The Swedish soprano Anne Sofie (or Sophie) von Otter’s father was a diplomate and she grew up in Bonn, London and Stockholm. She studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Her main teachers were Vera Rosza, in Lied interpretation Erik Werba and Geoffrey Parsons.
Engaged as a principal member of the Basel Opera (1983-1985), Anne Sofie von Otter made her debut as Alcina in Haydn’s Orlando Paladino and appeared as Cherubino, Hänsel, Orpheus and Clairon. Then she was launched on an international career that has now spanned more than two decades, and is considered to be one of the finest singers of her generation and is sought after by many of the major conductors, orchestras, opera and recording companies of the world.
Particularly renowned for her interpretation of Oktavian in Der Rosenkavalier, this is a role she has not only recorded for EMI with Bernard Haitink, but also performed in Stockholm, Munich, Chicago, Covent Garden and at the Paris Bastille, as well as in Vienna, at the Met and in Japan with Carlos Kleiber (the latter available on DVD). Her other famous roles include Dorabella, Ramiro, Ariodante, Sesto, Ismene (Alceste), the Composer, Charlotte, Marguerite and Tancredi among many others.
Anne Sofie von Otter sang Ramiro in La Finta Giardiniera at Aix-en-Provence in 1984 and made her Covent Garden début in 1985. The Metropolitan Opera debut in New York followed in 1988 (again as Cherubino). She has sung at the operas of Berlin, Munich, Rome and La Scala. She has scored many personal successes on the main operatic stages of Europe: Gluck’s Orfeo in Geneva was followed by his Alceste at the Chatelet, in a highly-acclaimed staging by Bob Wilson, conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner (recorded for both CD and DVD); Paris’ Palais Garnier played host to portrayals of George Frideric Handel’s Ariodante as well as Sesto in both Clemenza di Tito and Giulio Cesare and most recently Clairon in the new production of Strauss’ Capriccio by Robert Carsen. In addition to Oktavian at Vienna’s State Opera came the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos; Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea was heard at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, and Ottavia in the same piece at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris, the same venue as for her debut as G.F. Handel’s Xerxes (also recorded by EMI Classics). Another G.F. Handel role, Ruggerio in Alcina, marked her return to Stockholm’s famous Drottningholm Festival and Glyndebourne Festival was the venue for her stage debut as Carmen in a new production by David McVicar, conducted by Philippe Jordan.
Anne Sofie also enjoys an ongoing relationship with New York’s Metropolitan Opera and James Levine where she has over the years performed numerous performances of Rosenkavalier, Clemenza di Tito and Idomeneo as well as Debussy’s Pelleas et Melisande, marking her stage debut in the role.
An equally busy concert career has brought Anne Sofie von Otter regularly to the major halls of Europe and North America and she enjoys a regular partnership with some of the world's pre-eminent conductors. She has sung under Carlos Kleiber, Claudio Abbado, John Eliot Gardiner, Georg Solti and Marc Minkowski among others. She is also an acclaimed recitalist and appears regularly around the globe with her long-time accompanist, Bengt Forsberg.
On records Anne Sofie von Otter's repertoire encompasses a wide range of works from the Baroque period to 20th-century music. An exclusive solo recording artist with Deutsche Grammophon for many years, she boasts an extensive personal discography: together with Bengt Forsberg, she has made a number of award-winning recital and chamber music discs; with orchestra she has recorded Weill and Zemlinsky (John Eliot Gardiner), Berlioz and Johannes Brahms (James Levine), W.A. Mozart (Trevor Pinnock), Alban Berg, Schubert and Gustav Mahler (Claudio Abbado), Ravel and G. Mahler (Pierre Boulez) and Offenbach (Marc Minkowski). Her opera catalogue includes Dorabella with Georg Solti, Monteverdi’s Ottavia, Glück’s Orfeo as well as Sesto and Idamantes with John Eliot Gardiner, Marguérite with Chung and R Strauss’ Composer with Sinopoli. A frequent performer of opera in concert, she has recorded live Debussy’s Melisande (Orchestre National de France/Bernard Haitink for Naive); Judith/Bluebeard’s Castle (BPO/Bernard Haitink for EMI); Charlotte/Werther (Opéra de Lyon/Kent Nagano for Erato); Ariodante, Hercules, Sesto/Giulio Cesare (Les Musiciens du Louvres/Marc Minkowski) and Baba the Turk/Rake’s Progress (London Symphony Orchestra/John Eliot Gardiner) all for DG Archiv.
Recent releases include For the Stars, a collaboration with the songwriter, arranger and producer, Elvis Costello; the Grammy-nominated Mots d’amour, a complete disc dedicated to the music of Cécile Chaminade; the award-winning Orchestrated Schubert Lieder with John Eliot Gardiner and Watercolours, a collection of Scandinavian song following the successful earlier release, Wings in the Night.
Future opera engagements include Sesto at the Met (James Levine), L’Heure Espagnol for the Royal Swedish Opera, Gluck’s Orphee in Munich (Ivor Bolton), Carmen at the Santa Fe Festival (Gilbert), Melisande in Copenhagen, Les Troyens in Geneva (John Nelson).
Anne Sofie von Otter is married to a stage director and mother of two children. The family lives in Sweden. She is one of today’s most respected, innovative and sought-after soloists.