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Malena Ernman (Mezzo-soprano)

Malena Ernman was recently called ” without a doubt one of the worlds greatest singers” in Swedens leading newspaper Dagens Nyheter. But Malena Ernman is far more than a world class mezzo. She is an entertainer in the words true meaning – a groundbreaking modern classical artist with an extremely flexible voice, spanning over nearly 4 octaves. A voice that is willing to try out anything that spells music.

Education and background

Malena Ernman is educated at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockolm, the Conservatoire d’Orléans and the National Opera School in Stockholm.

Her musical background is firmly anchored in the Swedish choir tradition. From the age of 6 she was a member of the the Coromanterna Choir in her native Sandviken; a small industrial town some 200km north of Stockholm. And until her exam from the National Opera School she sang the first alto part in the Swedish Radio Choir under the supervision of Tönu Kaljuste, Gustav Sjökvist and Eric Ericsson.


Her swedish breakthrough came straight after finishing Opera school, 1998, in the roles Kaja in Sven David Sandströms Staden and Rosina in il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Swedish opera , where she later also sang the title roles of Carmen and  La Cenerentola.

Malena sang some very early and hugely praised roles at the Staatsoper Berlin ; as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro ( D Barenboim) Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia ( D Barenboim) and Roberto in Scarlatti’s Griselda ( R Jacobs). Followed by Zerlina in Don Giovanni ( D Barenboim).

Her international breakthrough came in 1999 as Nerone in Agrippina ( René Jacobs) at La Monnaie in Bruxelles and Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris; a role that has indeed followed her career in various new productions during the last decade. Next time it will be performed in Barcelona 2013 – still under the baton of René Jacobs and with Malena Ernman as the only remaining solist from the original Bruxelles production.

Malena Ernman has appeared at the Glyndebourne Festival as Nancy in Albert Herring and as Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus.

In 2004 she sang Elvira in Don Giovanni at La Monnaie in Bruxelles. And at the Festival d’Aix en Provence, the Wiener Festwochen and Opéra Garnier in Paris s he sang Lichas in Hercules with William Christie and les Arts Florissants.

In 2005 she created the title role at the world premiere of Philippe Boesmans Julie at La Monnaie in Bruxelles, the Wiener Festwochen and in Aix en Provence.

2006 she started out as Nerone in L’Incoronazione di Poppea ( R Jacobs) at the Staatsoper Berlin and at La Monnaie in Bruxelles. In the same year at the Wiener Festwochen she made her debut as Dido in Dido and Aeneas ( W Christie and les Arts Florissants) followed by Annius in La Clemenza di Tito ( N Harnoncourt) at the Festspiele in Salzburg.

In 2007 she sang Sesto i Giulio Cesare ( R Jacobs) in Wien, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro (Daniel Harding) in Aix en Provence and Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea (C Rousset) at De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam.

During 2008 Malena Ernman returned to the Royal Opera in Stockholm to make her debut as Angelina in Irina Brooks production of La Cenerentola. In the autumn she once again sang the title role in Dido and Aeneas at the Opéra Comique in Paris with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants.

In 2009 she sang Angelina in La Cenerentola at Oper Frankfurt and at the end of april she sang the same role the Royal Opera in Stockholm. After that awaited Dido in Dido and Aeneas ( W Christie and Les Arts Florissants) at the Wiener Festwochen and at De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam.

In March 2010 she made her debut as Idamante in Mozarts Idomeneo at La Monnaie in Brussels. She has sang numerous concerts in Scandinavia and Germany, including one in Sthlm Globe Arena with Andrea Bocelli.

Future engagements include Händels Semele ( sept 2010 ) and Rodelinda ( spring 2011) and the title role in Händels Serse ( Xerxes) in the autumn of 2011. All at Theater an der Wien.


Malena Ernman is a highly renowned concert artist with concerts in Rome, Madrid, Paris, London, Los Angeles, Berlin and Tokyo. Working with conductors like Esa Pekka Salonen, René Jacobs, Daniel Barenboim, Nicolaus Harnoncourt, Philippe Herreweghe, Herbert Blomstedt, Marc Minkowski, Daniel Harding and Sir Simon Rattle.

Her – extremely- wide reportoire include Berios Folk Songs, Seven Deadly Sins by Kurt Weill, Elgars Sea Pictures, Mahlers Kinder Toten Lieder, Bach Cantatas, Mozart’s requiem and C-minor mass and Cabaret songs by Bolcom, Britten and Holländer as well as song cycles by Grieg, Schumann, Brahms, Stenhammar and Nyström.

Malena also sings a wide range of modern contemporary music, often directly written for her by composers like Sven David Sandström, Philippe Boesmans, Anders Hillborg, Fabian Müller and György Ligiti.

Jazz and musical

Malena Ernman is widely knowned for her ability to sing cross over music. She is very versatile and moves effortlessly between different styles and genres.

The fact is that she started her soloist singing career as a jazz singer in Orléans and Paris at the age of 15 in the mid 80s. She has made many jazz concerts with legendary swedish jazz artists including Arne Domnérus, Putte Wickman and Magnus Lindgren among many others.

She also sings musicals. For instance; in 2001 she played Sally Bowles in Cabaret at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm.


Malena Ernman has been a frequent guest artist on Swedish TV. Performing on various TV shows and galas including the Swedish Sport Awards and the Noble Prize. In 2004 she created the hugely successful No Strings Attached along with Martin Fröst and Niklas Sivelöv on SVT.

2009 she entered the Swedish Melodifestivalen Eurovision Grand Prix with the song La Voix written by her friend Fredrik Kempe. Malena won the competition and represented  Sweden in Moscow in may 2009. She finished 4th in her semifinal ( 9th overall in the semifinals). Malena Ernman finished 21 in the final.


Malena Ernman is married to actor Svante Thunberg. They have two daughters, Greta and Beata. They live on Kungsholmen in Stockholm.

Malena Ernman is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

Malena Ernman official website

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