HELENA JUNTUNEN - Soprano
Finnish soprano Helena Juntunen incarnated the legendary ‘spirit of nature’ as her voice soared, raw and ripe, above the orchestra’s tremulous evocation of the Kalevala’s creation myth. London is unlikely to hear Sibelius like this for quite some time.”
Luonnotar - London Philharmonic Orchestra - The Times
Helena Juntunen is internationally recognised for her expressive character portrayals in the lyric repertoire. Recent notable roles include Marietta (Korngold’s Die tote Stadt), and Jenny Hill (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny) both for Opéra national de Lorraine, Marie (Wozzeck) with Opéra de Nice, and Zdenka (Arabella) for Vlaamse Opera. She is also particularly associated with the role of Pamina which she has performed at Festival d’Aix en Provence under Daniel Harding, at La Monnaie under René Jacobs, and at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Wiener Festwochen, Theater an der Wien and Sachsische Staatsoper Dresden. More recently she added the roles of Contessa Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro) and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) both for Opéra National de Lyon. Juntunen performed many roles during her association with Finnish National Opera, including Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), Micaela (Carmen), Liu (Turandot), and Mimi (La bohème).
This season‘s highlights include Iphigenie (Iphigenie en Tauride) at the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, and Madama Butterfly at the Savonlinna Opera Festival. Concert highlights include Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder with the Sinfónica de Galicia and Vier letzte Lieder with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra under Han-Na Chang.
The 2012/13 season saw role debuts in Der ferne Klang in a new production by Stéphane Braunschweig for Opéra National du Rhin, Der Zwerg in a new production by Philipp Himmelmann for Opéra national de Lorraine and Pagliacci in Vilppu Kiljunen’s new production for Finnish National Opera.
Recent concert highlights include her recital debut at London’s Wigmore Hall, her debut with Sydney Symphony performing Sibelius’s Kullervo under Vladimir Ashkenazy, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the London Symphony Orchestra (at the BBC Proms and Lincoln Center) under Sir Colin Davis, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Lucerne Festival under Vladimir Jurowski, and Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Donald Runnicles. She gave the Korean premiere of Lutosławski’s Chantefleurs et Chantefables with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra under Ilan Volkov.
Photo: Heikki Tuuli
A specialist of Finnish music and in particular of the works of Jean Sibelius, she has performed Luonnotar with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Osmo Vänskä and the Philharmonia Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy and has created a number of contemporary roles including Veli-Matti Puumala’s opera Anna Liisa at the Helsinki Festival, Leevi Madetoja’s The Ostrobothnians, Mikko Heiniö’s opera Eerik XIV at the Turku Music Festival and most recently in the world premiere of Jüri Reinvere’s Puhdistus (based on the internationally acclaimed novel by Sofi Oksanen) for Finnish National Opera.