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Mattila appears regularly in the major opera houses worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House in London, Théâtre du Châtelet, Opéra Bastille, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Vienna State Opera, Toronto Roy Thomson Hall and Großes Festspielhaus, Salzburg and with top orchestras. During her career, Mattila has sold over 150,000 certified records, which places her among the top 50 best-selling female soloists in Finland.
In 1983, Mattila won the first Cardiff Singer of the World competition. The same year she graduated from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where she studied singing with Liisa Linko-Malmio. She then continued her studies with Vera Rozsa in London.
In 1988, she was seen as Emma in the first ever televised production of Schubert's Fierrabras at the Vienna State Opera.
In 1997, she was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for her performance of Elisabeth in Don Carlos at the Royal Opera House and awarded the Evening Standard Ballet, Opera and Classical Music Award for “Outstanding Performance of the Year” in this production.
In 2001 The New York Times chose Karita Mattila as the best singer of the year for her performance in Fidelio at the Metropolitan Opera, and in the same year she was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award “Outstanding Achievement in Opera” for both Jenůfa and Lisa in The Queen of Spades at the Royal Opera House, London.
In 2004, Mattila sang her first New York Salome at the Metropolitan Opera, which together with the subsequent Káťa Kabanová inspired the New York press to write: "When the history of the Metropolitan Opera around the time of the millennium is written, Karita Mattila will deserve her own chapter."
In 2005, she was named Musician of the Year 2005 by Musical America, which describes her "the most electrifying singing actress of our day, the kind of performer who renews an aging art form and drives the public into frenzies."
BBC Music Magazine named Mattila as one of the top 20 sopranos of the recorded era in 2007.
Worldwide audiences saw her Manon Lescaut live in movie theatres in 2008.
On September 23, 2008, she reprised Salome at the Metropolitan Opera, again broadcast worldwide in High Definition on October 11, 2008.
She opened the Metropolitan Opera's 2009-10 season with Tosca, which was seen live in HD worldwide on October 10, 2009.
Roles in operas 
- Emilia Marty, Věc Makropulos
- Émilie du Châtelet, Émilie
- Tosca, Tosca
- Manon, Manon Lescaut
- Salome, Salome
- Arabella, Arabella
- Leonore, Fidelio
- Amelia, Un ballo in maschera
- Elisabeth, Don Carlos
- Amelia, Simon Boccanegra
- Desdemona, Otello
- Elsa, Lohengrin
- Eva, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
- Chrysothemis, Elektra
- Jenůfa, Jenůfa
- Káťa Kabanová, Káťa Kabanová
- Lisa, The Queen of Spades
- Tatyana, Eugene Onegin
- Donna Anna, Don Giovanni
- Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni
- Contessa, Le nozze di Figaro
- Fiordiligi, Così fan tutte
- Pamina, Die Zauberflöte
- Ilia, Idomeneo
- Agathe, Der Freischütz
- Emma, Fierrabras
- Hanna Glawari, Die lustige Witwe
- Rosalinde, Die Fledermaus
- Musetta, La Bohème
- Arias & Scenes (Erato) cond. Yutaka Sado; Queen of Spades, Jenufa, Elektra.
- German Romantic Arias (Erato), Staatskapelle Dresden, cond. Sir Colin Davis; Beethoven, Weber.
- Strauss: Orchestral Songs; Four Last Songs (DG)
- Strauss: Orchestral Songs (Sony Music Entertainment)
- Strauss: Hölderlin Lieder (Sony Music Entertainment)
- Sibelius Songs (Ondine)
- Grieg and Sibelius Songs (Erato)
- Lollipops; Canteloube, Villa-Lobos (Philips)
- Sydän Suomessa - From the Heart of Finland (Ondine), 1996, recital with Ilmo Ranta (piano); songs by Toivo Kuula, Oskar Merikanto, Erkki Melartin, Yrjö Kilpinen and folk songs.
- Wild Rose (Ondine) with Ilmo Ranta. Lieder by Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Mahler.
- Modern Portrait (Warner/Finlandia), 1995. Paul Hindemith Das Marienleben, song cycle for soprano & piano, Op. 27; Aulis Sallinen Dream Songs; Mikko Heinio song cycle Vuelo de Alambre
- Karita Live! (Ondine) cond. Jukka Pekka Saraste; Wagner, Verdi, Strauss, Gershwin
- Helsinki Recital (Ondine), Martin Katz (piano); Duparc, Kaija Saariaho Quatre instants, Rachmaninov, Dvorak Gypsy songs.
- Excellence - The Artistry of Karita Mattila (Ondine)
Complete operas 
- Salome (Sony Music Entertainment)
- Káťa Kabanová (Fra Musica)
- Tosca (Virgin)
- Manon Lescaut (EMI Classics)
- Don Carlos (EMI Classics)
- Fidelio (DG)
- Die Meistersinger (Decca, DG)
- Simon Boccanegra (TDK)
- Jenůfa (Erato)
- Le nozze di Figaro (Sony Music Entertainment)
- Così fan tutte (Decca)
- Don Giovanni (Philips)
- Fierrabras (DG)
- Der Freischütz (Decca)
- Scenes from Goethe's Faust (Sony Music Entertainment)
Symphonic works 
- Mozart: Requiem (DG)
- Beethoven: Symphony no. 9 (DG)
- Shostakovich: Symphony no. 14 (EMI Classics)
- Schoenberg: Gurrelieder (EMI Classics)
- Bernstein: Symphony no. 3 (Erato)
- Sibelius: Kullervo (BIS)
- Mendelssohn: Symphony no. 2 (DG)
- Schubert: Mass in E flat major; Mozart: Aria of the Angel, Laudate dominum (DG)
Popular music 
- Fever (Ondine)
- Best of Evergreens (Ondine)
- Karita's Christmas (Ondine)
- Songs To The Sea; Popular Melodies by Lasse Mårtenson (2001)
- Ondine Records: Biography and discography
- Karita Mattila Forum
- Met Opera Review | "'Salome' Unveils Emotions (and a Soprano)," Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, March 17, 2004
- "Mysteries of Love: Karita Mattila's Salome," Alex Ross, The New Yorker, April 5, 2004
- Interview with Classical Voice
- Karita Mattila's career, roles, CDs and DVDs on Mostly Opera