Sissel Kyrkjebø

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Sissel Kyrkjebø
Sissel Kyrkjebø.jpg
Sissel in 2009
Background information
Also known as Sissel
Born (1969-06-24) 24 June 1969 (age 45)
Bergen, Norway
Origin Bergen, Norway
Genres Classical crossover, Pop, folk, classical, operatic pop, celtic
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1986–present
Labels Denon, Universal

Sissel Kyrkjebø (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈsɪsəl ˈçʏʁçəˌbʷøː], /ˈsisel ˈçyrçeˌbø/; born 24 June 1969 in Bergen), also simply known as Sissel, is a Norwegian soprano.

Sissel is considered one of the world's top crossover sopranos. Sissel's musical style runs the gamut from pop recordings and folk songs, to classical vocals and operatic arias. She possesses a "crystalline" voice[1] and wide vocal range, sweeping down from mezzo-soprano notes, in arias such as Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix from Saint-Saëns's opera Samson et Dalila, to the F natural above soprano C.[2] She sings mainly in English and Norwegian, and has also sung songs in Swedish, Danish, Irish, Italian, French, Russian, Icelandic, Faroese, German, Neapolitan, Māori, Japanese, and Latin.

She is well known for singing the Olympic Hymn (Hymne Olympique) at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway; for duets with Plácido Domingo, Charles Aznavour, José Carreras, Neil Sedaka, Warren G, Brian May, Bryn Terfel, Josh Groban, Diana Krall, Russell Watson and The Chieftains; and her participation on the Titanic film soundtrack.

Sissel received her first U.S. Grammy nominations on 6 December 2007 for a collaboration with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Spirit of the Season, a collection of songs from the choir's 2006 Christmas concert featuring Sissel and the Orchestra at Temple Square, was nominated for the Best Classical Crossover Album of the Year, as well as Best Engineered Classical Album.[3]

Sissel's combined solo record sales (not including soundtracks and other albums to which she contributed) amount to 10 million albums sold, most of them in Norway, a country with 5 million people. Her albums have also sold well in Sweden, Denmark and Japan. Together with Odd Nordstoga, they are the only Norwegian artists to have an album go 11 times platinum in album sales for Strålande jul" (Glorious Christmas).[4]

The first name 'Sissel' is a Norwegian variant of 'Cecilia'.[5] This is a popular first name from Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of church music.[6][7]


Sissel grew up on Lønborg in Bergen, Norway with two older brothers, Eirik and Bjørn. Sissel and her parents would often take hikes in the mountains surrounding Bergen. In early years Sissel wanted to be a nurse, but at the age of nine Sissel found a new hobby: music.

She joined her first children's choir under the direction of New Zealand-born conductor Felicity Laurence. Sissel stayed with the choir for seven years. She said, "That was my musical education. We sang everything: classical and jazz, folk and even Māori songs. People said we sounded like an angel choir because we had this very clean pure sound, almost like an English boys’ choir." [8]

Sissel won her first local talent competition when she was ten.[9] She was influenced by various musical genres; her parents were interested in country music and classical music, and her brothers' interest in rock music also influenced her. Later, Sissel said Barbra Streisand, Kathleen Battle and Kate Bush were inspirations.

Sissel appeared for the very first time in 1983 on Norwegian TV with the song Evergreen in the children's program Halvsju.[10] Same year Sissel guested the TV-program "Husker du?", hosted by Odd Grythe, with her later manager, Rune Larsen. She performed "Barndomshjemmet" and "Sukiyaki". In 1984 Sissel appeared in the sing-along program Syng med oss ('Sing with us') together with a choir. Sissel sang solo on Syng med oss several times between 1984 and 1986.

1986–1994: Rise to prominence in Norway[edit]


Sissel Kyrkjebø in 1986

In January 1986 Sissel made an appearance on the Norwegian TV-show "Kanal 1", hosted by Ivar Dyrhaug. She performed You Don't Bring Me Flowers by Barbra Streisand. Later, in May, Sissel performed "Bergensiana" during the intermission of the Eurovision Song Contest, which took place in Grieg Hall in her home town of Bergen.[11] That was her big breakthrough and same year, her first album, Sissel, was released. It sold more than 500,000 copies, making it the best selling album in Norway at that time.[12]


In 1987 Sissel made her debut on Danish television, on "Under Uret", hosted by Hans Otto Bisgaard. She performed two songs: "Vårvise" with Danish singer/composer Sebastian and "Summertime". Later that year, in November Sissel released her Christmas album Glade Jul. It contained several traditional Christmas carols and it broke her previous record for best-selling album in Norway. This album still holds the record. Upon its release, it sold more than 600,000 copies in a country with a population of less than five million: to date, it has sold approximately 1 million copies.[13][14] In Sweden, a Swedish language version was released, called Stilla Natt. Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet honored her as "The Name of the Year" in December. That year Sissel also was invited to represent Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest 1987, but she declined.


