The Finnish-Swedish mezzo-soprano, Jenny Carlstedt, was born in the Åland Islands. She studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and with Rudolf Piernay at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
She joined the ensemble at Oper Frankfurt, where she has since sung many important roles. These have centered around the Mozart mezzo repertoire, including Idamante Idomeneo, Dorabella Cosi fan Tutte (Christof Loy’s award-winning production), Sesto and Annio La Clemenza di Tito, Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Ramiro La Finta Giardiniera and Giacinta La Finta Semplice. Jenny’s other important roles in Frankfurt have included Der Komponist Ariadne auf Naxos, the title role in Handel’s Teseo, Miranda in Ades’ The Tempest, Erika Vanessa, Wellgunde Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung, Siebel Faust, Muse/Nicklausse Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Rosina Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Angelina La Cenerentola, Varvara Katja Kabanova, Kate Owen Wingrave, Diana La Calisto, Lazuli L’Etoile, Emilia in Verdi’s Otello, Mesope Oedipe and Harper Pitt in Peter Eötwös’ Angels in America.
In the 2014/15 season Jenny made her debut as Mélisande Pelléas et Mélisande at Finnish National Opera in Helsinki and, later, reprised the role in concert performances of Pelléas et Mélisande with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and with Stéphane Degout as Pelléas.
Jenny has also sung guest contracts all across Europe, including Dorabella for Glyndebourne Touring and in Guy Joosten’s production of Cosi fan Tutte which has travelled to Helsinki, Antwerp and Copenhagen, Annio at the Theater an der Wien, Varvara in Basel, and Olga Eugene Onegin at the Königlichen Oper in Copenhagen, directed by Peter Konwitschny. Lars Karlsson wrote the role of Greta in Rödhamn for Jenny and this was premiered in 2002 at Finnish National Opera.
Jenny is also much in demand as a concert singer. She has sung the major alto oratorio repertoire for conductors such as Helmuth Rilling, Peter Schreier and Roy Goodman, as well as Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Sibelius’ Kullervo with Okko Kamu and Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder and Das Lied von der Erde with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2011, Jenny performed a programme of Berio songs with Ensemble Mordern at the Musiekgebouw in Amsterdam and, more recently, premiered Nina Senk’s new piece for piano and mezzo-soprano in the Alte Oper’s ‘Spur der romantik’ concert series. In 2013 she sang a new piece by Aulis Sallinen in with the Finnish RSO (cond. Jukka-Pekka Saraste), Ravel’s Trois Poemes de Mallarmé at Heidelberg Spring (cond. Matthias Pintscher), and Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s Faust at the Alte Opera in Frankfurt with Sebastian Wiegle
Jenny’s operatic projects for the 2015/16 season include her role debuts as Octavian Der Rosenkavalier and Fox The Cunning Little Vixen (sung in Czech), as well as Waltraute and Wellgunde in Der Ring des Nibelungen, and Lucienne Die Tote Stadt.
..Outstanding in a consistently strong field Ensamble: Jenny Carlstedt as flighty Dorabella with beautiful mezzo timbre …
(Cosi fan Tutte at Oper Frankfurt – directed by Christof Loy)
…Jenny Carlsted performs the little sister Olga with gorgeous mezzo and amusingly vivid body language.
(Eugene Onegin at The Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen)
…As the drug-addled wife Harper, Jenny Carlstedt gave the performance of the night. Not only did her acting bring back favorable memories of Marcia Gay Harden in the show’s Broadway run, but her singing, by turns plangent or accusatory, was spot on. Doubling as Ethel Rosenberg, she arguably contributed the show’s most affecting moment in Ethel’s two scenes, sung with heartfelt, melting tone, and floating her lovely voice over the moaning, sustained lower string passages. Gorgeous.
(Peter Eötvös: Angels in America in Oper Frankfurt)Opera Today – 10 April 2009 (James Sohre)
…The current revival of Mozart’s opera La clemenza di Tito by Christof Loy in Frankfurt could as well be named “Sextus”. For ensemble member Jenny Carlstedt outgrows herself in this most extensive part and dramatically focal trouser role of Mozart’s late work: torn between friendship with the Roman Emperor Titus and love for Vitellia, who instigates a (failed) attempted assassination. She sings softly with lyrical delicacy and thoughtfulness; and shows greatness during the forced confession whereas in the end, through the loss of a friend, becomes desperate and longs for death.Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – 12 October 2009 (Guido Holze)
…the young street vendor Lazuli. This trouser part was sung by Jenny Carlstedt, a real asset to this production.Frankfurter Neue Presse – 12 November 2012
..The musical bright spot is the ensemble member Jenny Carlstedt in the extensive role of Lazuli. The mezzo-soprano sings in the coloratura with ease, warmth, charm and humour. (Chabrier’s L’Etoile)Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung – 17 November 2012 (Guido Holze)
Jenny Carlstedt gives Erika, with her moveable mezzo, a wonderful profile, from shy girl awaking to a frozen lonely woman.Mannheimer Morgen – Dienstag 4 September 2012
“..And Jenny Carlstedt, who debuted as Erika, is the real protagonist: from the simple song on the deserted grand piano to the dramatic passages of the score, the mezzo-soprano shows a huge, accurate, multi-layered presence.Wiesbadener Kurier – 4 September 2012 (Von Axel Zibulski)
Jenny Carlstedt’s road from sensitive girl to uncompromising hardness is impressive. That she possesses a wonderful dark timbered and well-balanced radiant mezzo quality intensifies the Character.Giessener allgemeinde Dienstag – 4 September 2012 (Olga Lappo-Danilewski)
The secret star of the show is Jenny Carlstedt from Frankfurt Ensemble: her intense expression makes the figure of Erika, a case to study about the tragedy of impossible love, about reality and denial … for all facets of the character, Carlstedt finds a gesture and a posture, but even more fascinating in color and expression of the voice guidance. In the song “Must the winter come so soon,” it’s the wistful lyricism, in her collapse, there are large-scales, but also pale toneless phrases.Der Neuer Merket – 2 September 2012 (Werner Häusner)
Company member Jenny Carlstedt was absolutely lovely as the wronged niece Erika, deploying her well-schooled lyric mezzo with great musical and dramatic intelligence. Her melting rendition of “Must the Winter Come So Soon” early on in the piece set the bar very high and established the underlying melancholy that informs the entire work.
Maria Callas, having backed out of title role at the Metropolitan première (to be replaced by Eleanor Steber) sniffed something to the effect that “the opera should be called ‘Erika’.” And, indeed, the role is arguably the only wholly sympathetic character in an environment peopled by the opportunistic and the deluded. Ms. Carlstedt wrung every ounce of sympathy and pathos out of the role and the audience received her with unbridled enthusiasm at curtain call.
While Ms. Carlstedt may not have a large voice, it is so cleanly and clearly produced that she managed to not only float easily on the orchestral textures, but also ride every instrumental wave. She also has a superb sense of line and dramatic intent, and embodied a meaningful, simmering subtext that underscored Erika’s emotional roller coaster ride. From impressionable, naïve youth to cool, resigned maturity, Jenny took us on a riveting journey.Opera Today – October 2012 (James Sohre)
Zemlinsky – Seven Songs, Chamber Symphony
Jenny Carlstedt sings Zemlinsky’s Seven Songs with the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, conducted by John Storgards. The disc is completed by Zemlinsky’s Chamber Symphony.