Referring to Malena Ernman as Sweden’s most unusual opera star would hardly be an exaggeration. The mezzo-soprano from Sandviken - north Sweden - comfortably goes from the high culture opera houses of Vienna and Paris to comedy sketches at award shows without regard to the reactions from the sometimes-conservative world of opera.
"People also react when they hear me ”speaking normally”. I guess it can come as a surprise, since an opera singer can sound like a pompous actor just by ordering a regular cup of coffee."
About the high culture aspect of opera, Malena says:
"I think we have worked very hard within the opera world to become a part of the popular music scene, but we can’t!!! Only the audience can make opera popular music. Hopefully La Voix can play a small part in making that happen."
Despite her young age, Malena has paid her dues and gained a lot of experience within her field. A Wikipedia search reveals the following:
Malena Ernman, (full name: Sara Magdalena Ernman) born November 4th 1970 in Uppsala, Sweden is a Swedish opera singer (mezzo-soprano). She is the daughter of Lars Ernman and Eva Ernman. Married to actor Svante Thunberg.
Malena Ernman from the town of Sandviken is a member of the Royal Academy of Music and one of the most sought-after opera singers in the world. She has quickly gained worldwide fame within her genre and is considered by many to be a world-class mezzo-soprano singer. She was educated at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, the Music Conservatory in Orléans, France and at the school of the Royal Swedish Opera.
Malena Ernmans breakthrough performance came in 1998, when she did a spectacular performance as Kaja in Sven-David Sandströms show, Staden.
Malena Ernman has appeared as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro (Staatsoper Berlin/Daniel Barenboim), Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia by Rossini (Staatsoper Berlin) and in the title role of Carmen (Royal Opera Stockholm). She was also seen in the title role of Boesmans’ Julie at la Monnaie, Wiener Festwochen and in Aix-en-Provence. She also played the role of Zerlina in Don Giovanni (Staatsoper Berlin/Barenboim).
Her major international breakthrough came with her performance in Aggrippina (Brussels, Paris Rene Jacobs) 1999. She has performed at the Glyndebourne Festival as Nancy in Albert Herring (summer of 2002) and Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus (summer of 2003).
The spring of 2006 included the title role of Dido and Aeneas in Vienna and Annio in La Clemenza di Tito at the Salzburg Festspiele (N. Harnoncourt).
In 2007 she played Sesto in Giulio Cesare with René Jacobs in Vienna, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro (Daniel Harding Aix en Pce) and Nerone in The Coronation of Poppea,
In 2009, Malena will be starring in Cinderella at the Royal Swedish Opera and in Frankfurt she will do the title role of Dido in Dido and Aeneas (Paris Wien Amsterdam William Christie).
She is also a much sought-after concert singer and has performed in Tokyo, Rome, Madrid, Paris, London and Los Angeles with conductors like Esa Pekka Salonen, Herbert Blomstedt, Sir Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim and Phillip Herreweghe.
Malena´s discography includes the solo albums Cabaret Songs (BIS), My Love (BIS), Songs in Season (Nytorp Musik) and Müllers Nachtgesänge (Col legno).
Malena Erman has appeared on Swedish television on many occasions, such as the much talked about No Strings with Martin Fröst. (SVT 2005.)
On March 14th 2009, Malena won Melodifestivalen in Stockholm, and will go on to represent Sweden in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. Malena explains how the idea came about:
"Fredrik Kempe, who wrote the song, is an old friend of mine. We worked together at the Opera in Stockholm with Staden by Sven David Sandström, ten years ago. Then Fredrik called me last summer and said he had a song that would suit me. It sounded like a fun idea, but of course I thought about it for a long time. We recorded a demo during the autumn, and that was it!"
Malena looks at her participation in the Eurovision Song Contest as a “fun thing to try”:
"I always watch the Eurovision Song Contest on the web. The whole family will watch together in front of the computer, in whatever european city we happen to be in. It´s like being back in Sweden for a few hours, and that’s a great feeling!"
"I love the Eurovision Song Contest. Together with the World Cup in football and the Olympics, I think it’s the best entertainment on TV."
"But just two days after the Swedish competition I will be back on the opera stage, this time in Frankfurt. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to try so many different genres of music, everything from opera to jazz and ballads, and now the the Eurovision Song Contest."
Discussing the biggest difference between opera and the Eurovision Song Contest, Malena says:
"In the opera I´m on stage for three hours, singing without a microphone. In the Eurovision Song Contest, I´m on stage for three minutes, singing with a microphone."
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