Having won several major international singing competitions, Kirsi Tiihonen was soon acknowledged as one of the most interesting dramatic sopranos in Europe.
In 2005 the Finnish artist celebrated her debut at La Scala in Milan performing Elisabeth under the baton of Jeffrey Tate. The same year she had her Richard Strauss debut as Ariadne (Ariadne auf Naxos) at the Lyon Opera. Her second Strauss role, Die Färberin (Die Frau ohne Schatten) in Helsinki received international critical acclaim. In autumn of 2006, Kirsi further interpreted the role of Die Färberin at the Essen Aalto Opera under maestro Stefan Soltezs and performed Isolde at Théatre de la Monnaie in Brussels.
Kirsi Tiihonen began her career at the Finnish National Opera, singing Elisabetta (Don Carlo), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Leonore (Fidelio) and Desdemona (Otello), and subsequently was invited to return as a regular guest. During 1997-99, she debuted at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in the roles of Elisabeth (Tannhäuser) and Aida, followed by Senta (Der fliegende Holländer) and Venus/Elisabeth. In 2000, she added Sieglinde (Die Walküre) and Gutrune (Götterdämmerung) to her repertoire, singing with the Berlin State Opera on their tour of Japan and under the baton of Daniel Barenboim. In the following seasons, she debuted the role of Amelia (Un ballo in maschera) at the Royal Danish Opera and Isolde (Tristan und Isolde) at Gothenburg Opera. In her 2003/04 season, Kirsi sang Leonore (Fidelio) at the Komische Oper Berlin and the role of Riitta (The Last Temptations) by Joonas Kokkonen, performed at both, Tampere Opera and the Prague Spring Festival.
Other highlights of Kirsi Tiihonen’s international career include Isolde at Leipzig Opera, Santiago de Chile and with the Norwegian Opera’s tour to Madrid, Leonore for the Palm Beach Opera and Berlin State Opera, Agathe (Der Freischütz) in Helsinki, Senta in the Philipp Stölzl production of Der fliegende Holländer at the Basel Opera as well as Brünnhilde (Siegfried) in Essen.
In 2009 Tiihonen debuted as Elsa (Lohengrin) at Tampere Opera and returned to Helsinki to perform the role of Ellen Orford (Peter Grimes). Her most recent performances include Sieglinde (Die Walküre) at the Finnish National Opera, her debut as Kostelnicka in Janacek’s Jenufa at Malmö Opera in Sweden and Isolde at the Pablo Casals Festival in Puerto Rico. This season, Tiihonen sings in the Patrick Chereau production of Elektra, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen at the Finnish National Opera.
In addition to her opera career, Kirsi Tiihonen has appeared as a concert singer at most major concert halls in Europe - the Philharmonic of St Petersburg, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam with Ingo Metzmacher, the BBC Proms in Royal Albert Hall in London with Maestro Osmo Vänskä and the Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy, to name a few. She has also sung under the conductors Mark Wigglesworth, Paavo Berglund, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and their contemporaries.