Icelandic tenor Kristján Jóhannsson has established himself as the a leading dramatic tenor of our time with his mesmerizing performances of Italian and French opera. His strong, secure and vibrant singing has made him especially popular in Verdi, Puccini and the verismo operas, as well as in heroic French roles. He
has been hailed for his singing at the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Baltimore Opera, the Teatro alla Scala,Teatro dell Opera Roma, Maggio Musicale Firenze, Teatro San Carlo Napoli, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Arena di Verona, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg and Frankfurt, Carnegie Hall New York, Seuol Korea, Peking new national opera, Tokyo, Zurick, Swiss, Bologna, Firenze, Berlin, Hamburg, Munchen, Frankfurt, Paris, Telaviv, Warschow Polland, Zagreb..
Born in Akureyri, Iceland to a musical family, Mr. Jóhannsson did not begin his musical studies until he was twenty years old, working at first at the College of Music in his native city with Sigurdur Demetz. He then went to live in Italy to pursue additional vocal training, attending the Conservatorio Nicolini in Piacenza under the guidance of M° Gianni Poggi, and later taking further private study from the renowned coach Ettore Campogalliani and from the legandary tenor Ferruccio Tagliavini, establishing a firm knowledge and command of true Italian style.
Kristján Jóhannsson made his operatic debut 1980 at the Osimo Teatro Piccola la Fenice in Puccini´s Il Tabarro og Gianni Schicchi and quickly attracted the attention of major opera houses in Great Britain and Italy. In Milan, he auditioned for Gianandrea Gavazzeni, who for many years had been music director at that city's fabled La Scala, and made his debut there under the baton of the venerable Maestro in Verdi's I DUE FOSCARI in 1988, returning there frequently,for roles including among others Cilea's ADRIANA LECOUVREUR starring Mirella Freni, THE FLYING DUTCHMAN conducted by Riccardo Muti, and Manon Lescaut. His debut with the Lyric Opera
of Chicago took place in 1989 in TOSCA, and he has returned frequently to this theater to sing in MEFISTOFELE, TURANDOT, AIDA, UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, and ANDREA CHENIER. Vienna first heard him in TOSCA in 1991, and he has appeared there frequently in subsequent seasons in MANON LESCAUT, ANDREA CHENIER, AIDA and IL TROVATORE. His Metopolitan Opera debut took place in 1993 as Manrico in IL TROVATORE, and he has returned to the Met each following season, first for Turiddu in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA, as Radamčs in AIDA, and in the Met "Opera in the Parks" special outdoor concert performances of AIDA in 1996, and as Gustavo in UN BALLO IN MASCHERA , Calaf in TURANDOT and Cavaradossi in TOSCA. His Royal Opera House, Covent Garden debut was in AIDA in 1994.
The 1997-98 season continues the rapid upward swing of the vivacious tenor's career, with important performances in major opera houses around the world, a prominent AIDS Gala concert in Berlin. Mr. Jóhannsson begins the season with performances of TURANDOT at the Met, during which he also sings for an AIDS Gala on Nov. 1 at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. With one of his best-loved roles, Calaf in TURANDOT he returns to Vienna in November and December. 1998 he starts with new productions of LA GIOCONDA in Genova in March and April and with AIDA at the State Opera of Dresden, after which the tenor sings special guest performances of OTELLO in Georgia, C.I.S. The Deutsche Oper welcomes him back for another signature role, IL TROVATORE, in the spring of 1998, and in July Kristján Jóhannsson returns to the Opernhaus Zürich for a new production of the dramatic, crowd-pleasing Puccini opera LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST. Immediately Zürich he appeared at La Scala in Milan with MANON LESCAUT.
In the 1998/99 season Kristjan Johannsson appeared in the TURANDOT production with the Teatro Comunale Firenze under the baton of M° Zubin Mehta in Peking, at Munich's State Opera with his debut as "Adorno"/SIMONE BOCCANEGRA and with TROVATORE performances. He returned at Vienna's State Opera with TROVATORE and OTELLO, to Hamburg's State Opera with CAVALLERIA/PAGLIACCI, TURANDOT and OTELLO and sang at Zurich's Opera House in the revival of FANCIULLA DEL WEST. This season also included the new production of SAMSON ET DALILA (his debut) in Venice. He ended this season by singing AIDA´s Radames in the summerfestival in Arena di Verona and TURANDOT in Torre del Lago.
