Dramatic soprano Johanna Rusanen-Kartano is a graduate of the Sibelius Academy with a master’s degree in music. In addition, she has complemented her studies in Berlin and Vienna.
Rusanen-Kartano won the Timo Mustakallio song contest in 1995 and the Lappeenranta national song contest in 1996. In 1997 she received the Martti Talvela scholarship, she was awarded a scholarship to the Deutsche Oper in Berlin for the period 1998–2000. Johanna Rusanen-Kartano was awarded the Karita Mattila prize in 2001.
Rusanen-Kartano debuted at the Finnish National Opera and at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in 1997. She has also performed at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in a production by the Savonlinna Opera Festival, at the Teatro Regio in Turin and at the Teatro Municipal de São Paulo, as well as at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein. Her main roles are from Puccini’s Tosca and Turandot, as Leonora in Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, as Ortrud in Wagner’s Lohengrin, and as Isolde in Tannhäuser’s Tristan and Isolde.
In addition to domestic music festivals, Rusanen-Kartano has performed at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, the Beethoven Festival in Warsaw and the Krzysztof Penderecki Festival, as well as at the London BBC Proms Festival.
Her roles during 2017–2018 included among others Louche in the world premiere of Müller-Berghaus’s opera Die Kalewainen in Pochjola at Logomo in Turku, the roles of Ida Lankinen and Kitty Linder in Kantelinen’s opera Mannerheim at the Ilmajoki Music Festival, the role of the mother in Sallinen’s opera Kullervo at the Savonlinna Opera Festival and the female lead role Sopano in Iiro Rantala’s opera Pikaparantola.
Rusanen-Kartano was awarded a Grammy in 2017 for the recording Penderecki Conducts Penderecki, which was produced by the label Warner Classics.
Rusanen-Kartano is also known for not shying away from combining different musical genres. She has performed to a considerable degree with Finnish jazz musicians such as Iiro Rantala and Lenni-Kalle Taipale. She had a joint tour in the early 2000s with the legendary Kari Tapio. She has also sung with the bands Leningrad Cowboys and Waltari. The latest of such performances she did with Tony Kakko from the band Sonata Arctica in the Sonata Sinfonica spectacle at the Oulu ice stadium in September 2018.