Tarja Turunen - From Opera to Rock and back again!

Interview with the Goddess of Rock Opera

Dan Devour talks to Tarja Turunen about her amazing voice and her new live CD and DVD – Act 1.

The former Nightwish singer has gone a long way since her departure from the band in 2005 and has established herself as one of the most talented performers of all time, so find out what makes her tick in this piece of literature.

Music Trespass: What do you think has contributed to your success as a solo artist?

Tarja: Several things all together: the music, the band, my stage presence, my experience, hopefully my voice and luck.

Music Trespass: How did you choose the musicians you are working with on the album?

Tarja: These musicians, all of them, have been working with me several years already. All of us coming from different background in music make us a very unique team. I have chosen each one of them mainly because of their professionalism, sound and style of playing.

Music Trespass: How did you decide on which concerts you wanted to record for ‘Act 1’ and how hard was it to come up with the tracklisting?

Tarja: I performed in 'Teatro el Círculo' one year ago and fell in love with the beauty of the theatre immediately. I wanted to film my first live DVD there. Also another reason to film it in Argentina was that Argentina is my new home where I have been living for more than three years permanently.

I decided the songs for the DVD already in December 2011 before the long tour with my current album 'What lies Beneath' started, so that we could play all the songs needed for the DVD several times and get ready for the recordings. The running order of the songs was easy to decide, since I have had more than 200 concerts behind me!

Music Trespass: I see that you specialised in singing church music, how do you think this has effected your vocal style?

Tarja: I didn’t really specialize in singing church music, but in chamber music instead. I have several years of lyrical singing studies in music University. First I studied in Sibelius Academy in Finland and later on in Karlsruhe Music University in Germany. I have been studying lyrical singing since I was 15 years old and still today I have a particular singing teacher that I see time to time. I also have my own singing students.

Music Trespass: who do you take your influences from?

Tarja: I have never really had any idols who to follow or admire vocally or song writing wise. I listen various kinds of music styles and that helps me to keep my mind open for new things.  

Music Trespass: You trained using the style of art song did this help you to write the lyrics for your songs?

Tarja: Not really. My studies in classical music were complete from a different world. I was very shy in the beginning of my solo career to write my own songs, mainly because I was having doubts if I were able to, but I got help from many professional writers and with their help I got courage. Now I feel much more free to work on my songs on my own.

Music Trespass: You have covered Andrew Lloyld Webbers ‘Phantom of the Opera’ have you ever thought about staring in a west end show?

Tarja: I have been asked several times, but I haven’t found time for such a project yet. Maybe one day.

Music Trespass: Would you like to work with Ville Valo or Lauri Ylonen and who is the person you would most like to work with?

Tarja: both Ville or Lauri would be really nice. I would love to collaborate with Peter Gabriel! I adore him.

Music Trespass: What are your plans for the future?

Tarja: Currently I am producing my next studio album, which is hopefully going to be released in August/September 2013 if I get everything ready by then. I am having a Christmas tour in the end of this year again in Europe and there is also going to be “Beauty and the Beat” tour in Europe and South America in April/May 2013. That is a classical project of mine together with drummer Mike Terrana. We are performing classical hits and some of my songs together with a symphonic orchestra and choir only.

Interview and Questions by Dan Devour

Check Out! The Official Trailer Video for 'Act 1' below...