Johannsson started his 1999/2000 season with his acclaimed Radames in AIDA in Wien Staatsoper, going on to Met singin Calaf in TURANDOT. Again Mr. Jóhannsson appeared as Calaf in Turadot in Warsaw, Poland. He started the new millennium with a consert in Iceland , that included the famous popstar Bjork. The second half of the season he appeared in Budapest singing TROVATORE and OTELLO, returned to Berlin for LA GIOCONDA, wich he did as well in teatro Carlo Felice Genova. Again Mr. Jóhannsson appeared as Radames in Aida in Cairo Egypt where he performed in The Pyramid production.
The 2000/2001 season started as so many seasons before in Wien with TROVATORE, returning to the Met singing this time Cavaradossi in TOSCA, he did TROVATORE both in Berlin and Frankfurt that season and returned again to Wien with his Turiddu in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA, wich he did as well in Hamburg but singing there PAGLIACCI as well. He debuted in Athens singing in AIDA and ended the season in Arena di Verona singing same opera.
2001/2002 season was a busy season for Johannsson including among others AIDA both in Wien and Genf, in Milwaukee there was a Gala performance of TOSCA ín honour of 15 years since Johannsson's debut there. He did his debut in CARMEN in Tel Aviv, repeted the role of Don José later that season in Tokyo. and he took his Radames to Catania. Then he performed Otello in Wien, Cavalleria/Pagliacci in San Carlo Napoli and again in Tokyo mr. Johannsson did Otello in the new national Opera Tokyo. Then he performed in Otello and Il Trovatore in Frankfurt at Verdi's birthday celebration festival. In Munchen with maestro Zubin Metha mr. Johannsson appeared in Simon Boccanegra and Il Trovatore. Then he did a concert in Bejing with the National Symphony of China. Again he appeared as Radames in The Pyramid production of Aida in Cairo, Egypt.
2002/2003 season Mr. Johannsson performed in Cavalleria/Pagliacci in San Carlo Napoli and again in Catanzaro. Then he did Cavalleria/Pagliacci in Teatro Verdi in Trieste. Then he appeared in Aida as Radames in Zagabria (Zagreb) in Croatia. Mr. Johannsson performed Radames in Aida in Bejing with the National Symphony of China.
2003/2004 season Mr. Johannsson appeared in the infamous opera Carmen at the new national Opera Tokyo. Once again he appeared as Radames in The Pyramid production of Aida in Cairo, Egypt. Then he performed in Andrea Chenier in Teatro Communale Bologna. In Teatro Filarmonico Verona Johannsson performed in Norma (Bellini). Then he appeared as Don José in Carmen at the opera festival in Avanghes, Switzerland. He appeared in Turandot in Solothurn in Switzerland and at the Art festival in Split performing Norma and Aida.
2008/2009 season Mr. Johannsson performed in Cavalleria/Pagliacci in The Icelandic Opera.
Kristján Jóhannsson's repertoire encompasses all of the major Italian roles including Verdi's OTELLO, ERNANI, RIGOLETTO, LA TRAVIATA, IL TROVATORE, UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, SIMON BOCCANEGRA, LA FORZA DEL DESTINO, DON CARLO and AIDA,PUCCINI'S MANON LESCAUT, LA BOHEME, TOSCA, MADAMA BUTTERFLY, LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST, IL TABARRO and TURANDOT and such verismo works as Catalani's LA WALLY, Cilea's ADRIANA LECOUVREUR, Giordano's FEDORA and ANDREA CHENIER. Mascagni's CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA and Leoncavallo's PAGLIACCI, ZAZA and LA BOHEME. In the fall of 1996, he sang his first OTELLO in Bologna. In june 2001 he sang the titel role in the worlld premier of DAVIDE RE by Vitalini in Tearo Massimo in Palermo and in the beginning of 2002 he made his debut in Bizet´s Carmen in Tel Aviv.