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At Sir Georg Solti’s invitation, Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter made her U.S. debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in October 1985, in Mozart’s Mass in C minor. Her biography from the program book is here. Reviews of the performance (here and here) mentioned her “clear, agile, flexible, and unhooty [!] mezzo-soprano” and her “big, warm voice which she uses with consistent intelligence and fine musical intuitions.”

In 1989 when von Otter made her debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago (as Octavian in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier), a feature article in the Chicago Tribune mentioned Solti introducing her to Chicago audiences. She remarked: “I admire Solti immensely . . . He has this incredibly contagious enthusiasm for the music and he fills you with the will to work. Maybe it’s his age and experience, but I respect him more than any other conductor I have worked with.”

With Solti and the CSO at Orchestra Hall, von Otter also appeared in Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion on March 19 and 21, 1987; in Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust on May 18, 19, and 20, 1989; and Bach’s Mass in B minor on January 25, 26, and 28, 1990. (Both Bach works were recorded for London Records.)

She also appeared on tour in 1989 in Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust on August 28 at the Royal Albert Hall in London and on August 30 at the Grosses Festspielhaus in Salzburg; and again in 1996 in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on September 13 at the Royal Albert Hall. (The London performance of the Berlioz was also released by London Records on video.)

With Solti, von Otter also recorded Mozart’s Mass in C minor in December 1990 with the Vienna Philharmonic and Mozart’s Così fan tutte (as Dorabella) in May 1994 with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (both for London Records).

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