This year Sissel wanted a break from her music career and opted to attend Handelsgymnasiet, a commercial upper-secondary school in Bergen. She performed on the memory concert of the singer/songwriter Trygve Hoff in Tromsø, in February. Trygve Hoff wrote several of the songs on Sissels debutalbum, Sissel from 1986. Hoff died in 1987. In the fall of 1988, Sissel moved to Oslo for a short period to play the role of Maria von Trapp in the Norwegian version of The Sound of Music. This production set box office records and was seen by over 110,000 people.


In 1989, she released her third album, Soria Moria. The album sold 180,000 copies. In the summer same year, Sissel travelled to the US and performed in New York City on the TV program Artists for Our Common Future, which was broadcast around the world. She performed "Summertime" and "Somewhere". On a Swedish TV-concert taped in Gothenburg she met the man whom she would later marry, Danish comedian and singer Eddie Skoller. They sang "Vårvise" by Sebastian. The couple were engaged during the Christmas season of 1991 and married in Mariakirken in Bergen on 21 August 1993. This was a big event in Norway that year. They had two daughters, Ingrid and Sarah, before they divorced in 2004.[15]


In 1990 Sissel recorded the singing parts of the character Princess Ariel for the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish versions of the 1989 Disney movie The Little Mermaid, and was the speaking role of Ariel in the Norwegian and Swedish versions. Same year Sissel visited The Faeroe Islands developing a project called "Kystland". It resulted in two TV programs, Med Sissel til Kirkjubø and the church concert Tidin rennur. In December 1990 Sissel opened the new concerthall in Oslo, Oslo Spectrum on the Christmas-concert "Å gi er å se".[16]


This year Sissel toured Norway and Denmark with her very successful church concert, Tidin rennur. In the fall of 1991 Sissel met and performed with Neil Sedaka on the Norwegian TV-show "Momarkedet". Sissel sang his song "Solitaire" while Sedaka played on the piano. He became very impressed and they collaborated on her next album, Gift of Love which came out in 1992. Sissel sings three songs written by Neil Sedaka, including a duet on "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do".


In the winter of 1992 Sissel was officially named one of the official musicians of the upcoming 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. She made a short appearance at the closing ceremony of the Olympics in Albertville, France. Dressed like a princess sitting on a giant fake polar bear like in the Norwegian folktale Kvitebjørn kong Valemon. She performed "Molde Canticle" by Jan Garbarek. Her album Gift of Love was released in October and the album only sold 60,000 copies. It received criticism for her new "style" on the album. Sissel joined Sedaka on his fall tour in Norway same year, and she also had several event performances in US.


In the summer of 1993 Sissel played the role of Solveig in Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen at Den Nationale Scene in Bergen, Norway. This was very well-received by critics. Later, in August Sissel married Eddie Skoller in Mariakirken in Bergen. Thousands of fans waited in the rain outside the church to get a glimpse of Sissel after the wedding-ceremony. The wedding received a great deal of attention from Norwegian and Danish press.


Sissel and Charles Aznavour performing in Vienna in 1994

In February 1994, Sissel performed during the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.[17] During the Olympics, legendary Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo visited Norway, where he came across one of her earlier albums. He contacted Sissel and the next day they recorded Fire in Your Heart, an English version of Se ilden lyse, the official theme song of the Lillehammer Olympics. These two versions of the song were released in February 1994 on Sissel's solo album Innerst i sjelen (Deep Within My Soul), a collection of Nordic folk songs. Domingo invited Sissel, along with world-renowned French singer Charles Aznavour, to partake in his annual Christmas in Vienna concert later that year. The concert was broadcast around the world and released as an album internationally.[18]

1995–2001: Climb to international recognition[edit]


In 1995, Sissel was invited to perform on the 1995 Live For Peace – Royal Gala in London. In celebration of 50 years V.E. Day she performed in front of Charles, Prince of Wales, in London Coliseum. She sang the renowned aria O Mio Babbino Caro from the opera Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini and the Norwegian classic Vitae Lux with the choir Gli Scapoli.


