(1927 - 2009)
Elisabeth Soderstom was a Swedish soprano.
She was particularly well known for her recordings playing the leading roles in the three Janáček operas Jenůfa, Káťa Kabanová, and The Makropoulos Affair, all of which received Gramophone Awards.
Ms Soderstrom studied at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm and made her debut in 1947 at the Drottningholm Palace Theatre singing in one of Mozart's lesser-known works Bastien et Bastienne.
Although based with the Royal Swedish Opera from 1949 to 1980 she frequently appeared at some of the largest opera houses in the world. Between 1959 and 1964 Miss Söderström was contracted by the Metropolitan Opera in New York and she returned there in 1983 to perform in seasons until 87. Her last stage performance was in 1999 at the Met in Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades.
In 1978 she created the role of Amanda/Clitoria in György Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre at the Royal Swedish Opera.
During her long career, Miss Söderström made a name for herself as a technically perfect yet warm soprano with a style that allowed her to sing in a wide variety of different works ranging from 17th century to contemporary.
Between appearances in fully staged operas, she gave numerous concerts and recitals in all corners of the world making a wide variety of recordings including the complete songs of Sergei Rachmaninoff, accompanied by Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Between 1993 and 1996 Elisabeth Söderström was the director of the Drottningholm Palace Theatre, in Sweden- the same stage where she had made her debut nearly 50 years earlier.
In 1983 she sang in the final trio from Strauss's Rosenkavalier with Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Stade at the Metropolitan's Centennial Gala under the baton of James Levine,
In 1978 she published a short of stories from her career and thoughts on performing entitled 'In My Own Key'. She died in Stockholm on 20 November 2009, aged 82, from complications following a stroke.
As a country, Sweden has produced some wonderful singers and Elisabeth Soderstrom will be fondly remembered as one who was right up there with their finest.