The German-Finnish baritone Jukka Rasilainen regularly appears at all of the world’s great opera houses including the state operas of Vienna and Berlin, in Munich and 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.
In addition to his richly expressive voice, well-known stage directors are inspired by Rasilainen’s acting skills and his reinterpretations of great masterpieces. He has previously worked with Ruth Berghaus (Scarpia / Tosca), Götz Friedrich (Ring), Christoph Schlingensief (Parsifal), Peter Sellars (Tristan) and Robert Wilson (Ring), and has sung under such great conductors as Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Andris Nelsons, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Christian Thielemann and Franz Welser-Möst.
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 was given the honorary title of “Chamber Singer” and where he has appeared in diverse roles from Mozart to Wagner.
He quickly became a regular guest at the Bayreuth Festival after making his debut there in 2005 in the title role of “The Flying Dutchman”. In 2006 and 2007 he appeared as Amfortas in Christoph Schlingensief’s “Parsifal”. From 2008 to 2012 he was Kurwenal in the production of “Tristan und Isolde” by Christoph Marthaler, and in 2011 and 2015 he sang the role of Telramund in the so-called “rat production” of “Lohengrin” by Hans Neuenfels. In addition, since 2012 he has appeared regularly in the performances of Bayreuth’s series of operas for children.
Other important milestones have been his work on various “Ring” cycles, such as with 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.
Rasilainen regularly performs in his home country. Since 1987 he has sung at the Finnish National Opera roles like Wotan, Walker, Jago, Scarpia, Barak and Escamillo and at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, where his roles have included the Dutchman, Tonio (Pagliacci), Amonasro (Aida), Kurwenal (Tristan und Isolde) and Scarpia (Tosca).
2015-2019 his engagements included Telramund at the Bayreuth Festival and in Copenhagen, Kurwenal in Naples under the baton of Zubin Mehta, Bluebeard in Montpellier, Wotan at Tokyo’s New National Theater, in Taichung (stage La Fura dels Baus) and with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra Tokyo, Walker in Wiesbaden, Forester in Dresden and the Dutchman in Poland and Seoul, as well as Kullervo at the Edinburgh International Festival. He also sang again in Helsinki, Vienna, Bayreuth and Dresden and started with new roles like Klingsor, Landgrave, Biterolf and Alberich in the complete "Ring-Cycle". Next special projects are the new "Ring of the Nibelung" as Alberich in Helsinki with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and a world creation opera by Kaija Saariaho in Aix-en-Provence, Amsterdam and Helsinki.
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 “Meistersinger von Nürnberg”, “Tristan und Isolde”, “Lohengrin”, “Parsifal”, “The Flying Dutchman”, “Tannhäuser” and “Der Ring des Nibelungen” produced by the Bayreuth Festival as part of their series of operas for children.