The Finnish mezzo-soprano Merja Mäkelä studied at the National University College of Opera in Stockholm, Sweden with Professor Dorothy Irving and at Stadia Helsinki Polytechnic, Finland in the degree program of classical music with a principal dramatic soprano Anita Välkki. In spring 2007, she studied at the academy of music Musikhochschule Hanns Eisler in Berlin with Professor Anneliese Fried. Since 2010, Merja Mäkelä has worked under the guidance of Professor KS Hanna Schwarz and Professor Janice Harper-Smith.
From 2007 until 2010, Merja Mäkelä worked with Theater Kiel, Germany as soloist in their opera ensemble where she made her debut in the title role of Dido/n in Didon and Dido & Aeneas with excellent reviews. Her roles included Orlowsky in Die Fledermaus, Mercédès in Carmen, Costanza in L’isola disabitata by Haydn, Ruggiero in Alcina, in the titelrole of Hansel in Hansel & Gretel, Polina in The Queen of Spades, as Magdalena in The Meistersinger of Nürnberg, as the White Princess in Die weiße Fürstin in Munich Biennale among many others. In addition to her opera engagement, she was asked to perform solo lied recitals in her homeland Finland in 2008 and in spring 2009 at the Theater Kiel. Merja was also soloist in Messiah from Händel with Kiel Camerata in spring 2010.
2011 Merja Mäkelä was welcomed to sing the title role in a German premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s opera Adriana Mater at the Theater Osnabrück. Furthermore, she gave a solo recital in the festival Nordischer Klang together with professor Heikki Pellinen and was soloist in Berlioz’ Symphony Romeo & Juliette at the Operahouse of Münster as well as in Bach’s Magnificat with the Pori Symphony Orchester in Finland. For her interpretation of Adriana in Kaija Saariaho’s opera Adriana Mater, Merja Mäkelä was nominated for the candidacy of the Germany’s national Theater price Der FAUST as the singer-actress 2011.
In January 2012, Merja Mäkelä was to be heard as Melibéa in Rossini’s Il Viaggio di Rheims at the Finnish National Opera. In the summer 2012 Merja sang the role of Parashas Mother in Strawinsky’s Mavra in the special project of the Frankfurt Opera. She also performed Le Bal Masqué from Poulenc with the Berlin Concert House Orchestra and took part in the jubilée tour of the Landesjugendorchester Baden-Württemberg as soloist in Das Lied von der Erde by Gustav Mahler in the autumn 2012. The both works were sended by German Radio (Deutschland Radio Kultur and SWR).
In spring 2013 Merja was heard as soloist in Bachs St. John Passion with Camerata Kiel as well as in St. Matthew Passion with Tallinn Baroque Orchestra. In 2014 she was heard as Cherubino in the Marriage of Figaro by Tampere Opera as well as Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at the Savonlinna Opera Festival. In 2016 Merja Mäkelä took over several mezzo-parts in Theater and Philharmonic Thüringen such as the titel role in ‘Viktoria and her Hussar’, Martha’s Nancy and Rigolettos Maddalena as well as concerts. 2016/ 2017 Merja was heard as the alt in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in Germany and in Finland with Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. In the Summer 2017 Merja Mäkelä will be heard in Savonlinna Operafestival again. She has several opera roles under preparation such as Bianca in ‘The rape of Lucretia’.
Merja attended the first Zinka Milanov-competition 2015 and was noted as the only North European singer on the final round in Rijeka, Croatia. She won the scholarship in Renata Tebaldi-competition 2011 reaching the semifinals. Merja reached the finals in the National Timo Mustakallio competition 2004 and in the National Pentti Koskimies Lied competition 2003. In summer 2005, she sang in the finalist concert in the Savonlinna Opera Festival, Finland and was invited to take part in Sherrill Milnes program in Orlando and New York 2005-2006. Merja Mäkelä has been awarded the Tampere Opera Grand Prix scholarship in 2005 and the Bayreuth Scholarship 2012 by the Finnish Bayreuth Society. Merja has participated in master classes with noted artists such as Prof. KS Christa Ludwig, Trish McCaffrey, Teresa Berganza and Prof. KS Brigitte Fassbaender.
Video & Audio
G. Mahler: Das Lied con der Erde/Der Einsame im Herbst (SWR Radio)
F. Poulenc: Le bal masqué No. 3/Malvina (Deutschland Radio Kultur)
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