In 1997, Sissel toured the US with the Irish group The Chieftains. They appeared, among other places, on the Late Show with David Letterman and in Carnegie Hall. Later that summer Sissel was involved in recording the soundtrack to the film Titanic. The soundtrack, called Titanic: Music from the Motion Picture, became immensely popular, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard charts and selling more than 30 million copies worldwide. James Horner, the composer of the film's music, knew Sissel from her album Innerst i sjelen and he particularly liked how she sang Eg veit i himmerik ei borg (I Know in Heaven There Is a Castle). Horner had tried 25 or 30 singers before deciding on Sissel.[19] Horner also wrote the main theme song My Heart Will Go On for Sissel, but Sony Music decided that Celine Dion should sing it instead.[20]


Sissel had a No.1 hit across Europe in 1998 with Prince Igor, a duet with an American rapper Warren G on the concept album The Rapsody Overture which combined American rappers with European opera singers.[21] Sissel sang an aria from Alexander Borodin's opera Prince Igor during the chorus, while Warren G rapped. When the song was recorded, Sissel had just a half-hour to learn the Russian lyrics and she got help from a Russian, who drove a cab in New York City: the driver's name, coincidentally, was Igor. Sissel was on her way to the airport, but the taxi-driver drove her direct to the studio and followed Sissel into studio. He helped Sissel sing the russian words correct while Sissel recorded her part of the lyrics.[22] In the end he was satisfied and they made it to the airport afterwards.[19] On St. Patrick's Day that year Sissel made her second performance on the Late Show, singing "Love Will You Marry Me?" with The Chieftains.


In 1999 Sissel started working on a new album with producer Rick Chertoff, and travelled between Copenhagen and New York. The CD was to be released in 2000, but Sissel were unhappy with the results of the recording sessions and scrapped the album. Same year she sang the Gaelic song Siúil A Rún on The Chieftains' 1999 album Tears of Stone.


The beginning of 2000 marked Bergen as the "European city of culture", and Sissel performed at the opening ceremony. In May, as a part of Bergen's Nattjazz Festival she performed at a concert where she sang several duets with jazz singer Diana Krall. In November 2000, Sissel released (in Norway only) her album, All Good Things, which was her first solo album in nearly seven years. Following high sales, 300,000 copies sold, the album was released throughout Europe and Asia the following year. The album included the duet "Where the Lost Ones Go" with fellow Norwegian singer Espen Lind, which was also released on his album This Is Pop Music in 2001. Sissel performed Christmas carols and a few of her new tunes at the Festival of Lights (Lysfest) in Bergen in the beginning of December,[23] culminating the city's celebration of being the cultural city of Europe. The concert was broadcast live on the Internet. Later same month she was invited to represent Norway at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, where she sang "One Day" and "Weightless", both songs from All Good Things. She was introduced by Jane Seymour as "the Norwegian star Sissel."[24] Sissel also released a greatest hits collection in Japan that included two new songs, in collaboration with Gheorghe Zamfir. These songs were used in the Japanese TV show Summer Snow, one of which was the show's theme song. Sissel is enormously popular in Japan and has released several Japanese versions of her albums there.


In 2001, she was asked to sing a duet with the Danish goth rockers Sort Sol. Sissel sang with them on the track "Elia Rising" from their album Snakecharmer, released in May 2001. Sissel were inspired by the Kylie Minogue/Nick Cave-ballad "Where the Wild Roses Grow". Sort Sol and Sissel performed together in Tivoli and at the Roskilde Festival that year. On Roskilde they performed at 2 in the morning for a raucous audience of 50,000 rock fans. Sissel made her debut on the big screen in June, playing a female lumberjack, Inga, in the Danish children's film, Flyvende farmor (Flying Grandma). In this movie Sissel sings the danish song "Himlen over Himmelbjerget". In September, Sissel played two "In Symphony" concerts in Drammen, Norway, with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and special guests. The concert was broadcast in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and was also released as a live CD, Sissel in Symphony, which sold 240,000 copies. Later in the fall of 2001, Sissel toured Scandinavia and sang at a memorial ceremony in October at Copenhagen Airport. Sissel then performed at a memorial concert for a 17-year-old boy, Benjamin Hermansen who was killed outside of Oslo, a murder that was racially motivated. She also performed at an AIDS/HIV benefit concert in Kulturkirken Jakob in Oslo where she sang "Eg Ser". And on 6 December Sissel performed with Oslo Gospel Choir in Washington, D.C., as part of the Norwegian Visions 2001.

2002 to present: Global stardom[edit]


