(Born 7 July 1945, in Turku, Finland)
Matti Salminen is a highly successful Finnish operatic bass.
To earn money for voice lessons, in his youth he used to sing Finnish folk songs in night clubs.
He has sung all over the world in all of the most important opera houses including the Metropolitan and Bayreuth.
A large man and physically imposing with an enormous, sonorous and dark voice with a highly expressive face, in his prime one reviewer quipped that Salminen was "... simply the largest bass voice in captivity. It is not just its roar in powering over Wagner's maximum orchestra, but the way he carves the sonority and forms the color."
For many years he was contracted to the Zurich Opera and he is an acclaimed exponent of Wagner.
He sang Fafner and Hagen in the broadcast of the Ring Cycle from the Metropolitan Opera in what was then the largest viewing-audience of the Ring in history.
With a repertoire that encompasses all the major bass roles such as Daland (The Flying Dutchman), Gurnemanz and Titurel (Parsifal), King Marke (Tristan und Isolde), Fasolt and Fafner (Das Rheingold / Siegfried), Hunding (Die Walküre), and Hagen (Götterdämmerung), which is considered to be his signature-role he has always been in much demand.
Other important roles in his repertoire are King Philip II and the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlos, Seneca in L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, and the title roles of Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina.
Matti Salminen is one of the most filmed opera singers in history with at least three different performances of his as Hagen available on DVD plus two performances as the Commendatore, and two as Daland.
He is also the King Marke in the Jean Pierre Ponelle filmed Tristan & Isolde with Johanna Meier and Rene Kollo.