Robin Johannsen


"To soprano Robin Johannsen, the Israelitish Woman, were handed the most extensive runs and coloratura, which she handled with ease while also spinning fine legato phrases in arias such as ‘Come, ever smiling liberty.”"

Michael Zwieback, San Francisco Classical Voice

"She shone with gallant, graceful vehemence in the rapid, wailing rage of ‘Se giunge un dispetto’ from Agrippina."

Jens Klier, Bachtrack

"The revelation was American soprano Robin Johannsen, superbly agile and fresh-sounding—but also expressive—in Clio’s taxing music."

David Shengold, Opera News

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American soprano Robin Johannsen is known for her virtuosity, energy, agility, endurance, and above all for her scintillating coloratura. Her career began when she joined the ensemble at Deutsche Oper Berlin singing roles such as Susanna Le nozze di Figaro, Norina Don Pasquale, Oscar Un ballo in maschera, and Soeur Constance Les dialogues des Carmélites.

Elsewhere on the operatic stage she has appeared at Theater an der Wien, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Athens’ Megaron, Staatsoper Berlin, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Semperoper Dresden, Teatro Regio Torino, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Oper Frankfurt, Vlaamse Opera, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Komische Oper Berlin, Oper Leipzig and Bayreuth Festival in roles including Marzelline Beethoven’s Leonore, Konstanze Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Fiordiligi Così fan tutte, the title role of Telemann’s Emma und Eginhard, and Adina L’elisir d’amore.

Robin has a special affinity for the Baroque and Classical repertoires and has close working relationships with

René Jacobs and the Freiburger Barockorchester and is a frequent guest with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, La Cetra Basel, the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart, Concerto Köln, Kammerakademie Potsdam, La Folia Barockorchester, and Belgium’s B’Rock. She has also collaborated with conductors such as David Afkham, Marin Alsop, Jonathan Cohen, Teodor Currentzis, Ottavio Dantone, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Thomas Hengelbrock, Philippe Herreweghe, Manfred Honeck, Philippe Jordan, Ton Koopman, Antonello Manacorda, Alessandro De Marchi, Andrea Marcon, Hans-Christoph Rademann and Christian Thielemann.

Recent highlights have included a new production of Vivaldi’s Il Giustino at the Berliner Staatsoper under René Jacobs, Haydn’s Schöpfung with Philippe Herreweghe and the Concertgebouworkest, Messiah with Dresdner Philharmonie under H.C. Rademann, Queen of Sheba in Handel’s Solomon with the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under Robin Ticciati and performances with Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society under Jonathan Cohen.

Robin has worked with some of the finest orchestras around the world and in some of the most prestigious festivals, performing at venues such as the Berliner Philharmonie, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Essen Philharmonie, Gasteig Munich, Konzerthaus Berlin, Paris Philharmonie, the Vatican, Salzburg’s Mozarteum and Groβes Festspielhaus, Tonhalle Zürich, Elbphilharmonie, the Wiener Musikverein and Santa Cecilia in Rome.

In the United States, Robin has appeared with the Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Dallas, and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras as well as with the Handel & Haydn Society, Musica Angelica, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. She has also performed at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Philadelphia Kimmel Center, Carnegie Hall, Cincinnati Music Hall, and the Oregon Bach Festival.

Robin has built up an impressive discography, including Die Entführung aus dem Serail under Réné Jacobs for Harmonia Mundi for which she was awarded an Edison Classical Music Award for her performance as Konstanze. In May 2014, Sony Classical (dhm) released Robin’s first solo disc, “In dolce amore,” a world premiere recording of baroque arias and cantatas by Antonio Caldara, conducted by Alessandro De Marchi. Her latest release includes Mozart in Milan: Exsultate jubilate (Arcana) with Carlo Vistoli and Giulio Prandi. Other recordings include Bach’s B Minor Mass under René Jacobs (harmonia mundi), Telemann’s Miriways with Akamus (Pentatone), Beethoven’s Leonore with FBO and René Jacobs (harmonia mundi), a DVD of the Berliner Staatsoper’s King Arthur with Akamus (Naxos), Telemann Cantatas with Concerto Melante (dhm/Sony), the title role in Vinci’s Didone Abbandonata with the Lautten Compagney (dhm/Sony), and Handel’s Parnasso in festa with Andrea Marcon and La Cetra Basel (Pentatone).