In 2002 Sissel recorded two duets, Ave Maria and Bist du bei mir (BWV 508), with Plácido Domingo in April for his Sacred Songs album, released in September of that year. On 24 May 2002, dressed in traditional Norwegian costume, Sissel performed the Norwegian psalm "Lær meg å kjenne" at the wedding of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and Ari Behn in the Nidaros Cathedral. In August Sissel performed with the Danish Radio Orchestra at two outdoor concerts in the park surrounding Ledreborg Castle near Roskilde in Denmark. In addition to the orchestra, Sissel entertained the sold-out crowd of 22,000 and guests on these concert were artists like Paddy Moloney and The Pilatze Brothers. On 1 October 2002, Sissel released her first album in the US. it sold over 100,000 copies in its first three months of release with almost no advertising or marketing.[25] The album sold better than Decca record executives expected, their initial goal having been to sell 100,000 copies in the first nine months. The album, titled Sissel, was largely a re-recording of songs from her Norwegian album, All Good Things with the addition of two songs, "Solitaire" and "Shenandoah". In late 2002, one of Sissel's concerts was filmed at the Oslo Spectrum and later broadcast in March 2003 on PBS in the United States. The British Singer Russell Watson was one of her guests. The production was subsequently released as the DVD Sissel in Concert. In December 2002, Sissel was again invited to represent Norway at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, for which she sang "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz and "The Prayer" in a duet with Josh Groban.[26] Sissel closed out 2002 by performing at a Christmas concert, Christmas in Moscow 2003, in Moscow, Russia with Jose Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Emma Shapplin. The show garnered mixed reviews from the Russian media, although Sissel received all-around high marks. This concert was broadcast on Russian television and in October 2014 this concert was released on CD.


In April 2003 Sissel performed in Tokyo, Japan and then in April–May she toured US, visiting Philadelphia, St. Louis and New York City. Sissel had a Poulsen rose (a rose engineered to thrive in cold Scandinavian winters) named after her on 10 August in Denmark. "She spreads joy among all of us with her wonderful voice" was the reasoning behind the honor, bestowed upon her in the garden of Haraldsted Church. Sissel performed The Rose, Vatnet, våren, fela and Solveig's Song during the presentation. Sissel sang with Swedish singer Peter Jöback on the Christmas single "Gå inte forbi" for his new holiday CD. Sissel also guested him on his Christmas tour in Sweden that year.


Sissel released her second US album, My Heart, in March 2004. It was a classical crossover album and included two pop songs written by Richard Marx and one ballad, "Wait A While", written by Jon Lord of Deep Purple. "My Heart" reached No. 3 on the Billboard Classical Album Chart after debuting at No. 7 and spent 31 weeks on the chart.[27] In the summer and fall of 2004, Sissel went on tour with The Lord of the Rings Symphony.[28] She was a featured soloist for an orchestral performance dedicated to the music from the The Lord of the Rings films.[29][30] The Lord of the Rings composer Howard Shore, who arranged and conducted the music, planned on hiring three soprano singers to handle the vocal chores, but after hearing Sissel, decided she would be enough. At each performance, Sissel performed with a symphony orchestra and choirs with 200 musicians on stage. Howard Shore stated, "Ancient Norwegian mythology and culture had a great influence on Tolkien's work. It is very thrilling to have the Norwegian singer Sissel perform as a soloist in The Lord of the Rings Symphony. Sissel's radiant voice illuminates this work." When asked about the tour in an interview, Sissel raved, "I love the music. It's such a wonderful feeling to be sitting in the middle of a symphony orchestra, surrounded by the beautiful voices of the choir and all those gorgeous melodies."


In May 2005, Sissel performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City, Utah, on their radio and TV broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word,[31] which is featured on nearly 2,000 stations across the US and around the world. Sissel joined the choir to commemorate the Centennial of Norwegian Independence from Sweden, which was being celebrated that year. Sissel sang the ABBA song "Like An Angel Passing Through My Room," "Vitae Lux," the traditional Norwegian hymn "Herre gud, ditt dyre navn og ære," and the Norwegian national anthem, "Ja, vi elsker dette landet" (Yes, we love this country), with the choir. On 8 October 2005, King Harald of Norway knighted Sissel a Knight of the 1st Class in the Order of St. Olav for her contributions to music and as an ambassador for Norway. Sissel was 36 years old. The ceremony was held on 25 January on Hotel Bristol in Oslo.[32] Same month Sissel was invited to perform on the well-known temple-concert, Ninna-ji Otobutai, in Osaka, Japan.[33] She sang "Pie Jesu", "Sancta Maria" (intermezzo from Pietro Mascagni's opera Cavalleria Rusticana), "You Raise Me Up", and a couple of other songs. This concert was aired on television in Japan.


In December 2006, Sissel again joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as the featured soloist for their annual Christmas concerts.[34] In four performances, she sang for more than 80,000 people in the 21,000-seat Conference center in Salt Lake City. The concerts were videotaped for PBS television and aired the year after, in December 2007. Sissel celebrated more than 20 years in the music industry with the release of a greatest hits album[35] presenting 40 of her best and most well-known songs, including some never-before-released songs.[36] She toured Norway in December with her Christmas concerts with a mix of Christmas carols and hits from her greatest hits-release[37] that year.


