Tarja Soile Susanna Turunen-Cabuli (born 17 August 1977), known professionally as Tarja Turunen or simply Tarja, is a Finnish heavy metal singer-songwriter. She is a soprano with a three and a half octave range.
Turunen studied singing at Sibelius Academy and Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe. She is a professional classical lied singer, and the former lead vocalist of the Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, which she founded with Tuomas Holopainen and Emppu Vuorinen in 1996. Their combination of hard and fast guitar riffs with Turunen’s dramatic, “operatic” lead vocals quickly achieved critical and commercial popularity. Their symphonic metal style, soon dubbed “opera metal”, inspired many other metal bands and performers.
Turunen was dismissed from the band on 21 October 2005 (just after the performance of the band’s End of an Era concert) 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 symphonic metal, and started the Storm World Tour. She performed several concerts in Europe, playing in metal festivals including the Graspop Metal Meeting and the Wacken Open Air, before releasing her third album, What Lies Beneath, supported by a tour, which lasted until April 2012.
Her first live DVD Act I was filmed during this tour on 30 and 31 March 2012 in Rosario, Argentina. Act I was released in August 2012. Turunen started the Colours in the Dark World Tour in October 2013 to promote her new album Colours in the Dark. Her second live DVD was filmed during the events of Beauty and the Beat and was released in May.
In September 2015, Tarja Turunen released her first classical studio album, Ave Maria – En Plein Air. In August 2016 she released The Shadow Self with a prequel EP The Brightest Void released on 3 June. Her latest album In the Raw, was released on 30 August 2019.
From Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a Dark Christmas) is the second classical and Christmas album, and the seventh studio album released by the Finnish soprano Tarja Turunen.
On the 22 September 2017, earMUSIC released a video announcing the existence of the album. A music video was released on the 6th of October, with Tarja singing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”.
With the album release comes also Tarja Turunen’s first graphic novel, From Spirits and Ghosts (Novel for a Dark Christmas). The 40-page novel is about the world of dark Christmas scripted by Peter Rogers with accompanying art by Conor Boyle. The “novel for a dark Christmas” revolves around Tarja’s two characters, the dark and light one, bringing together lonely souls during the festive season.
The album has been critically acclaimed by critics and fans alike, who have noted the dark twist Turunen achieved on the album and the combination of different languages; however, critics have commented that the album will be largely forgotten after the Christmas holidays.
The album was re-released in November 6, 2020, the reissue includes 3 versions in alternative languages plus the collaboration with Tarja´s friends Cristina Scabbia, Doro Pesch, Elize Ryd, Floor Jansen, Hansi Kürsch, Joe Lynn Turner, Marco Saaresto, Michael Monroe, Sharon Den Adel, Simone Simons, Timo Kotipelto and Tony Kakko for the beloved “Feliz Navidad”. Further to the additional studio recordings, the reissue comes with the previously unreleased live album “Christmas Together: Live at Olomouc and Hradec Králové 2019”
The album includes 11 Christmas classics combined with darker gothic influences. Utilizing the sound of a grand orchestra, traditional songs such as “O Tannenbaum”, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “Feliz Navidad” are included. Besides covering classic carols, “From Spirits and Ghosts” also features a 12th track, the original track “Together”. This song continues the dark sound of the album and embodies the theme of ghosts and mysticism throughout.
On December 8, Tarja released a second, “charity” version of “Feliz Navidad” as a way to help raise funds for Barbuda, an island that was severely damaged by Hurricane Irma. The track features guest vocals by Doro Pesch, Michael Monroe, Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Marko Saaresto (Poets of the Fall), Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius), Simone Simons (Epica), Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian) and Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation).(wikipedia)
While Finnish vocalist and songwriter Tarja Turunen is well known for wedding the operatic to symphonic metal, she forgoes the latter entirely on From Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a Dark Christmas). Recorded during the summer of 2017 in the Caribbean, mixed in Texas, and mastered in New York, the set includes 11 classic carols and other songs associated with the season as well as a new track recorded in the same manner. Turunen produced the collection with the American, Emmy Award-winning film score composer Jim Dooley — who also handled arrangements — and British producer Tim Palmer (Pearl Jam, David Bowie, U2, the Cure, et. al).
Though Turunen’s voice is characteristically crystalline, the gothic orchestral treatments of the traditional holiday material, beginning with downright spooky album-opener “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” are sometimes akin to the gloomy and monumental atmospheres created by Dead Can Dance. This feel saturates other tunes here such as the heartbreakingly lovely “Pie Jesu,” the wildly dramatic “O Tannenbaum,” and amazingly enough, the album’s greatest surprise “Feliz Navidad.” The melancholy in the relatively sparse charts on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” creates an even greater sense of intimacy, while closer “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is drenched in echo and electronics aside a celeste and chamber instruments, creating an eerie feel to send the album off. “Together,” the lone new track, is a bittersweet seasonal song with Turunen fronting a full chorus, as triangles, swelling strings, and tympanis fill up the space behind and around her — it’s as lovely as it is sad. The outlier is the hymn “Amazing Grace,” stitched together with pulsing synths, low-end brass, and reverb before the entire orchestra floods the foreground. Somehow Turunen’s aesthetic principles shoehorns the tune to fit seamlessly into the mix. Given the absence of metal on Spirits and Ghosts, it will be interesting to see how it sits with her legions of fans. For the rest of us, however, this is a gorgeous left-field addition to the Christmas canon. (by Thom Jurek)
Jim Dooley (James) (keyboards)
Peter Gregson (cello)
Tarja Turunen (vocals, keyboards)
Naomi Eerika Alexia Cabuli Turunen (vocals on 04.)
01. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Neale) 4.57
02. Together (T.Turunen) 3.21
03. We Three Kings (Hopkins) 3.54
04. Deck The Halls (Oliphant/Thomas/Talhaiarn) 2.45
05. Pie Jesu (Webber) 3.28
06. Amazing Grace (Newton) 4.43
07. O Tannenbaum (Anschütz/Franck) 3.38
08. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Martin/Blane) 3.40
09. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Traditional) 4.14
10. Feliz Navidad (Feliciano) 5.49
11. What Child Is This (Dix) 4.56
12. We Wish You A Merry Christmas (Traditional) 4.07