Anne Sofie von Otter
Anne Sofie von Otter (2011)
Born (1955-05-09) 9 May 1955 (age 68)
Alma materGuildhall School of Music and Drama
OccupationMezzo-soprano singer
(m. 1989; died 2018)

Anne Sofie von Otter (born 9 May 1955) is a Swedish mezzo-soprano. Her repertoire encompasses lieder, operas, oratorios and also rock and pop songs.

Early life

Von Otter was born in Stockholm, Sweden. Her father was Göran von Otter, a Swedish diplomat in Berlin during World War II.[1] She grew up in Bonn, London and Stockholm. She studied in Stockholm and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where her teachers included Vera Rózsa.[2] In 1982, she won second prize in the ARD International Music Competition.

From 1983 to 1985, she was an ensemble member of the Basel Opera, where she made her professional operatic début as Alcina in Haydn's Orlando paladino. She made her Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, début in 1985 and her La Scala debut in 1987. Her Metropolitan Opera début was in December 1988 as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro.[3]


Her recording of Grieg songs won the 1993 Gramophone Record of the Year, the first time in the award's history that it had gone to a song recording. In 2001, she released her album with Elvis Costello, For the Stars,[4] for which she won an Edison Award. She was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo in 2015 for her album of French songs, Douce France. She is a regular recital and recording partner with Swedish pianist Bengt Forsberg.[5][6][7]

In 2006, von Otter sang the Evangelist in the premiere of Sven-David Sandström's Ordet – en passion. Other work in contemporary music has included singing the role of The Woman in Senza Sangue of Péter Eötvös.[8] In other media, she appeared in the film A Late Quartet.[9]

In 2007, she released an album of music written by composers imprisoned in the Nazi ghetto of Theresienstadt concentration camp (also known as Terezin) before their transportation to the death camp of Auschwitz. She collaborated on this project with Christian Gerhaher (baritone) and chamber musicians. She has stated that the material has special personal meaning for her as her father had attempted unsuccessfully during the war to spread information that he had received from SS officer Kurt Gerstein about the Nazi death camps.[10]

In 2016, von Otter sang Leonora in the world premiere of Thomas Adès' The Exterminating Angel, and again in 2017 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. She created the principal role of Charlotte in Sebastian Fagerlund's 2017 opera Autumn Sonata, based on the 1979 film by Ingmar Bergman at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki conducted by John Storgårds.[11]

Family life

Von Otter was married to Benny Fredriksson until his suicide on 17 March 2018.[12][13] He was an actor and managing director of The Stockholm House of Culture, including the Stadsteater (Stockholm City Theatre). The couple had two children. She lives in the capital Stockholm.[2]

Awards and honours


Selective charting albums

Anne Sofie von Otter, 2013

(Peak positions in Sverigetopplistan, the Swedish national record chart)

Year Album Peak positions
1993 Grieg Songs (DG) 46  –  –  –  –
1994 Speak Low 25  –  –  –  –
1999 Home for Christmas 16  –  – 72  –
2001 For the Stars
(Anne Sofie von Otter meets Elvis Costello)
25 81 59 80 33
2006 I Let the Music Speak 13  –  – 63  –
(Anne Sofie von Otter & Bengt Forsberg)
59  –  –  –  –
2007 Terezín / Theresienstadt
(Anne Sofie von Otter / Bengt Forsberg)
56  –  –  –  –
2010 Ombre de mon amant 32  –  –  –  –
Love Songs
(Anne Sofie von Otter / Brad Mehldau)
34  –  –  –  –
2013 Douce France 58  –  –  –  –


Lieder and songs

Complete operas

Aria recordings

Oratorios, symphonies, etc

Other music


  1. ^ Paldiel, Mordecai, Saving the Jews: Amazing Stories of Men and Women Who Defied the "Final Solution". Schreiber Publishing (ISBN 1-887563-55-5), p. 45 (2000).
  2. ^ a b Stephen Moss (5 August 2005). "Super von trouper". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  3. ^ Donal Henahan (17 December 1988). "Reviews/Music; Figaro Among Towering Columns". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  4. ^ Neil Strauss (21 May 2001). "Worlds of Mezzo and Pop Star Meet Somewhere in Between; Anne Sofie von Otter: Fresh Start". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  5. ^ Anthony Tommasini (9 May 1998). "Music Review: Von Otter, From Lieder to Blues". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  6. ^ Anthony Tommasini (19 April 2005). "Vibrant Singing at the Nice Price". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  7. ^ Steve Smith (4 May 2009). "Resilience of the Human Spirit, in Song". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  8. ^ Anthony Tommasini (10 May 2015). "Review: A Peter Eotvos Premiere and Schubert at the New York Philharmonic". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  9. ^ Stephen Holden (1 November 2012). "The Strings Play On; The Bonds Tear Apart". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  10. ^ David Bartal (17 September 2007). "A Different Aria". Forward. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  11. ^ Dammann, Guy. The Brilliant Sound of Gnawing Anxiety. Financial Times, Friday 15 September 2017, p. 10.
  12. ^ "High-Profile Death Prompts Backlash Against #MeToo in Sweden". The Irish Times. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Famed Swedish Opera Singer Blames #MeToo for Her Husband's Suicide: 'You Can Break a Person'". MSN. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Anne Sofie von Otter". Nationalencyklopedin. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  15. ^ "Rolf Schock Prize Laureates". Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Anne Sofie von Otter". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Discography Anne Sofie von Otter". Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  18. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 295.
  19. ^ "Discographie von Anne Sofie von Otter". (in German). Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  20. ^ "Discografie Anne Sofie von Otter". (in Dutch). Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  21. ^ "Discography Anne Sofie von Otter". Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  22. ^ Fiona Maddocks (9 November 2013). "Various: Douce France – review". The Observer. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  23. ^ Anne Midgette (16 January 2005). "Classical Recordings: Anne Sofie von Otter Sinks Her Teeth Into the Baroque". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  24. ^ John Fordham (18 November 2010). "Brad Mehldau/Anne Sofie von Otter: Love Songs – Review". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2016.