Soprano Carla Huhtanen is in demand internationally for her soaring, translucent voice, winning stage presence, and her diverse repertoire. Now living in the UK, she looks forward to a special project with the Toronto Symphony which combines performances and a recording of Vaughan-Williams Serenade, to be released on the Hyperion label. Also in her future is the Opera Atelier production of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria. Highlights from last season include Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Opera Columbus and a Boulez programme with the Toronto Symphony at Roy Thomson Hall and in Vienna. In 2015-2016, Ms. Huhtanen was heard at Versailles in the Opera Atelier production of Armide, with the Toronto Symphony in Richardson’s Alligator Pie, in Bach’s Mass in B Minor for the Grand Philharmonic Choir and in the Tapestry New Opera Works production of Rocking Horse Winner, which won a Dora Award.
Ms. Huhtanen’s 2014-15 season included appearances with the Art of Time Ensemble in Toronto, Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, Pergolesi, Turina and Hohvaness for the Talisker Players and Lully’s Armide for Opera Atelier in Columbus, Ohio and in Toronto. Further appearances with Opera Atelier have included Drusilla/Fortuna in L’incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi, Blonde in Entführung aus dem Serail, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, a South Korean tour of Charpentier’s Acteon and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Ännchen in Der Freischutz.
She debuted in the UK as Lisetta in Garsington Opera’s La Gazzetta (Rossini) and returned as Serpetta in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, a performance repeated at the Barbican Centre’s Mostly Mozart series. She debuted in Italy at Gran Teatro la Fenice in Venice as Daisy Park in Gershwin’s Lady, Be Good! and returned to La Fenice as Athenas in Cherubini’s Anacreon. In France, she sang the title role of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen for Festival Mars en Baroque (Marseille, Tarascon, and Aix-en-Provence) and Angelica in Handel’s Orlando for Theatre Gyptis (Marseille), Festival Musique au Coeur (Antibes) and Festival de Chartres. A reprise performance of Lady, Be Good! took her to Lisbon’s Teatro Sao Carlos and she was featured soloist in a Leonard Bernstein Tribute with the Israel Philharmonic. She has been praised for her ‘vivid, fine-toned, accurately placed coloratura’ (Independent) and her ‘clarity of tone and smoothness of line matched only by her exquisite acting’ (Opera Now).
Other past highlights include Cunegonde in Candide with the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in London and also in Malta for the Valletta Festival. She was soloist with the Royal Philharmonic and the Welsh National Opera Orchestra under Carl Davis for a concert tour of festivals in the UK and Germany.
A leading interpreter of modern and contemporary music, Carla performs with Continuum New Music and was a Studio Ensemble member of Tapestry New Opera, where she helped develop and premiered many roles for ‘Opera To Go’ and ‘Opera Briefs’. Carla appeared in The Shadow with Tapestry, in Soundstreams Canada/CBC’s performance of Brian Current’s Airline Icarus, and covered Marie in Luminato’s production of Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna.
Concert performances have included Carmina Burana and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Five Images after Sappho with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Moravec’s The Blizzard Voices with Opera Omaha. Chamber music concerts featured music by Karin Rehnqvist, Phillipe Leroux, Geoffery Hannan and Giacinto Scelsi.
Recording credits include Herbert’s Babes in Toyland with the London Sinfonietta for EMI, Vivaldi’s Griselda and Sacred Music Vol. 3 for Naxos Records, and the Juno winning Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage. Carla recently recorded The Music of James Rolfe on Centrediscs .
Other projects include Saariaho’s From the Grammar of Dreams, Sokolovic’s opera Svadba with Queen of Puddings, Blonde in Entführung aus dem Serail with Edmonton Opera and recitals with Off Centre Music and Alliance Française in Toronto.
|Maria||WEST SIDE STORY|
|Britten||Tytania||A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM|
|Current||Ad Exec||AIRLINE ICARUS|
|Daniel, Omar||Allegra||THE SHADOW|
|Gershwin||Daisy Parke||LADY, BE GOOD|
|Henze||Elisabeth||ELEGY FOR YOUNG LOVERS|
|Léhar||Valencienne||THE MERRY WIDOW|
|Minerva/Amor||IL RITORNO D’ULISSE IN PATRIA|
|Drusilla/Fortuna||L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA|
|LA FINTA GIARDINIERA
LE NOZZE DI FIGARO
COSI FAN TUTTE
|DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES
LES MAMELLES DE TIRÉSIAS
|Purcell||The Fairy Queen
1st Witch/Second Lady
|THE FAIRY QUEEN
DIDO AND AENEAS
|Strauss , J.||Adele||DIE FLEDERMAUS|
ARIADNE AUF NAXOS
|Sullivan||Mabel||PIRATES OF PENZANCE|
|Ullmann||Bubikopt||DER KAISER VON ATLANTIS|
|Weill||Jenny||THE THREEPENNY OPERA|
MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY MUSIC
|Adès, Thomas||Life Story|
|Berio, Luciano||Folk songs, Beatles songs (selections) and Sequenza III|
|Cage, John||Songbooks and Mesostics (selections)|
|Crumb, George||Madrigals, Book IV|
|Knussen, Oliver||Whitman Settings|
|Leroux, Philippe||ma belle sit u voulais|
|Moravec, Paul||The Blizzard Voices|
|Morlock, Jocelyn||opera scenes; Orpheus, where north winds…|
|Oesterle, Michael||Therefore; sweat and mirror|
|Les fêtes de la faim|
