Nina Stemme has one of the greatest and most dynamic voices on the operatic stage today. Renowned for her performances as Turandot, Salome, Elektra and a range of Wagnerian heroines, she regularly performs at the world’s most prestigious houses, including New York’s Metropolitan Opera, La Scala in Milan, the Bayreuth Festival, the Vienna State Opera and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Nina Stemme Nina Stemme. Photo © Neda Navaee

Last year, the Swedish soprano was honoured with the most prestigious distinction in the opera world – the Birgit Nilsson Prizeworth $US1 million. Stemme was only the second singer to win the prize and admits to feeling overwhelmed when it was announced.

“That’s an understatement. I could hardly believe it when I found out. I’m not only the second singer, but also the first woman to receive it. It was so inspiring and encouraging to be acknowledged for honouring composers and working honestly in such a narrow field like opera and dramatic singing. It felt extra special since I’d had the opportunity to meet Birgit Nilssona couple of times, even though I was singing...