In March 2007, a statistically representative sample of the Norwegian population chose her as the best female Norwegian musical artist in competition with 15 other big names, including Lene Marlin, Wenche Myhre, Kari Bremnes, and Bertine Zetlitz. In the summer of 2007, Sissel toured Norway, Sweden, France, and the US with a band. According to Sissel, this is a new concert format for her, without a choir. For the 2007 holiday season, PBS stations aired two concerts starring Sissel as part of the December pledge drive, one with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir titled Spirit of the Season, released on CD and DVD in late September 2007, the other with operatic legend and good friend José Carreras titled Northern Lights, released on CD and DVD in early November 2007. The albums of these concerts have proven to be extremely popular, with Northern Lights reaching No. 10 in the Billboard Classical Crossover list,[38] and Spirit of the Season staying firmly planted at No.1 on the Billboard Classical charts[39] for nine consecutive weeks.[40]


The album Northern Lights is a live recording of a concert at Bergstadens Ziir ("Jewel of the mountain town" in German), a church from the 17th Century in Røros, Norway (a 17th-Century Germany mining town). It was inspired by Norway's winter, the Blue hour, and the mystical Northern Lights.[41] The music were arranged by Kjetil Bjerkestrand and the musicians sharing the stage with Sissel were the Trondheim Soloists, the Nidaros Cathedral Girls Choir, and Sissel's own band.[8] The concert featured the tenor José Carreras,[42] which performed the Julio Iglesias/Dolly Parton-duet "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" with Sissel. Sissel conducted an eight-city US tour in February 2008, singing selections from Northern Lights.[43] A second leg of the tour covered more cities in the central and southern United States and lasted through April.[43]


In October 2009 the Norwegian press revealed Sissels new relationship with Ernst Ravnaas, a Norwegian tax lawyer.[44][45] On 9 November 2009, Sissel released a new Christmas album called Strålande Jul (Glorious Christmas), a project with Odd Nordstoga, another popular Norwegian singer.[46] This album presents mostly lesser-known Christmas carols from Scandinavia. Sissel toured in both Norway and Sweden with Odd Nordstoga, The Real Group, Orsa spelmän, and Krister Henrikson. This album and their sold-out Christmas concerts received much critical acclaim in Norway and Sweden. The record company Universal Music anticipated sales of about 100,000 CDs, but ultimately sold more than 400,000 in Norway in the first two months.[47]


Sissel Kyrkjebø at album signing in Norway 2010

In May 2010, Sissel visited China with the Trondheim Soloists, on Expo 2010 in Shanghai.[48] They performed songs like "Jag vill alltid følja dig", "Solveig's Song" and "Wait A While". Part of these concerts were broadcast on Norwegian television in the summer of 2010. On 20 September 2010, an unauthorized biography of Sissel, named Sissel, by Stig Nilsson, was released in Norway. Nilsson had written several songs for Sissel earlier in her career. In the book, Nilsson claims—among other things—that Sissel never became a worldwide superstar because she did not want to be. The book has only been released in Norwegian.[49] On 15 November 2010, Sissel released a new album in Scandinavia called Til deg (For You), recorded in ABBA's Polar Studios in Stockholm, Nidaros Studios in Trondheim, and in Nashville.[50] This album shows a new direction in music and is heavily influenced by the style of country music, roots and folk. The album includes five songs sung in Swedish, three in Norwegian and two in English, including a Norwegian translation of Victoria Shaw's song "Never Alone", titled "Velkommen hjem", and a Swedish cover of Alison Krauss' song "Ghost in This House", called "Levande död". Sissel has collaborated with Mikael Wiehe, Espen Lind, and Py Bäckman on the new album.[51]


In 2011 Sissel moved back to Norway after 22 years in Denmark. On 21 August 2011, Sissel performed the Norwegian hymn "Til ungdommen" by Nordahl Grieg at the National Memorial Ceremony for the victims of 22 July 2011 terrorist attacks.[52] This ceremony took place in Oslo Spectrum[53] and was broadcast live nationally to all the Nordic countries. King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway were there with members from all the Nordic Royal Houses. The prime ministers from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and also the presidents of Iceland and Finland were at this ceremony. In September Sissel got her own stamp in Norway[54] when a set of stamps of four Norwegian female performers was issued.[55]


In December 2012 Sissel performed exclusively on two free Christmas-concerts in Johanneskirken, Bergen.[56] This was the first time for her having a Christmas-concert at her own in that church.[57]


On 13 August Sissel married Ernst Ravnaas in a private ceremony in Hov church, Norway.[58] In November 2013 Sissel returned to the stage, after having a 3-year long break. She visited the Norwegian talkshow "Lindmo",[59][60] where she performed "My Tribute" by Andrae Crouch. Sissel toured Norway in November and December with her Christmas concerts with a new mix of christmas- and gospelsongs.[61] She hired three gospelsingers from New York to back her up on these concerts.[62]


