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Virpi Räisänen Mezzo Soprano

In The Netherlands living, Finnish mezzo-soprano Virpi Räisänen, made in 2016 her concert debut in Milano La Scala as soloist of Filarmonica della Scala. She launched her international career in 2009 at the Salzburg Festspiele only half a year after finishing her professional career as a violinist. She sung one of the main soprano roles in Luigi Nono´s Al gran sole carico d´amore, Ingo Metzmacher conducting Vienna Philharmonic orchestra and Katie Mitchel as the stage director. Reinvitation followed one year later with the role in Wolfgang Rihm´s Dionysos.

Since then she has regularily appeared in operahouses and -festivals such as The Dutch National Opera (Dionysos, Lulu, Dialogues des Carmélites), Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, Finnish National Opera, Halle Opera House, Savonlinna Operafestival, Oulu Opera, Helsinki Frestival, Schwetzingen and Aix-en-Provence operafestivals.

Virpi Räisänen is frequently asked concertsoloist and she has created a close collaboration with leading Finnish conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Hannu Lintu, Sakari Oramo and John Storgårds. She made her Amsterdam Concertgebouw debut in 2010 as a soloist of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Soon followed concerts in halls such as Paris Théâtre du Châtelet, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan and Musashino Concert Halls, Helsinki Music Center, Lisbon Gulbenkian Hall. Virpi has worked a.o. with following orchestras: Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Finnish Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta and most of the symphony and chamber orchestras of Finland, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Nederlands Kamerorkest, Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest, Vlaams Radio Orkest, Noord Nederland Orkest, Camerata Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Musica Antiqua Köln, Kölner Kammerorchester, Camerata Nordica, Nordic Chamber Orchestra, Värmlandsoperan Sinfonietta.

As an active lied and chamber music singer Virpi is a frequent guest of chamber music festivals and she given recitals in most of European countries, USA, Hong Kong and Japan. Due to her past as a string quartet player she has commissioned several new works in order to widen the vocal chamber music repertoire.

Virpi Räisänen graduated her vocal studies with highest distinction from Utrecht and Amsterdam Conservatoriums with Eugenie Ditewig and Udo Reinemann as her teachers. Later on she has worked with Margreet Honig as her vocal coach. Her repertoire has a wide range from early renaissance to the latest contemporary works. As a musical source of inspiration for several leading composers she has premiered dozens of new works written and dedicated to her. In 2015 she premiered a monoloque opera Lusia by Juha T. Koskinen written for her voice. Mezzo-soprano solos in Uljas Pulkkis´ Wayfare Symphony and Kalevi Aho´s 16th Symphony are also written for Virpi Räisänen. Her most recent premiere in 2017 was ‘Whilst it’s raining’ for mezzosoprano and string quartet by Kalevi Aho.

In 2012 ONDINE released her debut lied recital album The Legacy of Mahler with pianist Marita Viitasalo and in 2014 Calmo by Luciano Berio with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu. Both received wide international acclaim. In 2015 Berio cd was a nominee for The Gramophone Award. In 2017 will appear Trasparente cd for Alba Records, music written for her Violin-Mezzo Project where Virpi plays violin and sings simultaneously.

Since 2012 Virpi Räisänen has functioned as Artistic Director of the Oulunsalo Soi Chamber Music Festival in Finland.

Virpi Räisänen has been awarded with TAITAJA-award and Finnish State Artist grant.

The highlights of the season 2017 – 2018 include concerts as soloist of  Nederlands Kamerorkest on their tour in Finland,  tour in Sweden of O. Tarkianen’s ‘Earth, Daughter of Spring’ with Okko Kamu conducting Norrbottens Kammarorkester, world premiere of Kalevi Aho’s ‘Whilst it’s raining’ with Meta4 string quartet, Händel Messiah tour in Finland and Sweden with Finland’s leading vocal soloists, world premiere of Olii Mustonen’s new song cycle for mezzo-soprano and guitar with guitarist Ismo Eskelinen, Haydn ‘Lo speziale’ opera tour in Europe with Jan Willem de Vriend conducting Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Orquesta Simfonica de Barcelona and Kölner Kammerorchester, world premiere of ‘Veljeni vartija’ (My Brother’s Guard) opera by Olli Kortekangas with Santtu-Matias Rouvali conducting Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, ‘Punainen viiva’ (Red Line) opera by Aulis Sallinen with Erkki Lasonpalo conducting Kemi Symphony Orchestra.