Since making her debut with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker as Fricka in the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence's production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, Wagnerian roles have become central to Lilli Paasikivi's work on stage. House debuts have included La Monnaie (as Brangäne), Hamburgische Staatsoper (as Fricka) and Oper Frankfurt (as Kundry).
This season, Lilli Paasikivi performs the role of Gaea in Daphne under Susanna Malkki at the Helsinki Festival. Concert performances include Verdi’s Requiem with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hannu Lintu, Sibelius’ Kullervo at the Konzerthaus Berlin under Pietari Inkinen, Kindertotenlieder with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra under Marc Soustrot and the Orchestre National de Bordeaux under Paul Daniel, Das Lied von der Erde with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao under Günter Neuhold and Prokofiev’s Ivan the Terrible with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy, which will accompany a screening of Eisenstein’s epic film.
Lilli Paasikivi’s roles at Finnish National Opera have included Carmen, Amneris, Genevieve and Waltraute. Other appearances have included her debut at Opéra National de Lyon as Der Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos) and the world premiere of Toshio Hosokawa's opera Hanjo - based on the novel by Yukio Mishima - at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. Most recently she made her debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra with Das Lied von der Erde (Sir Mark Elder).
Key to Lilli Paasikivi's concert repertoire are the Mahler song cycles and symphonies. Notable appearances have included Das Lied von der Erde and Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Esa-Pekka Salonen); Das Lied von der Erde with Sydney Symphony (Ashkenazy); Symphony No.2 with the Royal Swedish Philharmonic Orchestra (Sakari Oramo); Symphony No.3 with the London Symphony Orchestra (Paavo Järvi) and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (David Zinman); Symphony No.8 with the Berliner Philharmoniker (Sir Simon Rattle); Kindertotenlieder with the New World Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas) and Das Klagende Lied with Philharmoniker Hamburg (Simone Young). She made her debut with the New York Philharmonic in the world-premiere of Rodion Shchedrin's The Enchanted Wanderer returning for Mahler’s Symphony No.2 (Alan Gilbert). Other appearances include at the BBC Proms with Sibelius' The Tempest, (Osmo Vänskä), Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao in Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder (Günter Neuhold) and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in Schumann’s Faust Szenen (Christopher Hogwood).
Paasikivi's celebrated work on disc includes The Dream of Gerontius (under Vladimir Ashkenazy); Beethoven's Symphony No.9 with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig (under Riccardo Chailly for Decca); Mahler’s Symphony No.3 with the Philharmonia Orchestra (under Benjamin Zander for Telarc); Mahler’s Symphony No.8 with the London Symphony Orchestra (under Valery Gergiev for LSO Live); Sibelius’ Kullervo (under Osmo Vänskä for BIS); Sibelius’ Maiden in the Tower (under Paavo Järvi for Virgin/EMI); Alma Mahler’s Complete Songs (with Jorma Panula for Ondine) and Stravinsky’s Mavra with the Gothenburg Symphony (under Peter Eötvös).
Lilli Paasikivi curates the Pyhäniemi Festival in Finland. In August 2013 she takes over the position of Artistic Director of Finnish National Opera.