This season includes returns to Boston with the Handel & Haydn Society under Jonathan Cohen, a solo programme with the Freiburger Barockorchester under Kristian Bezuidenhout and a staged production of Graupner’s Dido, Königin von Carthago at the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music under Andrea Marcon. Robin also looks forward to debuts with Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, the National Symphony Orchestra under Laurence Equilbey (Kennedy Center - Messiah), and Les Violons du Roy under Jonathan Cohen (Montreal and Quebec) in Vivaldi’s La Senna festeggiante.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

CD Review: Mozart in Milan

Giulio Prandi conductor / Robin Johannsen soprano / Carlo Vistoli countertenor / Coro e Orchestra Ghislieri / Arcana Records A 538

The motet [Exsultate, jubilate] is here sung by the US soprano, Robin Johannsen. Charles Burney’s description of Rauzzini as having a ‘sweet and extensive voice, a rapid brilliance of execution great expression and an exquisite and judicious taste’ might easily have been tailored to Johannsen’s performance, which is, quite simply, one of the very best of this frequently performed showpiece I have heard. The ability to cope with the bravura writing of the opening aria and concluding ‘Alleluja’ are not so uncommon, but what is rare is the care and insight Johannsen brings to colouring the text. One example must suffice; the final line of the second, lyrical aria concludes with a perfectly executed trill on the final word ‘cor’, which the singer allows to swell slightly, thus bringing added fervour to the final plea – ‘console our feelings from which our hearts sigh’.

Brian Robins, Early Music Review

Exsultate, jubilate was composed for 27-year-old castrato soprano Venanzio Rauzzini, who also performed the leading male role in Mozart's early opera Lucio Silla. Here, it's sung by Robin Johannsen, an American soprano whose European career has included stints with René Jacobs and the Freiburger Barockorchester as well as the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. Johannsen's technique is astounding—her high C rivals that of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Her voice is energetic, forthright, beautiful. This "historically informed" performance, with Giulio Prandi and the Coro e Orchestra Ghislieri, his award-winning ensemble, highlights instrumental lines and colors not often heard.

Jason Victor Serinus, Stereophile

Haydn's Creation

Concertgebouw Orkest/Phillipe Herreweghe / Amsterdam, Lucerne, Cologne, August 2022

"Die Sopranistin Robin Johannsen führt ihre Stimme locker durch die schnellen Passagen und in die Höhe. Klanglich elegant und entspannt."

"The Soprano Robin Johannsen leads her voice easily through the fast passages and at the top. Her tone is elegant and relaxed."

Roman Kühne, Luzerner Zeitung

"soprano Robin Johannsen ... optimally cast"

Peter van der Lint, Trouw

CD: Bach's Mass in B Minor with René Jacobs and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

Harmonia Mundi 2022

Robin Johannsen has an established reputation as an interpreter of Baroque repertoire, and her Dominus Deus with Sebastian Kohlhepp is brisk, airily articulated and evenly balanced.

Nicholas Anderson, BBC Music Magazine

Telemann's Miriways, Pentatone

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Bernard Labadie (released May 2020)

In the trouser role of Sophie, Robin Johannsen is also heroic, but finds a touching wistfulness in the aria that concludes the second act.

Richard Lawrence, Gramophone

Beethoven's Leonore, Harmonia Mundi

Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Rene Jacobs (released November 2019)

Johannsen enjoys herself with Marzelline’s florid part – in this 1805 version she is effectively promoted to the role of co-principal with Leonore.

Mike Ashman, Gramophone, February 2020

Robin Johannsen’s Marzelline is a joy, sung with purity of tone and encompassing both shrewish delight in her exchanges with Jacquino and winning warmth in her infatuation with the disguised Leonore.

Brian Robins, Opera, DISC OF THE MONTH

Handel's Judas Maccabeus

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (December 2019)

… splendidly matched by soprano Robin Johannsen, whose Israelitish Woman offered a wealth of pointed, crystalline singing. The Act 2 aria ‘From mighty kings he took the spoil,’ a virtuoso display of technical prowess and expressive specificity, was only one delight among many.

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

To soprano Robin Johannsen, the Israelitish Woman, were handed the most extensive runs and coloratura, which she handled with ease while also spinning fine legato phrases in arias such as ‘Come, ever smiling liberty.’

Michael Zwieback, San Francisco Classical Voice

While the gentlemen were superb, it was the ladies — radiant soprano Robin Johannsen as the Israelitish Woman and velvety mezzo-soprano Sara Couden as the Israelitish Man — who performed the main heavy lifting among the principals. The two characters function as high- profile everyday Israeli figures.

With a pleasantly soft, clear voice and honeyed textures, Johannsen was sublime in her Act 1 air ‘Pious orgies, pious airs,’ ‘O liberty, thou choicest treasure,’ and ‘Come ever-smiling liberty’ and she had more gems in store, including the Act 2 air ‘From mighty kings’ and her Act 3 air ‘So shall the lute and harp awake.’

James Ambroff-Tahan, San Francisco Examiner

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