Karita Mattila is internationally renowned as one of the world's foremost sopranos, and she has headlined at venues as prestigious as the Metropolitan Opera Theatre and Carnegie Hall. However, this month she has chosen to reunite with an orchestra from her homeland, Finland, to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival.
For Mattila, it will be a joy to reunite with a company with whom she has not worked for some time. "I love them," she exclaims, "I know so many of the players, so it's going to be very special. I'm just so happy to perform with them." It seems that the soprano has more than just respect for the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, it is unabashed love. Similarly, there seems to be a buzz about the singer when she speaks of the festival: "I'm extremely excited because it has been a while since I performed there last, so I'm very happy to come back after all these years."
Tonight's performance comprises four pieces, and the choice of music was a collaborative effort, as she explains: "Sakari [Oramo, the conductor] wanted to know what I would like to sing, and we had a few options. Everything that I had suggested I really wanted to sing, and these Slavic roles are my favourites."
The greatest challenge for Mattila is the difficulty of putting the appropriate emotional force into Tatiana's letter scene from Eugene Onegin. "I've never sung it in concert, so it will be exciting to see if I can infuse it with intimacy. I just hope that we will be successful in creating an operatic atmosphere without the operatic stage."
However, this performance is far from the end of Mattila's schedule this season, as she looks forward to concerts worldwide: "Firstly, there's the revival of Salome, which I did for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera Theatre four years ago. I will also be coming back to London soon."
Tonight, 8pm (0131-473 2000)