About this Artist
Soprano Miina-Liisa Värelä (Isolde) has firmly established her presence on the operatic landscape through a number of recent highly acclaimed debuts including as Isolde/Tristan und Isolde (Glyndebourne Festival Opera), Senta/ Der fliegende Holländer (Finnish National Opera) and as Strauss’s Elektra (Landestheater Linz). As Sieglinde in Odense Symfoniorkester’s staged Ring Cycle under Alexander Vedernikov, Värelä was hailed as an exciting emerging talent, and she sang her first Ortrud in Wagner’s Lohengrin in a highly acclaimed new staging at Salzburg’s Felsenreitschule.
Värelä begins the 2022/23 season as Sieglinde in Die Walküre conducted by Hannu Lintu for Finnish National Opera, returning later in the season for performances of Turandot. She makes her North American debut in Ravel’s Shéhérazade with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Aziz Shokhakimov, and goes on to sing Isolde in concert performances of Tristan und Isolde with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. Further concert performances include Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder with Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España under Josep Pons and Shostakovich Symphony No.14 with Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne under Hannu Lintu.
The 2021/22 season included major company debuts for Värelä: at Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona as the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos, conducted by Josep Pons, and at Oper Frankfurt as both Färberin in Die Frau ohne Schatten and Ortrud in Lohengrin, conducted by Sebastian Weigle. Stepping in for an ailing colleague, she made her Bayerische Staatsoper debut as Färberin in a performance of Die Frau ohne Schatten and returned to the Savonlinna Opera Festival to sing the title role in Keith Warner’s production of Tosca, conducted by Carlo Montanaro. She sang Brünnhilde in “Die Ring an einem Abend” on tour throughout Germany, with performances at the Berlin and Munich Philharmonikers and subsequently appeared as Sieglinde in a concert performance of Die Walküre (Act 1) with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, under Andris Poga.
Two highlights of Värelä’s 2019/20 season focused on the music of Richard Strauss: her return to Finnish National Opera in the title role of Katie Mitchell’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos, conducted by Hannu Lintu, and her debut at the Verbier Festival as Färberin in Die Frau ohne Schatten, conducted by Valery Gergiev. In 2020/21, Värelä further expanded her Wagnerian repertoire through her debut as Isolde in Tristan und Isolde to mark her Glyndebourne Festival debut, conducted by Robin Ticciati, with a final performance at Royal Albert Hall as part of the 2021 BBC Proms.
On the concert platform, Värelä has recently performed Shostakovich’s From Jewish Folk Poetry for Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hannu Lintu, and Shostakovich Symphony No.14 with hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt under Klaus Mäkelä, as well as with Solistes Européens Luxembourg. Further performances include Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder in Aarhus, Mahler’s Symphony No.2 with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Ingo Metzmacher, Mahler’s Symphony No.4 with Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra under Hannu Lintu, Shostakovich’s Symphony No.14 with Oulu Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder with Odense Symphony Orchestra under Hans Graf.
A native of Finland, Värelä is a graduate of Helsinki’s renowned Sibelius Academy and has taken prizes in numerous competitions including at Lappeenranta and Belvedere.