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Joanna Ruszala
Soprano & Stage Presence Workshop

Teaching Philosophy
As a voice teacher, it is my responsibility to aid singers in their effort to make the music and the text come alive. They would achieve that through building solid vocal technique, executing the proper diction in various languages, and developing strong artistry and musicianship. My main role is to recognize and nourish the talent I am working with, adjust my teaching method to his or her mental sharpness, instinct, and intellect, and help to build the daily vocal routine, enhance the confidence in interpretation and establish the admiration and love of sharing the music in the life performances in variety of forms and places.

 The main blocks of my approach in teaching operating singing are:

  • building proper understanding of voice as an instrument (establishing the vocal alphabet (passagio, appogio, head voice etc.) and the vocal technique through multiple exercises and methods,
  • assigning the proper repertoire according to voice type, age, and advancement,
  • essential work on delivering proper style, diction, and right interpretation of portrayed characters through variety of attitudes,
  • introducing vocal hygiene techniques to sustain longevity in operatic singing,
  • drawing attention to the ethical rules and etiquette in the music business,
  • establishing the stage presence routine.


Joanna Ruszala is a Polish soprano. Her artistic career as an opera singer resulted in winning international competitions and performing soprano roles such as Violetta, Mimi, Marguerite, Liu, Micaela, and Aida.

She made her American debut as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, at the Arbor Opera Theater in Michigan. While most recently, she appeared in Verdi’s Aida with Teatro Lirico di Europa singing the title role and later Micaela with the same company. 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 where she has performed the role of Mimi in Puccini’s La Boheme.

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 is specializing in the works of Chopin, Paderewski, and Szymanowski, and toured Lithuania, Ukraine, Italy and the Czech Republic in ‘good will tours’ dedicated to sharing the works of Polish Composers. Recently she is in the process of completing the project “The Polish Art Song Anthology for American Singers” with her husband, Piotr Wisniewski, 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 Art in Nowy Sacz Poland, where she won a special prize for “Outstanding Soprano”, The Duszniki Zdrój Music 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, and the Kosciuszko Foundation’s Scholarship in New York.

Apart from her career as a performer, she is an active teacher of singing leading a very successful ”Bel Canto” private voice studio where students have won international awards such as the District Metropolitan Opera Competition, Ezio Pinza Scholarship for American Singers, and gained admittance to top graduate schools including Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Besides that, she has worked as professor of voice for the past 10 seasons with the Opera Maya International Music Festival in Mexico. Recently she has worked as movement/acting teacher and stage director for Lyric Opera of Kansas City Resident Artists Program, she joined the William Jewell College Artist Diploma Faculty, and worked as voice clinician and masterclass teacher in various universities in USA and Poland.

Her musical education began in her native Poland where she received a Master of Music degree 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. Following her passion for performance, she continued her musical education at IU 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 she mastered her vocal skills with Helena Lazarska (Vienna), Chrstian Elsner (Dresden), Kaludi Kaludov (Varna), Katia Ricciarelli (Italy), Virginia Zeani (USA), Teresa Kubiak (USA) and Carol Vaness (USA).