Toril Carlsen began her professional career early and was hired as a soloist at the Norwegian Opera and Ballet in 1979, 21 years old. The Norwegian Opera was her main venue for over 30 years, in addition to guest performances at several other opera houses. Her repertoire includes opera, church music, romances and contemporary music.
Toril Carlsen graduated from the National Academy of Opera, studying under Jartrud Ringdal, Ingrid Bjoner, Jenö Sipos and Eva Blahová.
Over the span of her career, primarily at the Norwegian Opera in Oslo, Toril Carlsen has sung over 75 highly diverse roles, and this versatility has been her hallmark. She has performed as a soloist with Norway’s various symphony orchestras, sung at the district operas and held concerts all over Norway. She has also performed and held concerts throughout Europe, and was for example under contract as a guest performer at the Staatsoper in Berlin. She has premiered Norwegian music, whether opera or chamber music, and has made several recordings. Toril Carlsen has also received numerous awards.