On 17 May Sissel performed the Norwegian national anthem "Ja, vi elsker dette landet" and Griegs "Våren" on the Norwegian Constitution Day 2014 on Eidsvoll, Norway.[63] King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark were on this ceremony[64] which was broadcast live on television. Later this year, in September Sissel performed with the Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis at a concert on Friday 5 September at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Greece. This concert, "Sing Me An Angel" was held in aid of the Non Profit Organisation "I Live For Me". They performed several duets like "You Raise Me Up", "Nights in White Satin", "Smile" and "What A Wonderful World".[65] Sissel toured Norway and Sweden with her acclaimed Christmas concerts[66] in November and December.[67] In the fifth episode (of Season 3) of American television political drama series The Newsroom, which aired in December, a recording of Sissel singing Shenandoah was played in the death scene of Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston).[68]


Notable concerts and tours[edit]

Year Concert/Tour Name Country Notes
1986 Eurovision Song Contest 1986 Norway Sissel performed during the intermission of the Eurovision Song Contest 1986 in May 1986.
1989 Our Common Future US Sissel performed on Our Common Future, a five-hour global TV broadcast broadcast live from Avery Fisher Hall, New York in June 1989.
1990 "Å gi er å se» Norway Sissel opened the new concerthall in Oslo, Oslo Spectrum on the Christmas-concert "Å gi er å se" in December.[16]
1991 Tidin rennur Tour Norway, Denmark Sissel toured Norway and Denmark with her very successful church concert, Tidin rennur.
1991 Julekonserten 1991 Norway Christmas concert with Sissel and other artists touring in Norway.
1992 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville France Sissel performed on the closing ceremony of the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France in February 1992.
1992 Neil Sedaka Tour Norway Sissel joined Neil Sedaka on his fall tour in Norway in 1992.
1992 Julekonserten 1992 Norway Christmas concert with Sissel and other artists touring in Norway.
1993 Julekonserten 1993 Norway Christmas concert with Sissel and other artists touring in Norway.
1994 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer Norway Sissel performed on the closing ceremony of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway in February 1994.
1994 Julekonserten 1994 Norway Christmas concert with Sissel and other artists touring in Norway.
1994 Christmas in Vienna Austria On 22 December Sissel performed on the third Christmas in Vienna-concert in Austria, with Placido Domingo and Charles Aznavour.
1995 Live For Peace – Royal Gala 1995 United Kingdom Sissel performed in front of Charles, Prince of Wales on the 1995 Live For Peace – Royal Gala, in celebration of 50 years V.E. Day, in London Coliseum, London.
1995 Julekonserten 1995 Norway Christmas concert with Sissel and other artists touring in Norway.
1996 Sigulda Opera Festival Latvia Sissel performed on the Sigulda Opera Festival, Latvia in the summer of 1996.[69]
1996 Julekonserten 1996 Norway Christmas concert with Sissel and other artists touring in Norway.
1997 Tour with The Chieftains US Sissel toured the US with the Irish group The Chieftains.
1997 Good Morning America Norway/US Sissel guested and performed on the American TV-show Good Morning America when the show visited Bergen, Norway on 13 May 1997.
1997 Julekonserten 1997[70] Norway Christmas concert with Sissel and other artists touring in Norway.
1998 Titanic-concert US Sissel performed on two "Titanic"-concerts in Hollywood, on 9 and 10 October.[71]
1998 Julekonserten 1998[72] Norway
Christmas concert with Sissel and other artists touring in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.[73]
1999 Julekonserten 1999 Norway
Christmas concert with Sissel and other artists touring in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.[74]
