Anja Silja was born 1940 in Berlin. Only 16 years old, she debuted as Rosina in Rossini‘s ’Il barbiere di Siviglia’ at the Staatstheater Braunschweig, followed by involvements in productions in Stuttgart and Frankfurt as well as the Vienna State Opera and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. She began singing mostly the Mozart repertoire, but then changed to the dramatic genre and sang parts such as Santuzza (‘Cavalleria Rusticana’), Leonora (‘La forza del destino’) or Turandot.
In 1960 she began her international career at the Bayreuth Festival with the role of Senta in Wagner’s ‘Der fliegende Holländer’. Further central Wagner roles followed, such as Elsa (‘Lohengrin’), Elisabeth and Venus (‘Tannhäuser’), Eva (‘Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’), Brünnhilde (‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’) and Isolde. Her wide-ranging repertoire covers roles such as Salome and Herodias (‘Salome’), Elektra and Klytämnestra (‘Elektra’), Amme (‘Die Frau ohne Schatten’), Lulu, Marie (‘Wozzeck’) or Leonore (‘Fidelio’).
In later years Anja Silja directed her interest towards Leoš Janácek’s operas and celebrated great success. Several recordings document Anja Silja’s career, leading her to all the great stages of the world. She most recently performed in the premiere of HK Gruber’s ‘Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald’ at the Bregenz Festival and the Theater an der Wien as well as in Arnold Schöberg’s ‘Gurreliedern’ in the Elbphilharmonie with Kent Nagano.