Miss Russo’s international career was launched when she was awarded first prize in the prestigious German Radio Music Competition in Munich. She has been a member of the ensembles at the Stuttgart State Opera in Germany, at the State Theater in Linz, Austria and, for nine years, she was a member of the Vienna State Opera and Vienna Volksoper with frequent guest appearances in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil.
A noted Wagner and Strauss specialist, Miss Russo has appeared as a guest artist with major opera companies including those of Trieste and Bologna, the Bavarian State Opera-Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Mannheim, Hannover, Zurich, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and Teatro Teresa Carrena in Caracas.
Miss Russo was voted “best new female artist” in the German opera magazine “Opernwelt” [OperaWorld] for her portrayal of Chrysothemis in “Elektra”. One of many career highlights was at the Stuttgart State Opera where Maria Russo sang “Alceste” in the Robert Wilson production of Gluck’s opera of the same name. She sang her first Kaiserin in a production of “Die Frau Ohne Schatten” in Basel. As Brünnhilde, she sang in the renowned Loriot “Ring an einem Abend”. The Northwestern University and Academy of Vocal Arts graduate has been heard as Abigaille in “Nabucco” in countless countries and theaters and as “Aida” in Taipei, Bergen, St. Gallen, and in Syracuse, NY. She has sung favorite Puccini roles like Giorgetta, Tosca and Turandot at the Zurich Opera, in Dresden and at the Vienna Volksoper.
In 2005, the New York Times front page story entitled “Adventures in Opera: A ‘Ring’ in the Rain Forest” wrote about Brazil’s very first “Ring Cycle” at the celebrated Teatro Amazonas where Maria Russo made history singing “Brünnhilde, the epitome of operatic soprano roles, under the baton of Luis Mahliero. Again in Brazil, she sang Maddalena in “Andrea Chenier” at the Teatro Municipal in São Paulo.
She has sung with luminaries of the conducting world such as Daniel Barenboim, Dennis Russell Davies, Christoph von Dohnányi, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Danielle Gatti, Michael Gielen, Jun Märkl, Donald Runnicles, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Peter Schneider, Marcello Viotti, and Simone Young.
Alongside her stage performances, she is often engaged as a concert performer in the major oratorio repertoire and has sung with major orchestras like the Vienna Philharmonic, the Radio Orchestras of Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg and Stuttgart, and as a recitalist at Carnegie Recital Hall, and Dame Myra Hess Radio Recital in Chicago.
She has done master classes at the University of South Carolina School of Music, S.C., College of Charleston, S.C., Columbia College, S.C., Coker College, S.C., Northwestern University, and Nazareth College of Rochester and, most recently, at the Festival de Música Erudita do Espírito Santo in Vitória, Brazil.
In a recent transition, Miss Russo is now the Executive Director of The Voice Foundation in Philadelphia, a non-profit organization advancing understanding of the voice through interdisciplinary, scientific research and education.