Joanna Ruszala, M.M.

Faculty Artist; Co-Director Artist Diploma in Voice (Graduate)

A native of Poland and a citizen of the U.S., opera singer Joanna Ruszala has won international competitions and performed soprano roles such as Violetta in "La Traviata," Mimi in "La Boheme," Marguerite in "Faust," Liu in "Turandot," Micaela in "Carmen" and Aida in "Aida."

She made her American debut as Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni" at the Arbor Opera Theater in Michigan. Most recently, she appeared in Verdi’s "Aida" with Teatro Lirico di Europa, singing the title role. In addition, she made her debut with the New York City Opera in the production of Telemann's "Orpheus," where The New York Times named her “The Winning Soprano.” She is equally at home on the European stages of the Polish National Radio Orchestra, Silesian Philharmonic and Varna State Opera of Bulgaria—where she made her European debut singing Gilda in Verdi’s "Rigoletto"—as she is with the American venues of Tulsa Opera and South Texas Lyric Opera.

Enjoying diversity in music, she performed numerous oratorios and masses such as Mozart’s "C Major" and "C Minor Mass," Mendelsohn’s "Elijah" and "Lobgesang," Villa-Lobos’ "Bachianas Brasileiras" as well as Respighi’s "Il Tramonto" with the world renown Silesian String Quartet. She is passionate about her native Polish music. She specializes in the works of Chopin, Paderewski and Szymanowski, and toured Lithuania, Ukraine, Italy and Czechia promoting this music. She is in the process of completing the project “The Polish Art Song Anthology for American Singers” with her husband, Piotr Wisniewski, who serves as head of music staff, pianist, conductor and chorus master at Lyric Opera of Kansas City. 

She is the winner of the 8th International Ada Sari Competition of Vocal Arts in Nowy Sacz (Poland), where she won a special prize for Outstanding Soprano; The Duszniki Zdrój Vocal Competition (Poland) and Katowice Vocal Competition (Poland) where she received a special prize from the Artistic Director of the Silesian Philharmonic; the Bain’s Scholarship for Outstanding Opera Singers from Indiana University Jacob School of Music; and the Kosciuszko Foundation’s Scholarship in New York.

Apart from her career as a performer, she has worked as a professor of voice for the past 11 seasons with the Opera Maya International Music Festival in Mexico as well as with The International Music Festival AIMS in Graz/Austria. Recently she has worked as movement/acting teacher and stage director for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City Resident Artists Program. She worked as voice clinician and masterclass teacher in various universities in the U.S. and Poland.

Ruszala is an active voice teacher, leading the Bel Canto private voice studio where students have won international awards such as the District Metropolitan Opera Competition and Ezio Pinza Scholarship for American Singers, and gained admittance to top graduate schools including Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Some of her students are leading a successful operatic careers singing on the international opera stages.

Her musical education began in her native Poland where she received the bachelor of music degree from Karol Szymanowski School of Music in Rzeszow/Poland and a master of music from Silesian University Karol Szymanowski School of Music in Katowice, where upon her graduation, she became a professor of voice and served for five years. Sje continued her musical education at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where she received a Performer Diploma in Voice accompanied by a Performer’s Certificate in recognition of outstanding musical performance in Voice.

Throughout her education and operatic career, she mastered her vocal skills with Henryka Januszewska (Poland), Helena Lazarska (Austria), Chrstian Elsner (Germany), Kaludi Kaludov (Bulgaria), Katia Ricciarelli (Italy), Virginia Zeani (USA), Teresa Kubiak (USA) and Carol Vaness (USA).


  • Karol Szymanowski School of Music
  • Silesian University Karol Szymanowski School of Music