Malena Ernman
Malena Ernman
Malena Ernman at the Eurovision Song Contest 2009.
Background information
Birth name Sara Magdalena Ernman
Born November 4, 1970 (age 43)
Uppsala Municipality, Uppland County, Sweden
Genres Opera, Jazz, Baroque pop, Chanson, Cabaret
Occupation(s) Singer
Years active 1998 - present
Labels Roxy Recordings Stockholm
Website Official website

Sara Magdalena "Malena" Ernman (born November 4, 1970, Uppsala, Sweden) is a Swedish opera singer (coloratura mezzo-soprano). Ernman is a versatile artist in her field, who outside the world of opera and operettas also has performed chansons, cabaret, jazz, appeared in musicals and she is a performer who's declared that she's very much attracted to the attributes of varité theatre and small, intimate stage rooms. Ernman represented Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 in Moscow, Russia. Malena Ernman is a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Music.


Early life

Ernman spent her childhood and school years in Sandviken, a small town known in Sweden for producing many musical artists, mainly in jazz. Ernman was educated at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, the Music Conservatory in Orléans, France and at the school of the Royal Swedish Opera. Ernman is married to actor Svante Thunberg. They have two daughters, Greta and Beata.


Ernman has sung Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro (Staatsoper Berlin/Daniel Barenboim), Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia by Rossini (Staatsoper Berlin, Royal Opera Stockholm, Finnish National Opera), the title role in Carmen (Royal Opera Stockholm), Kaja in Sven-David Sandström’s Staden (Royal Opera Stockholm) and Zerlina in Don Giovanni (Staatsoper Berlin/Barenboim).

She has worked with René Jacobs in Berlin, Brussels, Innsbruck, Vienna and Paris in roles like Nerone in Agrippina, Roberto in Scarlatti’s Griselda, Diana in Cavalli’s La Calisto and Nerone in L'incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi. She sang Sesto in Handel’s Giulio Cesare at the Drottningholm Festival in 2001 and appeared at the Glyndebourne Festival singing Nancy in Albert Herring (summer 2002) and Orlovsky in Johann Strauß Die Fledermaus (summer 2003).

During the 2003/2004 season Ernman sang Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni at La Monnaie in Brussels and Lichas in Hercules with Les Arts Florissants and William Christie at the Aix-en-Provence Festival (also revived at Opéra National de Paris and at Wiener Festwochen). During the spring and summer of 2005, she created the title role in Boesmans’ Julie at la Monnaie, Wiener Festwochen and in Aix-en-Provence. The spring of 2006 included the title role of Dido and Aeneas (William Christie) in Vienna and Nerone in Agrippina at Oper Frankfurt. In 2006 she made her debut at the Salzburg Festival as Annio in La clemenza di Tito under the baton of Nikolaus Harnoncourt. In 2007 her engagements included Sesto in Giulio Cesare with René Jacobs in Vienna, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with Daniel Harding in Aix-en-Provence and Nerone in L'incoronazione di Poppea in Amsterdam. In 2008 she sang Angelina in La Cenerentola (Royal Swedish Opera) and Dido and Aeneas (William Christie/Opéra-Comique, Paris). Her 2009 engagements include Angelina in La Cenerentola (Oper Frankfurt and Swedish Royal Opera) and Dido in Dido and Aeneas (Christie/D Warner) in Vienna and Amsterdam.


On the concert platform Ernman’s appearances have included Mozart’s Waisenhausmesse (Salzburg Festspiele/Frans Brüggen), Berio’s Folksongs (Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Carlo Rizzi, Verbier Festival/Gustavo Dudamel), Fabian Müller’s Nachtgesänge (Tonhalleorchester Zürich/Zinman – world premiere) and Mozart’s Requiem in Minneapolis with Arnold Östman.

During the 2001/2002 season she could be heard in recital in Tokyo, Bach’s St. John Passion in Notre Dame de Paris (Ensemble Orchestral de Paris/John Nelson) and Mozart’s Requiem (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Barenbiom). In the 2004/2005 season she made her Wigmore Hall debut and appeared singing Sea Pictures in Trondheim and Berio’s Folksongs with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. At the 1999 Nobel Prize Award Ceremony Ernman performed as a soloist.

Ernman is today a highly renowned concert artist with concerts in Tokyo, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Paris, London and Los Angeles. She has performed with many notable conductors, including Marc Minkowski, Daniel Barenboim, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Phillip Herreweghe, René Jacobs and Sir Simon Rattle.

2009 Melodifestivalen and Eurovision

On November 28, 2008 it was announced that Ernman would enter Melodifestivalen 2009 for the Eurovision Song Contest 2009, with the song "La voix" written by Fredrik Kempe. On February 28, 2009 Ernman competed in the 4th semi-final of Melodifestivalen in Malmö and was announced as a finalist. She then went on to win the final on March 14 at the Globe Arena in Stockholm and to represent Sweden in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 in Moscow. Sweden was put into the first of two semifinals from which the songs would advance to the finals. At the end of SF1, Ernman emerged as a finalist. "La voix" was the first Swedish entry to contain a substantial amount of French lyrics, written by Ernman herself who speaks French fluently. Ernman revealed that the dress for her Eurovision performance cost 400,000 kronor (€37,471) and was made by designer Camilla Thulin. Singer Dea Norberg joined Ernman as one of the choirgirls. She qualified through the first semi final on May 12 to the final on May 16 where she finished 21st with 33 points.

Fantasifestivalen and North Vision Song Contest

Ernman participated in the first edition of Fantasifestivalen with her song "Tragedy". She failed to qualify for the final and ended 6th. She tried to represent Sweden again in the third edition with the song "One Step From Paradise". She qualified for the final and won the whole selection with 153 points. Therefore she represented Sweden at the North Vision Song Contest 3. The song had been one of the favourites to win the competition, and after qualifying from the semi-final, Ernman won the final with 194 points and receiving the maximum of 12 points from 7 countries.

In December 2013, it was announced that Ernman would be competing in Fantasifestivalen 07 to represent Sweden in the North Vision Song Contest again. On 31 January 2014, Ernman won with "Perdus" and was therefore announced as the Swedish representative for North Vision Song Contest 7.


Studio albums

Year Album Peak positions Certification
2000 Naïve
2001 Cabaret Songs
2003 Songs in Season
My Low
2009 La Voix du Nord 1
2010 Santa Lucia – En Klassisk Jul (Christmas album)
2011 Opera di Fiori


Year Single Chart positions Album
2009 "La Voix" 2 - - 19 9 - 20 138 La Voix du Nord
2010 "Min plats på jorden" - - - - - - - -
2013 "Tragedy" - 86 - - - - - -
2013 "One Step From Paradise" - 3 19 - 2 12 - -
2014 "Perdus" - 6 - - - - - -


  • Die Fledermaus (Glyndebourne Festival Opera)
  • Julie (Boesmans)
  • Hercules (William Christie)
  • Dido and Aeneas (William Christie)
  • La Cenerentola (Stockholm)
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