Ever since Irja Auroora´s debut concert in Helsinki, Finland, at 20 years of age, reviews abroad and at home have described her jugendlich dramatic soprano voice as beautiful and versatile while praising her musical interpretation. Irja Auroora was born in Northern Finland, where she initially studied piano. When a student at the Turku Conservatory she sang with the Turku Philharmonic conducted by the legendary Paavo Berglund.
At the age of 17 she participated in a singing competition in Turku and was awarded the 1st prize. As a teenager she also participated in the Scandinavian Competition in Bergen, Norway, and in the Lappeenranta Competition in Finland and was awarded the second prize in both.
The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture gave her full scholarships for two consecutive years for her studies in Vienna. Before going to Vienna to complete diploma studies in opera, Lied and oratorio at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, she sang a successful debut concert in Helsinki. For the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE she recorded Fiordiligi in Mozart’s COSI FAN TUTTE singing with Jorma Hynninen and Kim Borg. As a student Irja Auroora also appeared on Austrian television in Heinz Fischer-Karwin´s program IHR AUFTRITT, BITTE.
Her studies in Lied repertory were with Kammersänger Anton Dermota in Wien and with Professor Lore Ficher in Stuttgart. She studied voice with Kammersängerin Maria Sandulesco in Bremen, Professor Vera Rosza in London and Hildegund Lohmann in Wiesbaden. Italian opera repertoire she studied in Rome with Maestro Luigi Ricci.
Irja Auroora made her professional operatic debut at the age of 22 as Micaëla in CARMEN (with Mingon Dunn and Sandor Konya) in the production of the Finnish National Opera at the Helsinki Opera Festival 1971. After that she was engaged as a permanent member of the ensemble of the Staatstheater Darmstadt in Germany, singing there, among other roles, Fiordiligi (COSI FAN TUTTE) and Marenka (THE BARTERED BRIDE). After Darmstadt, she joined the ensemble of the Theater der Freien Hansestadt Bremen, singing there numerous opera roles including those of Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Giordano, Wagner and Janáček. At the Bremer Festliche Opernabende in Bremen she appeared as the TROVATORE Leonora with Fiorenza Cossotto and Juan Lloverras.
In the 100th anniversary of the RING cycle in Bayreuth, in 1976, she sang Gutrune in GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG conducted by Pierre Boulez and directed by Patrice Chéreau. Previously she sang there Ortlinde in WALKÜRE and Blumenmädchen in PARSIFAL conducted by Horst Stein and directed by Wolfgang Wagner.
The Finnish National Opera cast her to sing Tatyana in Tchaikovsky´s EUGENE ONEGIN, in 1984, and for Anna in Sallinen´s RATSUMIES (The Horseman), 1987. Auroora has also made guest appearances e.g. in opera houses of Dortmund, St. Gallen and Saarbrücken singing there Gutrune in Wagner´s GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG and the title role in ARABELLA of Strauss among others.
Irja Auroora has worked with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Horst Stein, Gerd Albrecht, Marek Janowsky, Wolfgang Gönnenwein, Christof Perick, Paavo Berglund, Leif Segerstam, Ulf Söderblom, Okko Kamu, Osmo Vänskä, Eri Klas and Sergiu Comissiona.
She has sung as a soloist in many remarkable orchestra concerts. At the Salzburg Festival she appeared with the ORF Radio-Symfonieorchester Wien under the baton of Gerd Albrecht in Honegger´s JEANNE d´ARC. She has also appeared at the Ludwigsburger Schlosssfestspiele in Stuttgart with the Orchester der Ludwigsburger Festspiele under the baton of Wolfgang Gönnenwein. At the Saint -Denis Festival in Paris and in Bremen with the Bremer Philharmonie, in Ludwigshaven with the Sinfonieorchster der Stadt Ludwigshaven and at other European music centers, she has sung as a soloist in concerts including performances of Beethoven´s MISSA SOLEMNIS and Britten´s WAR REQUIEM. The Finnish Radio Orchestra and the Helsinki Philharmonic invited her to sing as a soloist in Helsinki in Verdi´s REQUIEM, Klami´s PSALMUS, Mahler´s 4th SYMPHONY, Górecki´s AD MATREM and Merikanto´s ELINAN SURMA (Elina´s Death) among others. Finland´s other leading symphony orchestras, e.g. the Turku Philharmonic, the Oulu Sinfonia and the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, have also invited her to sing in their concerts.
Irja Auroora is a recognized recitalist. The great Finnish pianist Pentti Koskimies was her accompanist since her debut concert until his death. Lied CDs she has made for the labels Fuga (ENCHANTMENT of SINGING, 2004) and Fg-Naxos (Solo CD of Irja Auroora, 1991) with pianist Ilkka Paananen. Auroora has given Lied recitals in Helsinki, also for the Helsinki Festival and Turku Festivals, as well as throughout Finland. For the Finnish, German (NDR) and Swedish (Riksradion) Broadcasting companys she has sung Lied recordings and live studio concerts.