Johanna Rusanen has evolved to one of the most interesing Finnish dramatic sopranos of her generation. Her incredible vocal flexibility and strong singing technique allow her to interpret heroines of the German, as well as the Italian or Finnish opera literature. She made her debut as Venus (Tannhäuser) at the Tampere Opera in March 2012, produced by stage director Vilppu Kiljunen. Soon after that she sang the lead role Old Aliide in the world premiere of Purge by the Estonian composer Jüri Reinvere, based on the bestselling novel of Sofi Oksanen.
Her next role debut was Turandot at the Finnish National Opera in 2013, followed by another Turandot with Maestro Pinchas Steinberg at the Teatro Regio in Turin in February 2014. She interpreted Tosca at the Savonlinna Opera Festival and Leonora (La forza del destino) in Tampere Opera in 2015 as well as her first Ortrud in Wagners Lohengrin at the Teatro Municipal in Sao Paulo. She celebrated her debut as Isolde in early spring 2016 at the Finnish National Opera, the same opera house that will see her first Brünnhilde in 2019.
Johanna Rusanen was born into a family of musicians in Kuopio, Finland. Having received her Masters degree in Music at the Sibelius Academy under the guidance of the well known wagnerian soprano Anita Välkki, Johanna completed her studies in Berlin and Vienna and was a member of the young artist program at Deutsche Oper Berlin for two years.
Her major roles include Tatjana in Eugen Onegin, Marie in Wozzeck, Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, Mimì in La Bohème, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Margarethe in Faust, Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte, First Woman in Kokkonen’s The Last Temptations and Anja in Merikanto’s Juha. In recent years, Johanna Rusanen has won particular acclaim for her portrayals of strong women in Finnish operas, her best known performances being Riitta in The Last Temptations in Nivala (2009), Anna in Sallinen’s Ratsumies at the Savonlinna Opera Festival (2005-2006) and Aalo in The Wolf’s Bride by Pylkkänen in Helsinki (2006).
Johanna has performed as an oratorio soloist and has given lieder recitals in numerous European countries as well as in Japan, Chile, the United States and North Korea. The soprano part of the Kullervo Symphony by Jean Sibelius has become one of her trademark pieces. She has recently performed in Kullervo, at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago alongside her brother, baritone Ville Rusanen and at the BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sakari Oramo.