News & Critics

Tuija Knihtilä's Carmen at the Savonlinna Opera Festival 2022 attracts praise

Savonlinna Opera Festival performances of 2021 were re-scheduled to June-July 2022 when Tuija Knihtilä finally got to sing the name role of Bizet’s Carmen with Amadi Lagha as Don José with great critical acclaim: 

”Knihtilä is already making heavy Wagner roles e.g. on German stages. Yet the enjoyably fullbodied and nuanced voice of this mezzo soprano agrees well to the Bizet’s French classic, precisely as 15 years ago at the Finnish National Opera with lavish critical claim.” Helsingin Sanomat 3.7.2022

"Tuija Knihtilä, the Carmen of 2022 is a magnificent, extremely skilled mezzo-soprano whose voice has nuances, depth and dark passion. It was about time to get Knihtilä as Carmen to the  Savonlinna stage. The refined, elegant and tonal interpretation of Carmen was one of the most authentic that has been heard in the castle. Knihtilä feasted with delicate tones that transformed into a strong, impressive declaration of great emotions. Knihtilä's acting was admirable: she was an infuriating, irritating and charming Carmen who was afraid of nothing and who would rather die than compromise.” Itä-Savo 1.7.2022

Tuija Knihtilä's Kundry gets critical acclaim in Linz

Tuija Knihtilä was called at a very short notice to sing Kundry at the Linz Landestheater's production of Wagner's Parsifal. Her performance gets unreserved admiration: 

"Die beste Leistung des Abends, knapp vor dem Linzer Publikumsliebling Achrainer, liefert die ebenfalls nicht in der Premierenbesetzung vertretene Tuija Knihtilä. Die finnische Sängerin, die einen farbigen, fein modellierbaren Mezzosopran vorzuweisen hat, ist als demutsvolle, heilkundige auf Erlösung hoffende Dienerin ebenso überzeugend wie als verwunschene, Parsifal nachdrücklich umgarnende Verführerin im Klingsor-Akt. Ein starker Auftritt." - Manfred A. Schmid

Special circumstances benefit the Finnish audiences

The Covid-19 pandemia has caused many changes on the performing artists' lives. Major opera houses and festivals have been forced to cancel performances or even whole seasons. But, as always, every cloud has a silver lining: instead of the normal busy shuttling between international venues Tuija Knihtilä now has an opportunity to sing several concerts in front of Finnish audiences.  

Finland is not only the land of a thousand lakes: it also hosts a number of music festivals reaching practically every corner of the country with wonderful performances. In August and September Tuija Knihtilä sings Fricka in concert versions of Wagner's Das Rheingold and Die Walküre at the Eurajoki Bel Canto festival. The orchestra parts are adapted to organ played by Finnish virtuoso organist Ilpo Laspas. August 18 and September 8 at Eurajoki Church, tickets& info: Eurajoki Bel Canto

At the Heinävesi Music Festival in North Carelia Tuija Knihtilä performs twice: Respighi's Il Tramonto on August 21 at Valamo Monastery and Joonas Kokkonen's relatively rarely performed Lintujen Tuonela (The Hades of the Birds) on August 22 at Heinävesi Church with Helsinki Sinfonietta conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali. Kokkonen's piece gets another performance with the Lappeenranta City Orchestra and conductor Erkki Lasonpalo on September 23.

Savonlinna Opera Festival performances of 2021 were re-scheduled to June-July 2022. Tuija Knihtilä will be singing the name role of Bizet’s Carmen with Amadi Lagha as Don José and Andrei Kymach (Singer of the World 2019) as Escamillo. Tuija Knihtilä's performance dates are July 2 / 8 / 19, 2022, tickets & info: Savonlinna Opera Festival 


Tuija Knihtilä to sing Waltraute in Royal Opera Stockholm

Tuija Knihtilä's spring season took an extra wihrl as she was called at short notice to sing Waltraute in Wagner's Die Walküre in Royal Opera Stockholm. The production is directed by Staffan Valdemar Holm who has won great acclaim for his psychological direction, which focuses on the strong relationship between Wotan and his daughter, Brünnhilde.

Due to Covid19 pandemia all performances (7, 14, 21 & 28 March) are cancelled.

Kungliga Operan Stockholm 


Kundry in spring, Carmen in the summer

After her successful appearance as Marguerite in Berlioz’ La D’amnation de Faust with conductor Hannu Lintu in Helsinki Tuija Knihtilä is preparing for her performances of Wagner’s Parsifal (Kundry) in April-May at the Mannheim State Opera soon to be followed by the name role of Bizet’s Carmen at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in July.  Live recording of the recent Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s Berlioz performance is available online to be watched internationally. You’ll find the link here.

Due to Covid19 pandemia the Mannheim State Opera performances are cancelled.


