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 is known for the intensity with which she portrays her characters. Her performances have been described as “fiery” (Opera Magazine), “searing” (The Sunday Times), and “almost unbearably moving” (The Spectator), and she is praised for her virtuosic and expressive singing as well as her stage presence and captivating acting skills.

Julia has sung roles including Katya in Weinberg’s The Passenger, the title role in Martinu’s Julietta and Rosalinde Die Fledermaus for English National Opera, where she also created two roles in world premieres: Julia in Torsten Rasch’s new opera The Duchess of Malfi, and Antigone in Julian Anderson’s Thebans for English National Opera. She also created Regan in the world premiere of Promised End by Alexander Goehr for English Touring Opera.

Julia enjoys a close relationship with Opera Holland Park, where she has sung Katya Kabanova, Micaela, Gilda and Nedda to critical acclaim. Other notable appearances include Tebaldo Don Carlos for Opera North (also recorded for Chandos Records), Kumudha in John Adams’s opera A Flowering Tree, Pamina and Micaela for Göteborg Opera, Micaela for the Royal Swedish Opera and Violetta for Folkoperan in Stockholm.

Recent and future highlights include a return to Scottish Opera as Pat Nixon Nixon in China and Fleana in Zingari, Fox Gold-Spur The Cunning Little Vixen with Opera Holland Park, Young Girl in Schoenberg’s Moses and Aaron at the George Enescu Festival in Budapest, Ingeborg in Elfrida Andrés opera Fritiofs saga, and Waltraute in Die Walküre at Gothenburg Opera, and a return to Folkoparen in Stockholm for Isolde Tristan and Isolde.

In 2021/22, she takes up the position of Artist in Residence at Kulturhuset Spira in Jönköping, Sweden.

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

Kulturhuset Spira – recital as an Artist in Residence

(August 2021)

"Dich, teure Halle" from Wagner's "Tannhäuser" is a perfect party starter in itself, which is further highlighted here by the fact that Julia Sporsén not only sings it with both power and finesse but also steps onto the stage with a coat and suitcase and begins by tearing off her face mask …Wagner's "Wesendoncklieder" were even more dramatised which added a much-needed nerve to the romantic songs … During these six charged minutes [in Den Försvunna], Julia Sporsén does the piece full justice with intensity, presence and brilliant singing

Rikard Flyckt, Jönköpings-Posten

Isolde (Tristan und Isolde)

Folkoperan (October 2020)

Julia Sporsén is sensational - it’s hard to believe that this is her first real Wagner role.

Bo Löfvendahl, Svenska Dagbladet

Julia Sporsén, who easily would have been able to match a full-scale orchestra, makes a very strong role debut as Isolde. The brilliance of her high notes is well complemented by Jesper Säll's shadier tenor.

Axel Englund, Expressen

Julia Sporsén is a minor sensation as Isolde, with a large and strong presence both vocally and theatrically. With her dramatically Gothic charisma, she responds best to Tunström's rich and symbolist imagination.

Camilla Lundberg, SVT

Julia Sporsén's dramatic soprano is magnificent ... with character and presence.

Claes Wahlin, Aftonbladet

Pat Nixon (Nixon in China)

Scottish Opera (February 2020)

Julia Sporsén sang with compelling warmth.

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph****

“[As] the president’s thoughtful wife, Pat Nixon, Julia Sporsén [is] compelling and convincing."

Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian*****

Julia Sporsén gave a towering performance as the ever-elegant First Lady.

David Smythe, Bachtrack

Julia Sporsen’s radiant Pat is almost as moving as Janis Kelly’s at ENO and the Met, in her touching loyalty to her husband and her empathy with the victim of an unscrupulous landlord in the dance sequence.

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times

Special bouquet goes to Julia Sporsén, whose winsome Pat Nixon transcended politics, history, the stage and just about everything else, in a way that told us what it was like to be a bit-player in international politics and still maintain some integrity.

Andrew Clark, Opera Magazine

The principals were good: strong-voiced and persuasive in their individual roles. … Pat, sung by Julia Sporsén, is lighter and, true to character, slightly hysterical.

Christopher Lambton, The Arts Desk

Julia Sporsén’s infinitely touching Pat Nixon.

George Hall, The Stage****

The multi-national cast that Scottish Opera has assembled for these performances is without a weak link. … Of a wonderful three-part evening, it is the second act, which revolves around Pat Nixon (Julia Sporsen) and Madame Mao (Hye-Youn Lee), that is the absolute sensation of the night.

