Biographyguest of the National Theatre Opera
A native of Berlin, Anja Silja started her vocal studies at the age of six and gave her first performance at the city's Titania Palace at the age of ten. It was the beginning of a long and distinguished career both at home and abroad, and she made her stage debut at the age of sixteen in Braunschweig as Rosina in The Barber of Seville. In 1960, she was invited to Bayreuth where she made her debut as Senta in The Flying Dutchman, and continued to perform in Wieland Wagner’s productions until 1967, singing Elisabeth, Venus, Eva, Elsa, and Freia - roles which she also performed at major opera houses throughout the world. From the beginning of her career, Anja Silja sang a large and varied repertoire which included virtually all the major soprano roles in opera. She was highly acclaimed for her role of Emilia Marty in Janáček's The Makropoulos Case in Vienna, Zürich, Barcelona, Aix-en-Provence, Hamburg, and the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. She sang the role of Elsa in Lohengrin and Kostelnička in Janáček's Jenufa at Glyndebourne and Zürich; the role of Amme in Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten in Zürich, Vienna, and Paris; and Salome at Covent Garden, Hamburg, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Other performances include Schoenberg's Erwartung and Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins at the New Israeli Opera and Stuttgart State Opera, and Berg's Lulu at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf. She made guest appearances in New York with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera's production of The Makropoulos Case, in Jenufa at Covent Garden, and Act II of Jenufa in a concert version with the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle. She made her debut as an opera producer in Brussels with a production of Lohrengrin.
Ms. Silja has worked with many of the world's great conductors, including Bruno Bartoletti, Karl Böhm, Pierre Boulez, Silvain Cambreling, André Cluytens, Andrew Davies, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Otto Klemperer, Hans Knappertsbusch, Antonio Pappano, Simon Rattle, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Georg Solti and Franz Welser-Möst.
Anja Silja’s plans include Elektra (Klytemnestra) in Cincinnati; Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire in Geneva and Aix; performances of The Seven Deadly Sins and Erwartung in Europe and America; a concert version of Elektra in London and Berlin; Jenufa at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin; Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites in Hamburg and at La Scala; and the roles of Herodias in Salome and Countess Geschwitz in Lulu at the Opéra Bastille in Paris.
Her extensive discography includes recordings of The Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Fricka in Der Ring des Nibelungen, Lulu, Wozzeck, Erwartung, The Makropoulos Case, and the major repertoire of Kurt Weill.