Berlioz: La D’amnation de Faust, Radio Symphony Orchestra, Finland

Tuija Knihtilä's career is evolving in Central Europe, but her rich mezzo is rarely heard in Finland. She projected to the audience an innerly strong Marguerite, a woman who is never submissive to her dreams.          -Rondo Magazine 1/2020

The highlight of the evening, however, was Tuija Knihtilä's gutsy and comprehensively nuanced Marguerite.         -Hufvudstadsbladet January 2020

Tuija Knihtilä's mezzo resonated expressively and powerfully in the central role of Marguerite.         -Helsingin Sanomat January 2020


Strauss: Salome / Herodias, Turku philharmonic orchestra, Finland

Tuija Knihtilä Herodiaana hallitsi ilmatilaa suvereenistiTuija Knihtilä's superlative Herodias dominated the airspace.          -Turun Sanomat, May 2019 

Tuija Knihtilä var vokalt en imponerande Herodias.Tuija Knihtilä was a vocally impressive Herodias.          -Hufvudstadsbladet, May 2019


Wagner: Parsifal / Kundry, Nationaltheater Mannheim, Germany

Der jungen Finnin Tuija Knihtilä als Kundry glückte vokal wie darstellerisch eine faszinierende Deutung der rätselhaftesten Wagner-Figur.
The young Finn Tuija Knihtilä's Kundry succeeded vocally and interpretatively to give a fascinating meaning to the most enigmatical Wagnerian figure.             -Morgenweb, April 2019


Wagner: Tannhäuser / Venus - Staatstheater Darmstadt, Germany

Die Sänger kommen gut zurecht, Tuija Knihtilä als prächtige VenusTuija Knihtilä as a splendid Venus...          -Frankfurter Rundschau, March 2017 

Tuija Knihtilä stattet Venus mit mächtigem Mezzo und prachtvollen Tönen aus.
Tuija Knihtilä configurates Venus with a mighty mezzo-soprano and marvellous notes.          -Allgemeine Zeitung, March 2017


Wagner: Lohengrin / Kundry - Royal Danish Opera

And so Ortrud is a real powerhouse. The role requires a dramatic voice, and the Finn Tuija Knihtilä has exactly what you could ever dream of: power, light, focus and volume. She had everything poshly under control at the premiere, and stole the show completely. As the third act began, the stage was still smoking. Tthe theatrical thunder at the end of the second act was devastating, as she spoiled Elsa's and Lohengrin's wedding and imposed her wickedness and willpower.          -Politiken, January 2016

Ortrud is on the other half of the pitch, although the role per se is more rewarding. Evil always attracts more interpreters and attention than good. Tuija Knihtilä's "Oh Gott" uttered to her clumsy husband Telramund starts the great raison d'être of the performance. Everything is on place without any witchy effects or mute film gestures. Knihtilä's close-cropped Ortrud looks rather like a head of research. With her calm and total focus and a perfectly controlled voice she shows everyone what the piece is about. The role is not as extensive as you may imagine. Nevertheless, she got the greatest ovations.           -Kulturbloggen, January 2016

The soloist were very good although not everyone impressed since the beinning. The Finnish mezzo Tuija Knihtilä's achievement was the most impressive: the development of the action in the second act made the rest of the show interesting.          -Operalogg, January 2016

The wicked pair was assigned two Finnish singers: the bass-baritone Jukka Rasilainen did really well his part as Friedrich von Telramund, while the mezzo-soprano Tuija Knihtilä turned out to be the vocal triumph of the performance as the evil Ortrud.          -Kristeligt Dagblad, January 2016


Verdi: Aida / Amneris, Malmö Opera, Sweden

However, most touching was mezzo Tuija Knihtilä's Amneris. In the penultimate scene, she has to bear the trial of her beloved Radamès internally as well as all alone on stage. It is also she who embodies the transition from rage to reconciliation to a prayer for peace which is the miracle in which this production of Verdi's "Aïda" wants us to believe.          -Dagens Nyheter, March 2015


Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana / Santuzza, Theatro Municipal, São Paulo Brazil

The mezzo Tuija Knihtila as Santuzza showed a consistent voice with dark medium and high notes and a strong stage presence. Great singer with excellent vocal and scenic artistry., October 2014


Verdi: Lohengrin / Ortrud, Savonlinna Opera Festival, Finland

Knihtilä's mezzo-soprano flamed in the bad-guy role in a full and a credible way.          -Helsingin Sanomat, July 2013


Wagner: Tristan & Isolde / Brangäne, Theatro La Fenice, Italy

Surprisingly, some of the strongest emotional moments in the opera came from Tuija Knihtilä as Isolde’s maid Brangane, and Richard Paul Fink as Tristan’s servant Kurwenal.          -Financial Times, Novenber 2012


Wagner: Tristan & Isolde / Brangäne, Oslo Opera House, Norway

Tuija Knihtilä and Magne Fremmerlid interpret the roles of Brangaene and King Mark with such depth of musical insight as to produce some of the finest moments of the production.          -Aftenposten, March 2012