Keith Bruce, The Herald*****

Julia Sporsén blossoms with genuine concern as his wife, Pat

Ken Walton, The Scotsman*****

Frida Andrée: Fritiofs saga (Ingeborg)

Gothenburg Opera (March 2019)

Ingeborg is by far the largest role in the work, and soprano Julia Sporsén creates an extremely impressive interpretation of all its contradictions. The longing for sea air and freedom that Andrée captures with restrained harmonisations and passionate melodic twists becomes an expanded human space in Sporsén’s richly characterised and detailed performance.

Magnus Haglund, GöteborgsPosten

Ingeborg / Julia Sporsén…. impresses with her high notes.

Helen Flensburg, Borås Tidning

Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos)

Opera Holland Park (July 2018)

Honours are stolen here by Julia Sporsen’s ardently sung Composer: it’s conventionally a trouser role, but McDonald adds a new frisson by keeping the trousers, but dispensing with gender-swapping. Sporsen is very affecting as she peels off layers of neurosis, much encouraged by Jennifer France’s Zerbinetta peeling off layers of clothing. The duet between the two is the highlight of the night and takes us to the heart of what Strauss and his librettist are trying to tell us about the messiness of life, how a tiny collision of events can mean the universe.

Neil Fisher, The Times

Julia Sporsén's soprano glows in the role [of the composer].

Erica Jeal, The Guardian ****

Sporsén brings warmth and expressive power to her Composer.

George Hall, Financial Times ****

Seria and buffa elements were confrontational rather than cohesive - perhaps that’s how it should be - but Julia Sporsén’s Composer brought disparate parts into a cohesive whole, with her Schubertian-Straussian paean an die Musik. Sporsén’s soprano shone and thrilled and both her declaration that music is a holy art and her interactions with Zerbinetta were genuinely touching.

Claire Seymour, Opera Today

Julia Sporsén's vivid soprano Composer (the voice type specified by Strauss, despite the part having become a favourite of young mezzos) was the vocal highlight of the Prologue, with characterful cameos from the rest of the cast.

Matthew Rye, Backtrack ****

The Composer is sung brilliantly by soprano Julia Sporsén – and how refreshing to hear it sung by a soprano, especially one with such a gleaming high register (intended by Strauss, but tradition has meant a shift to a mezzo).

Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International

Julia Sporsén’s Composer hits the spot with her volatile, intense and outrageously self-centred artistic tizzies, pressing her suit on Zerbinetta with full-on eroticism, and then suddenly bringing us into her perspective with an electrifying account of her hymn to the power of music that gives us the full benefit of her lovely, lightly-shaded voice.

Peter Reed, Classical Source ****

But the scene, and most hearts, I hope, are stolen from the first appearance of Julia Sporsén's adorable if volatile Composer, deeply simpatica. The role needs flaming soprano top notes – creator of the role, after all, was Lotte Lehmann – and Sporsén allies them to a plangent intensity I haven't seen to the same degree in the role since the young Maria Ewing took a Proms audience by storm on a Glyndebourne visit back in 1981.

David Nice, The Arts Desk *****

However, the first part of the evening belongs unequivocally to Julia Sporsén as the Composer of the eponymous Ariadne opera. Playing her role as a busy, buzzing and passionate control freak who is only reconciled to her preposterous position by a latent attraction to lowbrow-in-chief Zerbinetta, the soprano (not here a mezzo, as has become the custom, nor dragged up as a man) inflects every word with sense and gauges her character's priceless reactions with entertaining care.

Mark Valencia, Whats On Stage *****

a passionate Julia Sporsen as the Composer

Inge Kjemtrup, The Stage ****

[In the prologue,] comedy and seriousness were finely balanced with Julia Sporsen's composer being the passionate centre of everything. It was lovely to have the role sung by a soprano for once (the original composer was Lotte Lehmann), and it benefited from Sporsen's gloriously ringing top. Here McDonald had introduced another twist with the composer being a woman rather than travesty role. Sporsen was intense and committed, giving us a wonderfully vibrant line, and she was supported by some brilliantly etched characterful portraits from the rest of the cast. Certainly, Sporsen is a soprano who I want to hear in more Strauss, having heard her as the composer I now want to hear her as Octavian.

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill ★★★★½

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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