Music / Tarja Turunen

Tarja Soile Susanna Turunen-Cabuli (born August 17, 1977), generally known as Tarja Turunen or simply Tarja, is a Finnish singer-songwriter. She is a soprano and has a vocal range of three octaves.

She's best known as the former lead singer of the Finnish Symphonic Power Metal band Nightwish. In 2005, she left the band after receiving an open letter, leading to a public back-and-forth volley between her and the rest of the band. The letter claimed that she had missed too many rehearsals and that her husband influenced her behavior, though she vehemently denies these claims. Both she and her husband have since talked about their side of the story.

Her first solo album, Henkäys Ikuisuudesta, was released in 2006.

Tarja has the unusual distinction of being a female soprano singer for a metal band. Her voice alone led to Nightwish being labeled as "opera metal". "Female-fronted metal" has become a subgenre in part due to the success of Nightwish.

Finnish President Tarja Halonen called her "the voice of Finland". She is well-known across Europe and has a small yet devoted following in North America.


With Nightwish

  • 1996 - Angels Fall First
  • 1998 - Oceanborn
  • 2000 - Wishmaster
  • 2001 - Over The Hills And Far Away (EP)
  • 2002 - Century Child
  • 2004 - Once


  • 2006 - Henkäys Ikuisuudesta (Only available in Finland)
  • 2007 - My Winter Storm
  • 2010 - What Lies Beneath
  • 2011 - Live At Sibelius Hall (with Harus) — this is a classical album, not metal.
  • 2013 - Colours In The Dark
  • 2016 - The Shadow Self
  • 2017 - From Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a Dark Christmas) - An atmospheric/classical Christmas album with a couple of original songs.

Notable Collaborations

Tarja shows examples of:

  • Cover Version: "Walking in the Air" in Henkäys Ikuisuudesta, "Poison", in My Winter Storm and "Still Of The Night", as a bonus of What Lies Beneath. She also sung "Signos" and "Desarma y Sangra" in live concerts.
    • Tarja performs a lot of covers live, ranging from classical pieces to 80's rock medleys and even some Nightwish songs as a Call-Back to her former band.
  • Genre-Busting: While generally Symphonic Metal, Tarja's solo material shows aplenty of influences from Classical Music, Alternative Metal, Arena Rock, Prog, Pop, Psychedelic Rock, Industrial and even Ambient. Colours in the Dark is especially prominent in its experimental nature.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language:
    • "Montañas De Silencio" is sung in Spanish.
    • Most of Henkäys Ikuisuudesta is sung in Finnish. She sings a gorgeous version of "Ave Maria" on this album in German.
    • "Mystique Voyage" is in *four* different languages.
    • On From Spirits and Ghosts, Tarja sings "O Tannenbaum" in the original German, and one verse of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" in Latin.
  • Lighter and Softer: "Underneath", "I Feel Immortal", and "Calling Grace" from her solo albums. Live At Sibelius Hall has her singing classical music.
  • One-Woman Wail: Quite possibly the world grandmistress of this, with classical operatic vocalizations a common feature of her songs.
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: It was nigh-impossible early in her career to figure out what she was singing. She got better about that.
  • Supergroup: So far, you have Mike Terrana, Kiko Loureiro, Max Lilja and van Canto accompanying her.
  • Take That!: Tarja responded to her former band's personal attacks in Dark Passion Play with "Enough", which accuses Tuomas Holopainen of being a prima donna who choked her with darkness and couldn't comprehend that her love for her husband Marcelo Cabuli is genuine. They've reconciled somewhat since then: Tarja has spoken approvingly of her replacement Anette Olzon's performances and is friends with Anette's replacement Floor Jansen (which dates to Floor's time with After Forever), and has had guest appearances in her solo career by Floor and, in 2017, by Marco Hietala.
  • Winter Royal Lady: In the cover art of My Winter Storm.
  • Woman in White: The cover art for From Spirits and Ghosts has Tarja's skin painted stark white, save for bright red lips; the music videos for the album (e.g. "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel") have even her hair and clothes white.

Alternative Title(s): Tarja