Artistic Director of the Savonlinna Opera Festival, Jorma Silvasti (tenor) studied in Helsinki and Frankfurt and was a member of the chorus of the Finnish National and Frankfurt am Main operas 1980–1982. Victory in the Timo Mustakallio Competition (Savonlinna Opera Festival) in 1982 paved the way for a solo career and a contract with the Krefeld-Mönchengladbach Opera in Germany. He spent from 1985 to 1988 at the Baden State Opera in Karlsruhe, and from 1991 to 2014 was a member of the solo ensemble of the Finnish National Opera.
Jorma Silvasti made his international breakthrough with his debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1993, in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He appeared in the Finnish debut season of Das Rheingold in Richard Wagner’s Ring tetralogy, and sang the part of Laca in Léoš Janáček’s Jenůfa. The parts of Loge, and of Erik in The Flying Dutchman at the Bayreuth Festival in 1998 and 1999 brought invitations to appear on the leading German stages, such as the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Guest appearances have taken Jorma Silvasti to such illustrious venues as the Vienna State Opera, London’s Covent Garden, Berlin, Munich and Paris. He made his New York Metropolitan debut in 2004, as Boris in Léoš Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanova, and has sung at the Bayreuth Festival and the Savonlinna Opera Festival.
In 2004, Jorma Silvasti was awarded a Grammy for Best Opera Recording – of the ROH Covent Garden performance of Léoš Janáček’s Jenůfa conducted by Bernard Haitink.
Among Jorma Silvasti’s major operatic roles in recent years have been Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes, Laca in Léoš Janáček’s Jenůfa and Boris in Kát’a Kabanova. He also has an extensive concert repertoire taking in the tenor parts in great works by J.S. Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Gustav Mahler and Igor Stravinsky, but also works by contemporary composers.
Jorma Silvasti has worked with such conductors as James Levine, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Antonio Pappano, Simon Rattle, Leif Segerstam, Ulf Söderblom and Christian Thielemann.
Jorma Silvasti is the chairman of the Jury in the Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition 2019. He was the chairman of the Jury also in the 2009 and 2014 Mirjam Helin Competition.