|Simon and Garfunkel & the Prophets of Rage|
|Saariaho, Kaija (FIN)||Leino songs|
|From the Grammar of Dreams|
|Salonen, Esa-Pekka||Five Images After Sappho|
|Scelsi, Giacinto||CKCKC, Lilitu, Litanie, Sauh I and II|
|Schönberg, Arnold||Pierrot Lunaire|
|Bach, J.S.||Ascension Oratorio
St. Matthew Passion
Cantatas 14, 21, 80
|Britten||Ceremony of Carols|
|Couperin||3ieme Léçon de ténèbre|
Vesperae Solennes de Confessore
|Sallinen, Aulis||Four Dream Songs|
|Salonen, Esa-Pekka||Five Images After Sappho|
|Scarlatti||Cantata – “Ardo ver par te”|
|Vivaldi||Cantata – “Il povero mio cor”
Cantata –“ Nulla in pax sincera”
“Especially when performed with the conviction and taste afforded by the marvellous soprano Carla Huhtanen. Huhtanen is another musician too often overlooked in Toronto’s musical scene. Not that she isn’t active – quite the contrary. You’ll see her in an Opera Atelier production, on the Canadian Opera Company stage, working hard at Soundstreams’s Electric Messiah, singing Steve Reich. She’s an amazingly versatile performer, but really understands “new” music. Her soaring, bright soprano cut right through the texts of surrealist poet René Char, which Boulez sets in Le soleil, and from her first note the audience was in her hands.” [Toronto Symphony Orchestra] The Globe and Mail, Robert Harris
“Charging out of the gate with a bang instead of a whimper, the Canadian ensemble, along with Carla Huhtanen and the Wiener Singakademie, opened with Boulez’ Le Soleil des eaux. Hutanen’s soprano spoke clearly throughout her range and lent itself beautifully to Boulez’s ebbs and flows, bursting out of the orchestra’s colorful splashes and acting as shimmering extension of upward-reaching choral waves, particularly in the transparent, intimate first movement “Complainte du lézard amoureux”. The dramatic second movement, “La Sorgue”, featured various vocal techniques from soloist and choir, who whispered, nagged and declaimed brilliantly…” [Toronto Symphony Orchestra]
Bachtrack.com, Chanda VanderHart
“As Ava, veteran Carla Huhtanen plays the mother to perfection: sad, never satisfied, alienated from, but loving toward, her needy son, Paul. Huhtanen has a silvery, powerful soprano , but it’s always been her acting that I’ve admired as much as her vocal excellence.” [Tapestry New Opera, Rocking Horse]
Globe and Mail, Robert Harris
“I thought Carla Huhtanen was most winning as Blonde, one of two Western women abducted into the harem of Pasha Selim. Huhtanen sang her part beautifully and was vivid in her portrayal of her libidinous character.”
Globe and Mail, Robert Harris
“…soprano Carla Huhtanen had the dual challenge of performing some of the sweetest, and the most dramatic and difficult notes in the repertoire. With laser-like precision and a sweet feeling of confidence and assertiveness, Huhtanen delivered the climactic money notes with style and good expression.”
Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Stephen Preece
“Forget the stereotype that opera singers merely stand and deliver. Huhtanen regularly proved that her acting chops were as strong as her singing, and this year she showed off her skills in a variety of roles in Opera to Go and Opera on the Rocks as well as stealing the spotlight in Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio”.
From NOW magazine’s list of Top 10 theatre artists in 2008
“Soprano Carla Huhtanen gave the evening’s most memorable performance. She sang with a soaring, translucent soprano that produced – in its highest register – notes of glistening weightlessness.”
World-Herald, John Pitcher (Opera Omaha – The Blizzard Voices)
“Huhtanen’s voice is quite breathtaking—the clarity of tone and smoothness of line is matched only by her exquisite acting: her Glitter and be Gay was sensational and any singer, past or present would have put their name to it with pride.”
Opera News, Matthew Peacock
“Garsington has found a real star in Carla Huhtanen …her coloratura was fluent and accurate and she sang cantilena with a pure tone…a winning stage presence. Her duet with her lover…was one of the hits of the evening.”
The Sunday Telegraph, Angela Gheorghiu
“Lisetta is sung with bright agility by Carla Huhtanen.”
The Times, John Allison
“In Menotti’s ‘Monica’s Waltz , you have the most beautiful voice in the world – in particular, we appreciated Carla Huhtanen with her impeccable lines of singing, her ease, her grace, especially in the aforementioned waltz, with all her charming lightness.”
La marseillaise, Simone Serret
“….the splendidly pouty, marriageable bird (Carla Huhtanen) tinged with vivid, fine-toned, accurately-placed coloratura.”
The Independent (The Monday Review), Roderic Dunnett
“Ingrams (Garsington Opera Director) found his prima donna in Canadian Carla Huhtanen, the coloratura with warblings of finely polished jewels who plays an oddball teenager.”
Die Welt (Berlin), Siegfried Helm
“One must really lend an attentive ear and admire the prowess…notably to the soprano Carla Huhtanen.”
La Provence, Arlane Allard
“Glitter and be gay” from Candide by L. Bernstein
“Ritorna a lusingarmi” from Griselda by A. Vivaldi
Carla Huhtanen appears as Konstanze in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Opera Columbus. There are three performances on January 25, 27 and 29.
Carla Huhtanen performs an impressive early piece by Pierre Boulez with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for soprano, chorus, and orchestra. The piece is entitled Le soleil des eaux and will be led by conductor Peter Oundjian on May 3, as well as in Vienna.