Norwegian soprano Toril Carlsen has relinquished her permanent post at The Norwegian Opera after 31 years, but she’s far from singing her last verse. She wants to still be seen and heard by audiences as she embarks on a freelance career.
Carlsen, age 52, was educated at the State Opera School, Statens Operaskole, in Oslo. For her, opera is “a total experience, like nothing else.” She joined The Norwegian Opera (Den Norske Opera) in 1979 but now must “retire” in accordance with the Opera’s official pension age.
She held her last concert at Oslo’s Opera House in late November, performing such Norwegian numbers as Arne Nordheim’s Aftonland and Francis Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine. Her program for the evening also included Korrespondazer by Eivind Buene, Maja Ratkje and Øyvind Matre.
She has performed continously as part of the Opera’s ensemble, absent only when giving guest performances elsewhere in Scandinavia, in Germany, England, Italy and Spain.
The Opera describes her as a soprano with a broad range who has sung more than 70 roles. Among her top performances: Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Turandot, Giorgetta from Puccini’s Il Tabarro, Lady Macbeth and the bellringer’s wife in Jenufa, which earned her the critic’s award (Kritikkerprisen) in 2003. She’s also known for her role in Oslo Sinfonietta.
Toril Carlsen will also continue to teach. “It’s been 31 fantastic years, many fine experiences and not least great colleagues,” Carlsen told newspaper Aftenposten, adding that she’s glad the Opera House, which opened two years ago, has become a place for “everyone.” Now, she says, “we just hope everyone will relate to what we do there, to what some goes on inside the Opera House, and not just to the building.”