Julia Sporsén

Soprano

"Julia Sporsén was a terrific Nedda, feisty, fiery, vocally secure and dramatically impressive."

Hugo Shirley, Opera

"Julia Sporsén’s gorgeously sung Donna Anna."

The Independent

"Julia Sporsén has a thrillingly powerful voice – a core of steel wrapped in a casing of velvet."

Warwick Thompson Metro

"Julietta is sung by the sexy, charismatic, pretty-voiced Julia Sporsén, a complete stage animal ... who deserves to go far."

Andrew Clark, The Financial Times

"But the biggest plaudits must go to Peter Hoare and Julia Sporsén as the bewitched, bothered, and bewildered lovers, both acting as brilliantly as they sing."

Michael Church, The Independent

"Her Violetta is magnificent and human, bewildering and crystal clear. It is a singer’s breakthrough that will be difficult to forget."

Björn Wiman, Dagens Nyheter

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Swedish soprano Julia Sporsén studied at the Operastudio67 in Stockholm and the Royal Academy of Music in London.  She was the winner of the Opera Rara Patric Schimdt Bel Canto Prize and the Flora Nielsen Song Prize. 

Julia has sung in numerous productions at English National Opera where roles have included First Squire and Flower Maiden Parsifal , Katya in Weinberg’s The Passenger, Julia in Torsten Rasch’s new opera The Duchess of Malfi, the title role in Martinu’s Julietta and Antigone in Julian Anderson’s Thebans.  Other notable appearances include Tebaldo Don Carlos for Opera North (also recorded for Chandos Records), Kumudha in John Adams’s opera A Flowering Tree for Göteborg Opera, Regan in the world premiere of Promised End by Alexander Goehr for English Touring Opera, Micaëla Carmen, Gilda Rigoletto, and Nedda Pagliacci for Opera Holland Park, and Micaëla for the Royal Swedish Opera.

Recent engagements include Violetta La Traviata for Folksoperan in Stockholm, concerts with the Göteborg Symfoniker and Göteborg Wind Band, and, as a member of the ensemble at Gothenburg Opera, Micaela Carmen, Pamina Die Zauberflöte, Elsalill Herr Arne Penningar, and La Traviata. At Opera Holland Park she made her role debut in the title role of Kat’a Kabanova.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

Katya Kabanova (Katya Kabanova)

Opera Holland Park (July 2017)

Julia Sporsen rends the heart with her searing singing of the adulterous (in thought) heroine.

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times

I can confirm that it’s still almost unbearably moving, with (again) a spot-on cast from which it feels unfair to single out Julia Sporsen as a luminous, painfully human Katya.

Richard Bratby, The Spectator

From among the strong cast Julia Sporsén stands out in the title role, revealing a soprano whose fullness is matched by equally high levels of sensitivity and feeling.

Sam Smith, musicOMH, 4 stars

Julia Sporsén is gripping in the title role... [She] is secure and sings with a real dramatic intensity. For the love music with Boris, she produces a completely different tone, soft, round and utterly endearing.

Gavin Dixon, Artsdesk, 4 stars

It's soprano Julia Sporsén who takes us with her into the vortex of Kát'a's personal hell. Trapped in a life of abuse at the hands of her husband and stepmother, the love and consolation of her life now lost to her, this emotionally naked singer - who showed in ENO's Duchess of Malfi and Giulietta the extent of her dramatic range and courage - draws us in to share the harrowed woman's fate. It is a searing performance.

Mark Valencia, Whats On Stage, 5 stars

Olivia Fuchs’s 2009 production makes a welcome return, with Julia Sporsén searing in the title role.

Clare Colvin, Express, 4 stars

Kát’a’s torment in the second act was one of her finest moments; we feel her conundrum viscerally. Swedish soprano Julia Sporsén, previously a Micaëla, a Gilda and a Nedda for OHP, was fully involved in her tragic part right from the start making her demise all the more harrowing.

Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International

Intense and bird-like, the images of flight which come into Janacek's libretto seemed to imbue Sporsen's movements and she was very much like a wounded bird. Nervous yet intense and vividly alive even when constrained not to move, this was a remarkable performance which grew throughout the evening. Sporsen has been singing lyric roles (Violetta, Pamina, Micaela, Gilda) and gave a lovely fluid account of the role, but her voice had just the right amount of spinto ping to it, giving just the right amount of power. … And of course, the glorious double duet which concludes Act Two, where the tense and nervous start of Kat'a and Boris' duet showed Sporsen and Hoare at their intense best, expanding into a gorgeous lyricism whose over intensity boded no good for the relationship. In the final scenes, this lyricism veered into neurosis and Sporsen's solo was profoundly moving.

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, 4.5 stars

In Kát’a’s monologue with Varvara, Sporsén convincingly suggested the nascent hysteria within Kát’a’ as she realises that her only hope is to prevent Tichon’s departure. And, in the double love scene in Act 2, her melodic lines swelled with limitless emotion, as if simply by singing without cease her revelation and love could be made to last forever.

Claire Seymour, Opera Today

Julia Sporsén rises to the occasion in her portrayal of Janáček’s fatally imaginative, innocent and big-hearted anti-heroine. She is a fine actor who sings Janáček’s speech-inflected vocal lines with electrifying fluency, and she conveys the character’s strength and vulnerability with focused verismo.

Peter Reed, Classical Source, 4 stars

Swedish soprano Julia Sporsén, empassioned and lyrical in the title role.

Claudia Pritchard, Culture Wisperer, 4 stars

The stage pictures show us the Volga and the circumscribed, prison-like emotional world of Julia Sporsen’s desperately vulnerable Katya, locked into a loveless marriage with cowardly drunk Tichon … and mercilessly bullied by Anne Mason’s vindictive Kabanicha – opera’s mother-in-law from hell. … [This] is an exemplary cast.

George Hall, The Stage, 4 stars

Pamina (Die Zauberflöte)

Gothenburg Opera (March 2017)

Julia Sporsén was a stunning Pamina: her warm lyrical soprano was a joy to listen to and her well-rounded acting reminded the audience that Pamina is not a classic damsel in distress but a woman with her own mind and a willingness to question authority.

Niklas Smith, Seen and Heard International

Violetta (La Traviata)

Folkoperan, Stockhom (September 2015)

Julia Sporsén’s Violetta vocal line unfolded with virtuosity…superbly secure and passionate…she was a stand out! She delivered the great finale and death scene with impressive intensity.

Camilla Lundberg, Dagens Nyheter

Julia Sporsén is outstanding in the lead role. Her Violetta is magnificent and human, bewildering and crystal clear. It is a singer’s breakthrough that will be difficult to forget.

Björn Wiman, Dagens Nyheter

Julia Sporsén is simply outstanding in the title role. With her strong, clear, vibrato she gives the role a credible range with many touching moments, not least in the last act.

Bo Löfvendahl, Svenska Dagbladet

Julia Sporsén is unparalleled as Violetta. With a strong, dense and coherent voice full of character she gives a performance which deserves nothing but praise.

Claes Wahlin, Aftonbladet

Once every ten years, it happens on an opera stage… A completely new opera singer comes along with exactly what it takes for a plot and storyline to take shape around her and come out in her voice. So it is with soprano Julia Sporsén who sings the leading role of Violetta… She excelled in the role of Kumudha in John Adams’s opera A Flowering Tree at the Gothenburg Opera House earlier this year… Tension swarms around her as it does a queen bee… In her voice is contained the expansion reflective of the person she portrays… Everything is visible in her facial expressions and the full meaning is conveyed in her singing.

Expressen

But it is Julia Sporsén’s interpretation of Violetta – both dramatically and vocally – that leaves the most significant impression.

