The Norwegian soprano Mari Eriksmoen was best friends with Ina Kringlebotn, who died this week of brain cancer, at the age of 32, leaving a four month-old baby daughter. We asked Mari to share some memories of Ina. Here is what she writes:
It’s hard to imagine the future without Ina. We met when we were 14 years old. Ina was already a star where we lived in Ski, Norway. Everybody were talking about the girl with the fantastic voice. Ina was one of a kind. Spirited, energetic, bright, edgy, generous, sharp as a knife and warm as a summer day. She was well-known for her brilliant sense of humour.
Ina was always clear about what she wanted in life… who she wanted to be. She knew which people she wanted to keep close, and we who were lucky to be a part of her life, were blessed. She was the reason I started to sing opera. I played the violin in the orchestra when she was singing Susanna’s aria at the age of 16. She was always so clear about which direction she wanted to go, and I was so inspired by her strength and her fire.
We went to the same schools, from secondary school, the Norwegian Academy of Music and at the opera academy in Copenhagen, where Ina was the youngest student they had ever admitted. She was 25 when she joined the ensemble at the Komische Oper Berlin, where she sang big parts like Rusalka, Eva in Die Meistersinger (at the age of 26), Agathe in Der Freischütz and Michaela in Carmen to mention but a few.
She had a bright future ahead, and she was just starting to sing Wagner. Her voice and stage presence was magical. She always said, that if she had touched just one in the audience that evening, she was happy. That was the reason she sang.
I learned so much from Ina. She is still my inspiration and I am forever grateful to have had her in my life. She was my soulmate and my best friend and I will miss her every day for the rest of my life. From now on I will sing for the both of us.
(c) Mari Eriksmoen/Slipped Disc