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Tarja Turunen

Tarja Soile Susanna Turunen Cabuli (born August 17, 1977), sometimes referred to as Tarja Turunen or simply Tarja, is a Finnish singer-songwriter and composer. She is a full lyric soprano and has a vocal range of three octaves.
Turunen studied singing at Sibelius Academy and Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe. She is well known as a professional classical lied singer but best known as the former lead vocalist of the Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, which she founded with Tuomas Holopainen and Erno Vuorinen in 1996.
Their combination of hard and fast guitar riffs with Turunen's classical lead vocals quickly achieved critical and commercial popularity. Their symphonic metal style, soon dubbed "opera metal", inspired many other metal bands and singers.
Turunen was dismissed from the band on October 21, 2005 for personal reasons. She started her solo career in 2006 with the release of a Christmas album called Henkäys Ikuisuudesta. In 2007, Turunen released My Winter Storm, an album featuring various styles, including alternative rock and symphonic metal and started the Storm World Tour. Turunen released her third album, What Lies Beneath, in 2010.She performed several concerts in Europe, playing in metal festivals including the Graspop Metal Meeting and the Wacken Open Air, before starting the What Lies Beneath World Tour, which lasted until April 8, 2012.
Tarja's first live DVD Act I was filmed during this tour on March 30 and March 31, 2012 in Rosario, Argentina. Act I was released on August 24, 2012.