Per Feltzin, Sveriges Radio

The love story between Violetta and Alfredo is carved out with warmth, love and humour. This is not least down to the superb interpretation by Julia Sporsén, a soprano with rigor and a beautiful high voice.

Patrick Uhlman, Ekuriren

Vocally speaking, Julia Sporsén demonstrates the most impressive effort, but I would have expected this having heard her earlier in the year at the Gothenburg Opera. Dramatically and vocally, I regard her performance as the highlight of the show!

Mogens H Andersson, Opera Logg

Kumudha (A Flowering Tree)

Göteborg Opera (February 2015)

Soprano Julia Sporsén as Kumudha filled the Gothenburg Opera with sonorous power and intensity in her interpretation of this expressive music. Her phenomenal strength made the scenes in the second half particularly poignant where her character is affected first by doubt, later by dire adversity.

Peter Bohlin, Dansportalen

Above all, I was impressed by Julia Sporsén’s...ability to allow the long melodic lines to create an impression of floating, her prolonged and elevated melodies blurring the time sequences and bringing the music a fascinating sense of stillness.

Magnus Haglund, GP

Julia Sporsén acts completely convincingly, both in the subtle differences of her transformations and in her terror when she finds herself stuck in a mutilated form, without limbs. Her soaring lyrical soprano expresses all of this beautifully.

Niklas Smith, seenandheard-international.com

Antigone (Thebans), English National Opera

London Coliseum (May 2014)

With plenty of vocal temperament and incisive colour, Julia Sporsén was a passionate Antigone.

John Allison, Opera

Julia Sporsén’s Antigone and Matthew Best’s gorgeously upholstered Tiresias are both outstanding.

Guy Dammann, The Guardian

A mournful cor anglais shadows the vocal line of Antigone, passionately delivered by Julia Sporsén.

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer

…strong individual performances from …Christopher Ainslie (Theseus) and Julia Sporsén (Antigone) fleshed out the drama of the production by Pierre Audi.

George Hall, Opera Now

Oedipus is excellent, as are Peter Hoare’s Creon and Julia Sporsén’s indignant Antigone.

Barry Millington, Evening Standard

Julia Sporsén’s passionate, incisive Antigone gave Acts Two and Three a thrilling sense of obsession and tragedy.

Peter Reed, classicalsource.com

Julia Sporsén’s Antigone – ferociously sung, desperate and beautiful.

Alexandra Coghlan, theartsdesk.com

Julia Sporsén’s Antigone impresses more than any of her recent ENO appearances.

Simon Thomas, whatsonstage.com

Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), English National Opera

The Coliseum, London (September 2013)

Julia Sporsén was on fine vocal form as Rosalinde, singing a csárdás that would have lit up any production.

Peter Reed, Opera

Julia Sporsén’s performance was sympathetic and stylish.

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer

Nedda (Pagliacci)

Opera Holland Park (June 2013)

Julia Sporsén was a terrific Nedda, feisty, fiery, vocally secure and dramatically impressive.

Hugo Shirley, Opera

Julia Sporsén…sings juicily.

Neil Fisher, The Times

Julia Sporsen’s Nedda, a vivid characterization.

Rupert Christiansen, The Daily Telegraph

Julia Sporsen…makes an in-depth exploration of Nedda’s hopes and frustrations.

George Hall, The Stage

“…the admirable Nedda of Julia Sporsén.

Barry Millington, The Evening Standard

Julia Sporsén, an actor with genuine range and full of vocal stunts, takes charge as Nedda, a travelling player and scarlet woman par excellence.

Joseph Woby, Metro

It fell to the Nedda of Julia Sporsén, a soprano whose star is very much in the ascendant, to show how it’s done – whether revelling in the bliss of plunging tired feet into a wash-basin during “Oh! Che volo d'augelli?” or else struggling to conceal her anguish while vamping a sultry, Commedia dell’arte tart during the clowns’ performance.

