Berit Norbakken (formerly Berit Solset) is one of Scandinavia’s leading sopranos. With outstanding versatility, she masters a repertoire ranging from Renaissance to contemporary, including folk music
Berit appears regularly in performances of oratorios, passions, and masses, and continues her work with leading ensembles, orchestras and conductors in major concert halls all over the world. Norbakken has also sung opera with great success, most recently in a new staged production of Bach’s St John Passion directed by Calixto Bieito at Theatro Arriaga in Bilbao. After studies in Tromsø/Norway, Karlsruhe/Germany and graduating from the Norwegian Academy of Music, she won the 2006 INTRO-classical competition, the prestigious launch programme sponsored by Concerts Norway. This led to, among other things, a close collaboration with Bjarte Eike and Barokksolistene. Their recording ‘The Image of Melancholy’ received brilliant reviews in Norway and abroad. She collaborates closely with conductor Juanjo Mena, with whom she regularly appears in concert, lately in Bach’s Matthewpassion at the May Festival Cincinnati. For her recording with the BBC Philharmonic of Arriaga’s vocal music, she has received glowing reviews internationally.
In November 2019 she performed the world premiere of Kaia Saariaho’s Quatre Instants – (sinfonietta version) with the Arctic Philharmonic Sinfonietta and Tim Weiss. She appeared in Sydney Opera House together with Anima Eterna Brugge, in Beethoven Symphony no 9, conducted by Jos van Immerseel, in Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall in Grieg’s Peer Gynt with Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra led by Mikhael Pletnev and in several programs touring in Europe.
Other parts include Marzelline (Beethoven/Fidelio), Rosina (Rossini/Il Barbiere de Sevilla) Balkis (Haydn/L’Incontro Improvviso), Aci (Händel/Aci, Galatea e Polifemo), Adonis (Scarlatti/Il Giardino di Amore), Abel (Scarlatti/ Il Primo Omicidio), first soprano in Mozart/Great Mass in C Minor, Mozart/Exultate Jubilate, Haydn: Creation, Haydn: Seasons. Since 2015 she has been a research fellow at the The Norwegian Artistic Research Programme. During her project she has worked closely with the Swedish composer Karin Rehnqvist.
Upcoming engagements includes Mozart-program with Lorenzo Coppola, Bach Matthewpassion with Andreas Spering, Händel Saul with Hans-Christoph Rademann, Mozart Great Mass in C minor (soprano 1) with Daniel Reuss, Bach: St Johnpassion with Stephan MacLeod, Händel La Resurrezione with Ottavio Dantone and Arriaga Hermine & Médée with Juanjo Mena.
‘Carrying all of this emotional weight was soprano Berit Norbakken Solset, whose rendition of each song was astonishingly gorgeous, making them deeply moving. Nowhere more so than in the third of the songs, ‘Perfume of the instant’, its enraptured, intimate sensuality practically inducing the sensation of wafts of fragrance in the concert hall. Throughout the work, Solset made the music marvellously tactile, her voice seemingly communicating to each one of us in the audience personally. i can honestly say that if this was the last performance i ever heard, i would have died perfectly happily. Amazing.’
5against4/review of Opening Concert Nordic Music Days 2019, Kaija Saariaho: Quatre Instants, Arctic Philharmonic Sinfonietta/Tim Weiss. http://5against4.com/2019/11/19/nordic-music-days-2019-part-1/#more-37222
‘…Two vocal works are included: the cantata “Herminie” and “Air de l’Opéra Médée” The 15- minute cantata is, quite simply, a masterwork of vocal writing. It hints at what the operatic world lost with Arriaga’s early death.
Soprano Berit Norbakken Solset sings with a clear, pure tone that continually delights. Her delivery reinforces the stylistic similarities between Arriaga and Mozart…’
charlottesvilleclassical.org/Chandos release of Arriaga/BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena, 2018
‘…and so wonderfully performed, and the fabulous soprano, Berit Norbakken Solset, who has exactly the right blend of straightness, so you can hear every note, but when she decides to open up, it ́s just fabulous, for me, it ́s got everything…’
BBC Radio 3/Review of her recording of Ave Maria by Fartein Valen (Refractions, 2013, BIS Records).
Berit Norbakken synger PÅ FØLGENDE KONSERTER: