Riikka Hakola has become known as a full-blooded performer of strong female roles. Her ability to empathize with her roles, acting skills as well as her beautiful voice and versatile musicality, has earned her an acclaimed reputation as an opera- and concert singer at operas and concert halls around the world. She was one of the leading sopranos at the Finnish National Opera for twenty years and has been performing in 35 countries and four continents.
Riikka Hakola graduated from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki after which she continued private studies in London, Berlin, New York and Milan. Her career took off at young age after she won the first prize at the Kangasniemi and second prize at the Timo Mustakallio Vocal competition. Soon after she made a successful debut at The Finnish National Opera as Lucia di Lammermoor. Since that, she was one of the leading sopranos at the Finnish National Opera for over twenty years making numerous major roles.
Her operatic repertoire encompasses more than 50 major roles such as Violetta in La Traviata, Donna Anna and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte, Adina in L’elisir d’amor, Rosina in Barbiere di Sevilla, Lucia di Lammermoor, Nedda in I Pagliacci, Micaela in Carmen, Natasha in War and Peace, Anna Bolena, Arabella, Aino in Aino by Melartin, Mimi, Giuditta, Tosca, Eurydike in Orpheus in the Underworld, Jenny in Mahagonny, Chiang Ching in Nixon in China, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus and Hanna Glawary in Merry Widow.
One of Ms. Hakola’s the most beloved roles has been Violetta in La Traviata, which she performed in the Finnish National Opera over ten years, and in ten other houses including Stockholm and Copenhagen Royal Operas, Oslo National Opera and Bolshoi in Moscow. She performed Donna Anna years at the Finnish National Opera and also at the Latvian National Opera, the Bonn Opera, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, and in the USA with Baltimore and Washington Opera companies. Other operatic quest appearances are as Arabella in Dresden Semperoper and in Strassburg, Mullhousen, Kiev, Macau, Kishinev, Tallinn, Rio de Janeiro and Frankfurt opera companies. She was invited in the year 2002 to the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York as Natasha in Sergei Prokofiev’s War and Peace.
Her appearances as a concert soloist with many internationally renowned orchestras, conductors and together with many great opera stars, such as with Placido Domingo in Helsinki, as well as her recitals with piano accompaniment with Ilkka Paananen among others, have been widely respected.
Ms. Hakola has also performed several world premieres by contemporary composers such as Bird and the Wind by Eero Hämeenniemi, Magic Mirror by Jukka Linkola, the 5. Symphony by Erkki Salmenhaara and as Onerva in The Knife by Paavo Heininen, Hilda in Aleksis Kivi by Eino-Juhani Rautavaara, Birgitta by Jani Sivén, Frieda by Kari Tikka, Tango Solo by Timo-Juhani Kyllönen and Silvia and I by Markus Fagerudd.
She can also be seen in films such as Mahagonny (Jenny, 1. price in Banff, Canada), Orpheus in the Underworld (Eurydike), Night and Sun (shortfilm) and Luonnotar (composed by Jean Sibelius).
September 2022 she sang in Helsinki the role of Queen Tye in Akhnaten by Philip Glass.
She was starring as a protagonist in a new music and dance film ”Mirages” (music by Kaija Saariaho, directed by Marikki Hakola). The premiere took place in May 2022.
Opera Performances and Concerts
Riikka Hakola’s current performances are Queen Silvia in Silvia and I by Markus Fagerudd (September 2021 at the Sibelius-Festival) and as Queen Tye in Akhnaten by Philip Glass (September 2022 in Helsinki). She is staring as a protagonist in a new music and dance film Mirages, music by Kaija Saariaho, directed by Marikki Hakola (the premiere takes place in May 2022). Concerts with orchestras and ensembles.
Positions of Trust
Riikka Hakola has been participating as a member of the Jury in the Mikuláš Schneider-Trnavský International Singing Competition in Slovakia 2008, the Klaudia Taev International Competition for Young Opera Singers in Estonia 2017, 2021 and 2023 and the IIIrd International Virgilijus Noreika Competition for Singers 2023.
Erkki Melartin Society, Member of the Board (2017-)
Laulumusiikin Ystävät Association, Member of the Board, Vice Chairman (2017-2023)
Senior Adviser at the Kroma Productions Ltd., a production company for music and dance films and virtual set designs (www.kroma.fi).
The participant of Kroma team in Finpro’s Luovimo program, which trained creative industry leaders and developed internationalization capabilities.
Riikka Hakola has participated since 2011, in the activities of a network of international music and media organizations: the IMZ International Music + Media Center (imz.at), as well as the Avant Première events and markets in Cannes and Berlin. Through the IMZ organization, Hakola is a member of an international contact network of media companies (TV companies, online and record companies).
Riikka Hakola has been teaching and working as a mentor to young singers throughout her career and is also well-known in organizing and teaching in Master Classes for classical singers both in the operatic and art song fields. She is an expert on the Italian opera tradition of Belcanto.
Ehrenburger Klassigtage and Paliesiaus Dvaras
2015 Riikka Hakola founded a new festival Ehrenburger Klassiktage (later Ehrenburger Operntage) in Germany at Ehrenburg Castle in Brodenbach, where she served as an artistic director, screenwriter, stage director and performer during the years 2015-2018.
She was touring with her group also in Lithuania in Paliesiaus Dvaras concert hall.
Ehrenburger Klassiktage performance titles:
Klänge des Herzens (2015)
Amore, amore! (2016)
Nessun Dorma (2017)
La vie de Bohème (2018)