Tarja Turunen was born in the small village of Puhos, near Kitee, Finland. She has an older brother, Timo, and a younger brother, Toni. Her mother Marjatta Turunen worked in the town administration, and her father Teuvo Turunen is a carpenter. Her talent for music was first noted when she sang the song "Enkeli taivaan" (the Finnish version of "From Heaven Above to Earth I Come") in the Kitee church hall at age three. She joined the church choir and started taking vocal lessons. At age six, she started playing piano.
At comprehensive school, Turunen performed as a singer for several projects. Her first piano teacher Kirsti Nortia-Holopainen, Nightwish founder Tuomas Holopainen's mother, remembered that, "Tarja was in a school that had some very musical people. Even then she got to perform a lot. I think she sang in every school function there was." Her music teacher, Plamen Dimov, later explained that, "If you gave Tarja just one note, she immediately got it. With the others, you'd have to practice three, four, five times". At school she had a tough time, since some girls bullied her because they envied her voice. To solve that problem, Dimov organized projects outside school. At fifteen, Turunen had her first major appearance as a soloist at a church concert in front of a thousand listeners. In 1993 she attended the Senior Secondary School of Art and Music in Savonlinna.
For several years Turunen performed various songs including soul music by Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin. Later she listened to songs from the classical crossover singer Sarah Brightman, especially the song "The Phantom of the Opera", and decided to focus on that genre of music. At eighteen, she moved to Kuopio to study at the Sibelius Academy.
In December 1996, former classmate Tuomas Holopainen invited Turunen to join his new acoustic mood music project, and she immediately agreed. At the recording session for the first demo Holopainen discovered that due to her classical singing lessons, Turunen's voice had become much more powerful than he recalled from their school days. At the following band practices, Emppu Vuorinen used an electric guitar instead of an acoustic guitar because he felt that it gave a better accompaniment to her voice. Holopainen later explained that the band members had gradually realised that Turunen's voice had become too dramatic for acoustic mood music and eventually came to the conclusion that the music had to be massive too. Hence Holopainen decided to form Nightwish as a metal band.
Nightwish recorded a second demo with "more bombastic, dramatic" songs in September 1997. Holopainen used this material to convince the Finnish label Spinefarm Records to publish the band's debut album, Angels Fall First. The success of the first album came as a surprise to the label. As the album hit the top 40 of the Finnish charts, Nightwish started their tour The First Tour of the Angels. That same year, Turunen performed at the Savonlinna Opera Festival for the first time, singing songs from Wagner and Verdi. 
Due to her commitment to the band, Turunen was not able to concentrate sufficiently on her schoolwork and her academic studies were interrupted. In 1998, Nightwish published their second album, Oceanborn. This album lacked the earlier elements of folk and ambient music, and instead focused on fast, melodic keyboard and guitar lines and Turunen's dramatic voice. In addition to the Oceanborn Europe Tour (1999), Turunen sang solo in Waltari's rock-themed ballet Evankeliumi (also known as Evangelicum) in several sold-out performances at the Finnish National Opera. In 2000 and 2001, Nightwish recorded Wishmaster and Over the Hills and Far Away and toured Europe and South America (the Wishmaster World Tour). During the Wishmaster World Tour, Turunen met Argentine businessman Marcelo Cabuli whom she married in 2003.
Turunen enrolled in 2000 at the German music university Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe to gain a professional qualification as a soloist with further specialization in art song. In addition to the good reputation of the university, Turunen chose to go to Karlsruhe because some people at the Finnish university did not take her seriously as a classical singer due to her commitment in a metal band. While there, she recorded vocals for Nightwish's 2002 album Century Child and for Beto Vázquez Infinity. As with the other albums, Holopainen wrote the pieces and sent Turunen the lyrics and a demo recording of the prerecorded instrumental tracks by mail. Using the demo, Turunen designed her vocal lines and the choral passages.
In 2002, Turunen toured South America, performing in the classical Lied concert Noche Escandinava (Scandinavian Night) to sold-out houses. Following this and an exhausting world tour in support of Century Child (the World Tour of the Century), Nightwish took a hiatus and Turunen returned to Karlsruhe to finish her studies. After the hiatus Nightwish recorded the album Once; it was released on May 10, 2004. The album has sold platinum in Finland and Germany and was the best selling album in all of Europe in July 2004. The band performed in the supporting Once Upon a Tour throughout 2004 and 2005.
For Christmas 2004, Turunen released her first solo single, titled "Yhden Enkelin Unelma" (One Angel's Dream), which sold gold in her native country of Finland. At Christmas 2005 it made a reentry at position one in the Finnish Charts. In spring 2005 she prepared the duet "Leaving You for Me", a collaboration with Martin Kesici, accompanied by a video.
The first change in the line up of Nightwish was in September 2001, when bassist Sami Vänskä was fired because Holopainen was no longer able to continue working with him. In the following years the relationship between Holopainen and Turunen's husband and manager Marcelo Cabuli deteriorated. This had an impact on the relationship between Holopainen and Turunen as well. At a band meeting after the concert in Oberhausen in December 2004 Turunen announced to the band members that she wanted to leave the band, but agreed to record one more album and to participate in the subsequent tour, planned for 2006/2007. According to her husband, Turunen had further agreed not to make her decision public and to release her first solo album after the new studio album from Nightwish. After the last concert of the Once Upon a Tour on October 21, 2005 (which was released on video as End of an Era), Holopainen gave Turunen a letter signed by himself and the other band members informing her that the band did not want to work with her any more. The open letter was simultaneously published on the band's website. The media closely covered her very public separation from Nightwish, and due to references in the letter to diva-like behaviour and to greed, even Turunen's character became the subject of media discussions.
To you, unfortunately, business, money, and things that have nothing to do with those emotions have become much more important.
– Tuomas Holopainen in the open letter
Turunen responded through an open letter on her website and through some interviews in which she explained her view. She was upset that after nine years of working together, Holopainen had announced the separation via an open letter. Because of the continuing media interest, Marcelo Cabuli posted a message addressing the situation on the website in February 2006. He asked that anyone who had questions should email him. In June 2006, Cabuli posted a lengthy reply to many of the questions he had received. He answered questions related to the greed accusation by explaining that the band had agreed on the distribution of earnings in a contract at the formation of Nightwish. Based on that contract, every band member got a fixed share of 20% of the band's income. Marcelo Cabuli stated that, unlike others, Turunen had never fought for additional songwriter royalties.
For sure in her case, money is not coming first in her book of life. [...] If we would check which band member earns a lot more money than any other one in the band, you should be surprised.
– Marcelo Cabuli
Despite the circumstances of the separation, Holopainen's appreciation of Turunen as an artist remained. He explained that he did not search for a similarly trained singer as a successor for Turunen because he considers her to be extraordinarily good in her genre and therefore irreplaceable. Turunen said in an interview that she is very proud of her career with Nightwish. She considers the remaining band members extremely talented and wishes all the best for them and their subsequent lead singer Anette Olzon.
Between 1997 and 2005 she had toured the world with Nightwish, playing on all the continents except Africa and Antarctica. She performed live for more than 500,000 people.
At the end of 2005, Turunen performed several classical concerts in Finland, Germany, Spain, and Romania. Since she expected to participate in another Nightwish album, several concerts and the release of her Christmas album Henkäys Ikuisuudesta (officially translated as Breath From Heaven) were the only activities scheduled for 2006. Turunen again played at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in July 2006, this time as the main act; she sang alongside Finnish tenor Raimo Sirkiä, supported by the Kuopio Symphonic Orchestra. Turunen performed classical arias like "O mio babbino caro" by Puccini, "Libiamo ne' lieti calici" by Verdi and some songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber – "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and "Phantom of the Opera"– among other songs. In November she performed at the charity concert “Tomorrow's Child” with the Tapiola Choir as a benefit for the UNICEF Children's Fund. On December 6, 2006, Turunen performed a big concert at the Sibelius Hall in Lahti, Finland; it was broadcast live by the Finnish channel YLE TV2 for 450,000 viewers. She was nominated for the Finnish Emma Award as Best Soloist of 2006. The following year, Turunen recorded vocals for the track "In The Picture" on the Nuclear Blast All-stars album Into the Light.
In August 2006 she started to work on her next solo album, My Winter Storm, the beginning of her main solo project. It was the first time that Turunen had written songs. She was supported by some professional songwriters. The choir and orchestral arrangements were written by film music composer James Dooley. Turunen released My Winter Storm, an album featuring various styles, including symphonic metal with classical “operatic” lead vocals, in November 2007. The album took the number one spot on the Finnish charts, and went platinum in Finland double platinum in Russia and gold in Germany. 
She was nominated for an Echo as best newcomer and an Emma for best Finnish artist. On November 25, 2007, Turunen embarked on the Storm World Tour to promote My Winter Storm. She performed 95 concerts throughout Europe, North and South America and ended the tour in October 2009 at the O2 Academy Islington in London. In December 2008, the EP The Seer was released in the UK and the new extended edition of My Winter Storm released on January 2, 2009.
She also contributed three songs to the Finnish charity Christmas album Maailman kauneimmat joululaulut (Finnish for "The World's Most Beautiful Christmas Songs") released on November 18, 2009. In December 2009 she recorded her vocal part for the song "The Good Die Young", a duet with Klaus Meine which is included on the final Scorpions album Sting in the Tail.
Turunen recorded her third album, What Lies Beneath, in 2009 and 2010; it was released on September 1, 2010. The album combined metal with classical “operatic” elements in an out of the box approach. She started the What Lies Beneath World Tour performing in several festivals, including the Wacken Open Air and the Graspop Metal Meeting, with special concerts at Miskolc Opera Festival and at the Masters of Rock, when she performed accompanied by a full orchestra. The tour is scheduled to last until April 2012. Also in 2010 she supported Alice Cooper on the German leg of his Theatre of Death Tour. On July 17, 2011, she sang again at the Savonlinna Opera Festival along with José Cura and accompanied by the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra.

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