2000 Nobel Peace Prize Concert Norway Sissel represented Norway at the annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert in December 2000.
2001 Sissel in Symphony Norway Sissel toured Norway with Kringkastingsorkestret. A recording of one of these concerts, in Drammen, was released on CD in 2001 and DVD in 2005.
2002 Royal wedding in Norway Norway Sissel performed at the royal wedding of the Norwegian princess, Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn in the Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim in May 2002.
2002 Good Morning America US Sissel performed Ave Maria with Plácido Domingo on the American TV-show Good Morning America in New York in December (October) 2002.[75]
2002 Nobel Peace Prize Concert Norway In December 2002 Sissel again represented Norway at the annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert. She performed a duet with Josh Groban.
2002 All Good Things – Sissel in Concert Norway Concert with Sissel that was filmed at the Oslo Spectrum and later broadcast in March 2003 on PBS in the United States. A DVD of this concert was released in 2003.
2002 Christmas in Moscow Russia Sissel performed at a Christmas concert in Moscow in December 2002 with Jose Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Emma Shapplin.
2003 Sissel Tour US US, visiting Philadelphia, St. Louis and New York City.
2004 Lord of the Rings Symphony Tour US
US and Europe with Howard Shore and the Lord of the Rings Symphony in the summer and fall of 2004.
2005 Music and the Spoken Word US Sissel performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on their radio and TV broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word from Salt Lake City in May 2005.
2005 Ninna-ji Otobutai Japan Sissel was invited to perform on the well-known annual temple-concert, Ninna-ji Otobutai in Japan in October 2005.
2006 Nordisk Vinternatt Tour Sweden
Sissel toured Scandinavia with her Scandinavian album-release Nordisk Vinternatt.
2006 Into Paradise Tour US Sissel toured the US with her album-release Into Paradise.
2006 Christmas Concert with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir US Sissel was the featured soloist for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's annual Christmas concerts on four performances in Salt Lake City, US
2006 2006 European Athletics Championships Sweden Sissel performed two songs on the opening ceremony of the 2006 European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.
2008 Northern Lights Tour US Sissel toured eight cities in the US in February 2008 with her album-release Northern Lights.
2008 Northern Lights Tour US Tour with Sissel that covered more cities in the central and southern United States in April 2008.
2009 Strålande jul Christmas Tour Norway Sissel and Odd Nordstoga toured Norway with their album-release Strålande jul.
2010 Expo 2010 China Sissel performed on Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China with the Trondheim Soloists in May 2010.
2010 Til deg Tour Norway
Sissel toured Norway and Sweden with her album-release Til deg.
2011 Concert in Hareidsstemna Norway Concert with Sissel in connection of the 50th anniversary of Hareidsstemna in Hareid on 21 October.
2012 Titanic 3D World Premiere Concert United Kingdom Sissel performed with James Horner on the Titanic 3D World Premiere Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London on 27 March.
2012 Concert in Istanbul Turkey Sissel performed on a concert in Istanbul, Turkey in November 2012.
2012 Frostrosir Klassik 2012 Iceland Sissel performed on the Frostrosir Klassik concert in Reykjavík, Iceland in December 2012.
2013 Sissels Jul Norway Sissel toured Norway with her Christmas concert "Sissels Jul".
2014 Sissel in Ziir Norway Concert with Sissel in Røros church as a part of Vinterfestspillene 2014.[76]
2014 Summer Concert Norway Sissel performed two concerts in Baroniet Rosendal on 16 July.
2014 Sing Me An Angel Greece Sissel performed with the Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Greece on 5 September.
2014 Sissels Jul Norway
Sissel toured Norway and Sweden with her Christmas concert "Sissels Jul".