Mark Valencia, classicalsource.com

Julia Sporsen [is] excellent as the adulterous Nedda.

Simon Thomas, Whatsonstage.com

Julietta (Martinů), English National Opera

London Coliseum (September 2012)

But the biggest plaudits must go to Peter Hoare and Julia Sporsén as the bewitched, bothered, and bewildered lovers, both acting as brilliantly as they sing.

Michael Church, The Independent

As Julietta, all nervous jiggles, vicious mocking and sudden seriousness, Julia Sporsen is dynamic, voluptuous and disturbing.

Anna Picard, The Independent on Sunday

Julia Sporsén is warmly luscious as [Michel’s] obscure object of desire.

Rupert Christiansen, The Daily Telegraph

Julia Sporsén sang with attack and brilliance.

Peter Reed, The Daily Telegraph

Julietta is sung by the sexy, charismatic, pretty-voiced Julia Sporsén, a complete stage animal who deserves to go far.

Andrew Clark, The Financial Times

Julia Sporsén is admirable as the elusive Julietta.

Barry Millington, The Evening Standard

Memorable performance from Julia Sporsen’s enigmatic Julietta.

George Hall, The Stage

Rarely can a title role have so little to sing, yet Julia Sporsén captivates as Julietta, catching the ambiguity behind her character . . . she makes much of her scenes on stage, with some impassioned singing in the duet with Michel in the woods.

Mark Pullinger, Opera Britannia

As for Julia Sporsén as Julietta, vocally and visually the Swedish soprano radiated such vitality that Michel was bound to be smitten.

Mark Valencia, classicalsource.com

Gilda (Rigoletto), Opera Holland Park

(July 2011)

Julia Sporsen’s Gilda [is] outstandingly sung; the father-daughter duets, in their shanty-town shack, wring the heart.

Michael Church, The Independent

Julia Sporsén, as Gilda, was a real revelation, displaying superb clarity and projection, her tone pure and effortlessly pleasing.

Opera Today

The phenomenal voice Julia Sporsen…impressed from the first with her piercingly bright timbre and lyric vocal line…it was beautifully pitched, her trills flawless and her vocal colouring bright.

John de Wald, Opera Britannia

Posner’s focus is on the intensity of the relationship between Robert Poulton’s Rigoletto and Julia Sporsén’s Gilda, whose innocence is matched by the furious sexual energy of adolescence. Though the shivering flute obbligato is still wan with purity, her “Caro nome” is hot with desire.

Anna Picard, Independent on Sunday

As the innocent Gilda Julia Sporsén’s fleshy soprano maintains intensity with its expressive power.

George Hall, The Stage

As Gilda, Julia Sporsén’s agile attack and dramatic power regularly carry her to victory.

Geoff Brown, The Times

Gilda is sung by the terrific Julia Sporsen whose singing and acting really tug at the heartstrings.

Warwick Thompson, Metro

Julia Sporsen is a terrific Gilda. She sings well, and conveys a fascinating half-scared, half-loving relationship with her father.

Bloomberg

[Julia Sporsén] sang with considerable panache. Her ‘Caro nome’ could hardly have been more dolcissimo, laced with delightful rubato, which Stratford humoured perfectly. But she also had power to spare. The contrast between her graceful figure in a ballgown and her little-girl-lost in the penultimate scene was stark in the extreme. Most of the sexual electricity in her private encounter with the Duke was hers

Martin Dreyer, Opera

Katya (Weinberg’s The Passenger), English National Opera

UK premiere (September 2011)

The large ensemble cast, including Julia Sporsen, Pamela Helen Stephen and Rebecca de Pont Davies, gave their heartfelt best.

Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian

There’s a simple unaccompanied folk song for Katya, one of the inmates, in Act 2. Julia Sporsen sings it with hushed rapture, and the effect is haunting.

Warwick Thompson, Bloomberg.com

Julia Sporsen as inmate Katya nearly steals the show with a moving Russian folksong

Ben Hogwood, Metro

Julia Sporsen's rendering of Katya's Russian folk song is especially touching.

