The German-Finnish baritone Jukka Rasilainen regularly appears at almost all of the world’s great opera houses including the state operas of Vienna, Berlin and Munich, in Zurich, at the Bastille in Paris, the Teatro Real in Madrid, as well as in Tokyo and Buenos Aires. He maintains a close affiliation with the Semperoper in Dresden. His brilliant interpretations have thrilled audiences at numerous productions of the Bayreuth Festival and the Savonlinna Opera Festival.
He has worked with stage directors such as Ruth Berghaus, Götz Friedrich, Christoph Schlingensief, Peter Sellars and Robert Wilson, and has sung under great conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Andris Nelsons, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Christian Thielemann and Franz Welser-Möst.
Important for his career was his work on various Ring cycles, with, among others, Götz Friedrich in Helsinki, Robert Wilson in Zurich and Paris, Keith Warner in Tokyo and Willy Decker in Dresden. He also sang in Valentina Carrasco’s Ring in Buenos Aires and appeared in Peter Sellars’ and Bill Viola’s Tristan Project under the musical direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen since 2005.
He quickly became a regular guest at the Bayreuth Festival after making his debut there in 2005 in the title role of Der fliegende Holländer. In 2006 and 2007 he appeared as Amfortas in Christoph Schlingensief’s Parsifal. From 2008 to 2012 he was Kurwenal in Christoph Marthaler’s production of Tristan und Isolde, and in 2011 and 2015 he sang the role of Telramund in the so-called “rat production” of Lohengrin directed by Hans Neuenfels. In addition, since 2012 he has appeared regularly in the performances of Bayreuth’s series of operas for children.
Rasilainen regularly performs in his home country. Since 1987 he has sung at the Finnish National Opera roles like Wotan, Walker, Jago in Otello, Scarpia in Tosca, Barak in Die Frau ohne Schatten and Escamillo in Carmen and at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, where his roles have included the Dutchman, Tonio in I Pagliacci, Amonasro in Aida, Kurwenal and Scarpia.
Recent engagements include Telramund in Copenhagen, Kurwenal in Naples under the baton of Zubin Mehta, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle in Montpellier, Wotan at Tokyo’s New National Theater, in Taichung directed by La Fura dels Baus and with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra Tokyo, Walker in Wiesbaden, Forester in The cunning little vixen in Dresden and the Dutchman in Poland and Seoul, as well as Kullervo at the Edinburgh International Festival. He appeared again in Taichung, Helsinki and Vienna and added new roles to his repertoire: Klingsor, Landgraf, Biterolf and Alberich in the complete Ring.
Jukka Rasilainen can be heard in numerous radio broadcasts and has appeared in a number of DVDs, for example as Kurwenal and Telramund in Bayreuth Festival productions from 2009 and 2011, as the Forester in the Opera Bastille’s production of The cunning little vixen of 2008, and as Wotan in the Colón-Ring production of 2012 in Buenos Aires. Furthermore, he can also be enjoyed in the DVD productions of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Tristan und Isolde, Lohengrin, Parsifal, Der fliegende Holländer, Tannhäuser as well as Der Ring des Nibelungen produced by the Bayreuth Festival as part of their series of operas for children.
Jukka Rasilainen was tutored by Tina Scapini-Rella in Rome and studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He also was a member at the International Opera Studio in Zurich. A pivotal stage of his career was his work at Dresden’s Semperoper, where he has appeared in many roles from Mozart to Wagner and where he was given the honorary title of Kammersänger.
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