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Elisabeth Anna Söderström (7 May 1927 – 20 November 2009) was a Swedish soprano, renowned in opera and song.[1]



Born in Stockholm, Söderström received her first musical schooling from Adelaïde Andrejeva von Skilondz and later studied at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. She made her debut in 1947 at the Drottningholm Palace Theatre singing in one of Mozart's lesser-known works Bastien et Bastienne.[2] From 1949 to 1980 she called the Royal Swedish Opera her home but she frequently appeared at some of the largest opera houses in the world. She was also a regular visitor to the recording studio. Between 1959 and 1964 Söderström was contracted by the Metropolitan Opera in New York to which she would return in 1983-87. Her last stage performance was in 1999 in Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades at the Metropolitan Opera.

During her long career, Söderström made a name for herself as a technically perfect and at the same time warm soprano with a personal style which allowed her to sing in a wide variety of different works ranging from 17th century to contemporary. Between appearances in fully staged operas, Söderström gave numerous concerts and recitals in all corners of the world.[3] She made a variety of recordings, including the complete songs of Sergei Rachmaninoff, accompanied by Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Between 1993 and 1996 Söderström was the director of the Drottningholm Palace Theatre, the very stage where she had made her debut almost 50 years earlier.[2] In 1983 under the baton of James Levine, she sang the final trio from Strauss's Rosenkavalier with Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Stade at the Metropolitan's Centennial Gala.[4]

Personal life

Elisabeth Söderström was married to Sverker Olow from 1950 until her death.[1] They resided in Lidingö.


She died in Stockholm on 20 November 2009, aged 82, from complications from a stroke.[5]


  1. ^ a b Elizabeth Sleeman, International Who's Who 2004, Routledge, 2003. p. 1579. ISBN 1857432177
  2. ^ a b Tommasini, Anthony (22 November 2009). "Elisabeth Soderstrom, Swedish Soprano, Dies at 82". New York Times (New York). Retrieved 29 November 2009.  
  3. ^ Blyth, Alan (21 November 2009). "Elisabeth Söderström obituary". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 21 November 2009.  
  4. ^ "Elisabeth Söderström". Telegraph (London). 22 November 2009. Retrieved 29 November 2009.  
  5. ^ "Swedish Soprano Elisabeth Söderström dies at 82". The Associated Press. 20 November 2009. Retrieved 21 November 2009.  


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