Christian Hoskins, Whatsonstage

Julia Sporsen, who plays the Russian prisoner Katya, sang an enchanting and, ironically, captivating unaccompanied Russian folk song, during which she held the silent attention of the Coliseum in a moment of unparalleled beauty

Paul Guest, Ceasefire

The most moving vocal moment in fact came a little later, as the a capella Russian folksong faded into nothingness (Julia Sporsén as Katya)

David Fanning, Opera

Micaela (Carmen), Opera Holland Park

(June 2010)

…Julia Sporsén’s fearless, ardent Michaela…

Anna Picard, The Independent

Julia Sporsén’s Micaela is more conventional in her village girl virtuousness, but her singing has an impressively charged lyricism that blossoms in her third act aria.

George Hall, The Guardian

…Julia Sporsén displays a heavenly purity of sound as Micaela.

Warwick Thompson, Bloomberg.com

The best vocal performance of the evening was undoubtedly given by Julia Sporsén in the thankless role of Micaela. Her warm, beautiful voice was evenly produced throughout the range

Sebastian Petit, Opera Britannia

Julia Sporsen was a pleasing, simple Micaela who rose to her Act III aria…

Francis Muzzu, Opera Now

Gianetta (The Elixir of Love), English National Opera

(February 2010)

Julia Sporsén’s Gianetta was sparkling and full of life.

Opera Today

there’s sex appeal in a single flash of Julia Sporsén’s smoky eyes

The Independent

Julia Sporsén made a great impression in the small role of Gianetta, singing with confidence and charm.

Musical Criticism

a sparky Gianetta

Opera News

Julia Sporsén’s perky Gianetta

Music Web International

Julia Sporsén makes the most of her brief opportunities as Gianetta

Opera Britannia

Julia Sporsén’s Opera Repertoire

John Adams

A Flowering Tree (Kumudha)

Julian Anderson

The Thebans (Antigone)

Bizet

Carmen (Micaela)

Britten

Peter Grimes (Ellen Orford) extracts
The Rape of Lucretia (Female chorus) extracts

Cilea

Adriana Lecouvreur (title role) extracts

Donizetti

L’Elisir d’Amore (Adina, Giannetta)

Detlev Glanert

Caligula (Livia)

Alexander Goehr

Promised End (Regan)

Handel

Rinaldo (Armida) extracts

Janáček

Jenufa (Jenufa, Jano)

Martinů

Julietta (Julietta)

Menotti

The Consul (Magda) extracts

Mozart

La clemenza di Tito (Vitellia) extracts
Don Giovanni (Donna Anna, Donna Elvira)
La Finta Giardiniera (Arminda)
Le nozze di Figaro (Countess, Susanna) extracts
Die Zauberflöte (First Lady)

Poulenc

La voix humaine (Elle)

Puccini

La bohème (Mimì, Musetta)

Rameau

Dardanus (Iphise)

Torsten Rasch

The Duchess of Malfi (Julia)

Smetana

The Bartered Bride (Mařenka) extracts

Strauss (J.)

Die Fledermaus (Rosalinde)

Tchaikovsky

Iolanta (Iolanta)

Verdi

Don Carlos (Tebaldo)
La traviata (Violetta)
Rigoletto (Gilda)

Wagner

Parsifal (First Squire, Flower Maiden)

Weinberg

The Passenger (Katya)

Julia Sporsén’s Concert Repertoire

Brahms

Requiem

Beethoven

Mass in C

Elgar

The Kingdom

Gounod

St Cecilia Mass

Haydn

The Creation
Stabat Mater

Handel

Jephtha (Iphis)

Mendelssohn

Psalm 42

Mozart

Requiem
Bella mia fiamma (concert aria)

Pergolesi

Stabat Mater

Rutter

Psalmfest

Saint-Saens

Requiem

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