Awards and recognition[edit]

Preceded by
Recipient of Årets navn Dagbladet
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Recipient of Årets spellemann Spellemannprisen
Succeeded by
Jørn Hoel
Preceded by
Terje Rypdal
Recipient of Juryens hederspris Spellemannprisen
Succeeded by
DumDum Boys
Preceded by
Alfred Janson
Recipient of the Open class Gammleng-prisen
Succeeded by
Susanna Wallumrød

Personal life[edit]

Sissel was married from 1993 to 2004 to the Danish-American comedian and singer Eddie Skoller. They have two daughters, Ingrid (born 1996)[88] and Sarah (born 1999).[15][89]

In August 2013, she married Ernst Ravnaas, a Norwegian tax lawyer.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sissel / Lord of the Rings Tour Dates Announced". The Sissel Website. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Sissel hits Soprano F at 2:42". YouTube. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Choir Nominated for Two Grammy Awards". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "11 platinaplater til superduo". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Cecilia". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  7. ^ Mike Campbell. "Behind the Name: Cecilia". Behind the Name. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "Biography of Sissel from the official website" (PDF). Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "A description of Sissel Kyrkjebø from NRK". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "Sissel 40 år i dag". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Legendarisk pauseinnslag fra Melodi Grand Prix 1986". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  12. ^ [2][dead link]
  13. ^ "The official Sissel website.". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "Norway population". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "Sissel og Eddie skilles". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "Sissel Kyrkjebø er tilbake". Aftenposten. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  17. ^ [3][dead link]
  18. ^ "Sissel Kyrkjebø (Soprano)". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Earle Hitchner (12 March 1998). "The Wall Street Journal: In Titanic's Wake: A Voice to Remember . . .". WSJ. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  20. ^ "En engel passer på Sissel". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  21. ^ "Sissel MTV- helt". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "Det kunne være fedt at sætte sig i frisørstolen og sige "shave"". 9 October 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  23. ^ "Sissel går alltid videre". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  24. ^ [4][dead link]
  25. ^ [5][dead link]
  26. ^ [6][dead link]
  27. ^ "Billboard Classical Album Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  28. ^ [7][dead link]
  29. ^ "Alvesang fra Sissel". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  30. ^ NRK (18 November 2004). "Sissel i Kreml". NRK. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  31. ^ "Popular Norwegian performing artist Sissel plans BYU performance April 30". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  32. ^ "Ridder Sissel Kyrkjebø". Bergens Tidende. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  33. ^ "JAL Otobutai 2005". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  34. ^ "Sissel for 80.000 i Utah". Bergens Tidende. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  35. ^ "Sissel Kyrkjebø". BA. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  36. ^ "IN magasinet : Hjem til jul". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  37. ^ Sissel Kyrkjebø m/band og flere. "Hun kom til sine egne...". Bergens Tidende. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  38. ^ ""Northern Lights" reaches No. 10 on Billboard Classical Crossover list". Marketwire. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  39. ^ [8][dead link]
  40. ^ " Charts – Top Classical Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  41. ^ NRK (15 March 2007). "Sissel har inntatt Bergstaden". NRK. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  42. ^ "Carreras selger Sissel i USA". BA. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  43. ^ a b [9][dead link]
  44. ^ "- Sissel forelsket igjen". Nettavisen. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  45. ^ "- Arranger støttekonsert med Kyrkjebø". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  46. ^ Stein Østbø. "Odd og Sissel er årets julepar". VG. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  47. ^ "Ble tiårets bestselger på rekordtid". Aftenposten. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  48. ^ "Norge satser lavmælt under Verdensutstillingen". Aftenposten. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  49. ^ "Sissel mellom to permer". BA. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  50. ^ "- Det er både skid og godt". Side2. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  51. ^ "Den förtjusande Sissel Kyrkjebö är tillbaka.". Mynewsdesk. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  52. ^ Halstein Røyseland. "Stoltenberg: – En verdig, sterk og mektig minnestund". VG. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  53. ^ "Tårevått og vakkert farvel". BA. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  54. ^ Posten. "Musikk i et lite merke". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  55. ^ "Kvinnelige artister pryder høstens frimerker". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  56. ^ "Sissel gjør eksklusive konserter i Bergen". Bergens Tidende. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  57. ^ "- Nydelig å kunne synge i Johanneskirken". Bergens Tidende. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  58. ^ "Sissel Kyrkjebø gift for andre gang". VG. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  59. ^ "Derfor har Sissel Kyrkjeb holdt seg borte fra rampelyset de siste tre rene". Kjendis. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  60. ^ "– Jeg gleder meg alltid til å komme hjem". BA. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  61. ^ Sissel Kyrkjebø. "Gospeljul med Sissel". Bergens Tidende. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  62. ^ "Gullstrupen Sissel sang julen inn". Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  63. ^ "Fikk Dalai Lama-refs". Rana%20Blad. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  64. ^ "Rrt dronning Margrethe mtte trke en tre". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  65. ^ "Mario Frangoulis concert at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus on September 5". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  66. ^ "Suverene Sissel gir juleglede". Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  67. ^ Jørn Pettersen. "- Greit å ikke bli gjenkjent på gaten". VG. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  68. ^ Christopher Groux. "-'The Newsroom:' Free Stream Of Sissel's 'Shenandoah' From Charlie Skinner's Death Scene". Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  69. ^ "EDVARD HAGERUP GRIEG – SISSEL KYRKJEBO – Solveig's Song from "Peer Gynt"". YouTube. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  70. ^ "Sissels salige julelapskaus". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  71. ^ "- Jeg er ikke gravid". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  72. ^ "For lite Sissel – for mye stsj". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  73. ^ "Sissel stakk til skogs". VG. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  74. ^ "Sissel avlyser julekonsertene". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  75. ^ VG. "Sissel fikk hjelp av Plácido Domingo". Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  76. ^ Lars Geithe. "Sissel Kyrkjebø (sang)". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  77. ^ "ullensakerkulturhus: SISSEL KYRKJEBØ". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  78. ^ "Spellemannprisen 1986". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  79. ^ "Goodwill Ambassadors & Advocates: National". UNICEF. 7 November 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  80. ^ "- Dette er stort, sa ridder Sissel". Aftenposten. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  81. ^ [10][dead link]
  82. ^ "Spellemannprisen 2006". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  83. ^ [11][dead link]
  84. ^ [12][dead link]
  85. ^ VG. "Sissel Kyrkjebø nominert til årets Peer Gynt". Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  86. ^ Posten. "16. september 2011– Norsk populærmusikk III". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  87. ^ "År 2011 fond for Utøvende Kunstner" [Year 2011 Fund for Performing Artists] (PDF) (in Norwegian). Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  88. ^ "Kjendisekteparet gr hver sin vei". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  89. ^ "Sissel ble mamma for andre gang". VG. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 

External links[edit]