Remembering Riikka Hakola: A Legacy of Musical Mastery and Compassion
February 9, 2024

Born in 1962, Riikka Hakola pursued her musical education at the Sibelius Academy before embarking on further studies in various renowned cities including London, Berlin, New York, and Milan.

Her talents were recognized early on when she clinched top honors at the Kangasniemi and the Timo Mustakallio Vocal Competitions in 1987. This paved the way for her debut with The Finnish National Opera, where she remained a fixture for more than twenty years.

Hakola's artistry graced stages in 35 countries spread across four continents. Collaborating with illustrious figures such as Plácido Domingo, Ilkka Paananen, Hannu Lintu, Gianandrea Noseda, and Paavo Järvi, she left an indelible mark on the global opera scene.

Her portrayal of Violetta in La Traviata earned her widespread acclaim, with performances spanning ten opera houses, including those in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Russia.

Moreover, Hakola showcased her versatility by premiering numerous contemporary compositions by esteemed composers like Eero Hämeenniemi, Jukka Linkola, Erkki Salmenhaara, Paavo Heininen, Timo-Juhani Kyllönen, and Markus Fagerudd.

She graced the stages of esteemed orchestras such as the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Düßeldorfer Symphoniker, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, London School Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2015, she founded the Ehrenburger Operntage Festival in Germany, where she wore multiple hats as an artistic director, screenwriter, stage director, and performer until 2018.

Additionally, Hakola contributed her expertise as a jury member at several international singing competitions, including the Mikuláš Schneider-Trnavský in 2008, the Virgilijus Noreika in 2023, and the Klaudia Taev International Competition.

Tragically, in September 2023, she was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a terminal brain tumor. Despite the grim prognosis, she faced her illness with grace, surrounded by loved ones. Her family remembers her as a beacon of light, cherished for her humor, empathy, and zest for life.

We extend our deepest sympathies to Ms. Hakola's family, friends, students, and colleagues.

2024 © Opera World
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