Tarja Turunen Turunen began to study music at age six, and moved to the city of Kitee at 18 to study at the Sibelius Academy. She became a founding member of Nightwish in 1996 when her classmate Tuomas Holopainen invited her to join his new musical project. That year Turunen also performed with the Savonlinna Opera Festival. However, she did not become internationally famous until the release of Nightwish's successful follow-up album, Oceanborn, in 1998.
Turunen sang solo in Waltari's rock-themed 1999 ballet Evankeliumi (also known as Evangelicum) in several sold-out performances at the Finnish National Opera. She continued to tour and record with Nightwish through 2000 and 2001, after which she enrolled in the Music University in Karlsruhe, Germany. While there, she recorded vocals for Nightwish's 2002 album Century Child and Argentinian bassist Beto Vazquez's internationally successful album Infinity.
In 2002, Turunen toured South America, performing in the classical Lied concert Noche Escandinava (Scandinavian Night), again to sold-out houses. Following this and an exhausting world tour in support of Century Child, Nightwish took a hiatus and Turunen returned to Karlsruhe.
She secretly married the Argentinian businessman Marcelo Cabuli in early 2003.
Finnish President Tarja Halonen and her husband invited Turunen to the President's Palace in Helsinki in December 2003 for the Finnish Independence Day Party, Finland's biggest social event, where the viewers of Finnish television station Yle named her the most impressively dressed lady, among honors given by several newspapers and magazines.
After the hiatus, Turunen rejoined Nightwish for the album Once and supporting world tour throughout 2004-2005, and embarked on a second Noche Escandinava tour in the spring of 2004. For Christmas 2004, she released the single Yhden Enkelin Unelma (One Angel's Dream), which sold gold in her native country, Finland. For the spring of 2005, she prepared a collaboration with Germany's Martin Kesici, the duet Leaving You for Me, also accompanied by a video. On October 21, 2005, Turunen was asked to leave Nightwish in an open letter by the other members of Nightwish , over a dispute that involved "a changed attitude" and increased financial interest. She responded through another open letter, which was posted on her website in both Finnish and English .
In December of 2005, she performed several Christmas concerts in Finland, Germany, Spain and Romania. 2006 will not be a break year for Turunen, who will be recording a Christmas album and vocals for her brother, Teo Turunen's debut album. She will also be making an appearance at the Savonlinna Opera Festival.