the Budapest Festival under Marc Minkowski; Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and Berlioz’s Les Troyens with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under James Levine. Residency at Vienna’s Musikverein. Festival appearances in Sweden, Tanglewood, Santander, Lucerne, and Edinburgh. Christmas concert tour to the Far East. Release of Swedish orchestral songs by Hans Gefors, Anders Hillborg (both world-premiere recordings) and Laci Boldemann with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Kent Nagano.
Mahler’s Symphony no. 3 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Stockholm and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Wagner’s Götterdämmerung in Stockholm and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival; Mahler’s Symphony no. 8 in the USA; Songs from Theresienstadt in the USA, on tour in Europe, at the Rheingau, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern music festivals and at the Schubertiade; Offenbach’s La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein in Basle. Bach is on the programme of two European tours with Concerto Copenhagen to support her new recording of famous arias by J. S. Bach with Concerto Copenhagen under Lars Ulrik Mortensen, which is due for release in the spring.