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 began her career as a young artist with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, after which she joined Oper Leipzig. Robin has gone on to establish an international career both on the opera stage and in concert with a special affinity for the Baroque and Classical repertoires.

Robin has appeared at Theater an der Wien, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Athens’ Megaron, Staatsoper Berlin, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Teatro Regio Torino, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Oper Frankfurt, Vlaamse Opera, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Komische Oper Berlin, and Bayreuth Festival, where roles have included Susanna Le nozze di Figaro, Norina Don Pasquale, Oscar Un ballo in maschera, Venere/Giuturna Amor vien dal destino, title role Almira, Soeur Constance Les dialogues des Carmélites, 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.

She has a close working relationship 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 Marin Alsop, Teodor Currentzis, Ottavio Dantone, Antonello Manacorda, Andrea Marcon, Alessandro De Marchi, Raphaël Pichon, Jérémie Rhorer, Thomas Hengelbrock, Philippe Herreweghe, Christian Thielemann, Manfred Honeck, Daniel Reuss, Ton Koopman, Nicholas McGegan, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and Philippe Jordan.

Robin’s numerous concert engagements have included performances with the Dresden Philharmonic, OSESP São Paolo, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Ensemble Pygmalion, Academy of Ancient Music, RIAS Kammerchor, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, NDR Hannover, Helsinki Philharmonic and Singapore Symphony, as well as at the Berliner Philharmonie, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Essen Philharmonie, Gasteig Munich, Konzerthaus Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Paris Philharmonie, the Vatican, Salzburg’s Mozarteum and Groβes Festspielhaus, Tonhalle Zürich, Elbphilharmonie, the Wiener Musikverein and Santa Cecilia in Rome.

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

Her ever-growing discography includes recent additions of 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). She was awarded an Edison Classical Music Award for her performance as Konstanze Die Entführung aus dem Serail under René Jacobs for harmonia mundi. 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.

Recent highlights include debuts with Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Haydn’s Schöpfung (Manfred Honeck), Brahms Requiem with the Mozarteum Orchestra under Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and Mozart’s Requiem with Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century (Daniel Reuss), radio and television broadcasts of St. John’s Passion with the Bach Netherlands Society, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and a CD recording for Harmonia Mundi with RIAS Kammerchor.

Future projects include Fiordiligi Così fan tutte for Opera Vlaanderen with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Trevor Pinnock, a new production of Vivaldi’s Il Giustino at the Berliner Staatsoper under René Jacobs, Angelica in Orlando Paladino with the Kammerorchester Basel, the Fairy Queen with Concentus Musicus Wien under Stefan Gottfried, Haydn’s Schöpfung with Philippe Herreweghe and the Concertgebouworkest, Bach’s B Minor Mass with Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España (David Afkham), as well as tours and concerts with RIAS Kammerchor and the Freiburger Barockorchester.

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

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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