The Finnish bass, Johann Tilli, took second prize in the National Lappeenranta Singing Competition and first prize in the Timo Mustakallio Singing Competition. In 1987 he was awarded the first prize at the Kangasniemi Competition, in 1990, he took first prize again in the Kangasniemi Competition, and in 1991 he was awarded the first ever Martti Talvela Prize. In 2002, he was awarded the prestigious Theo Adam Prize in Dresden.Awarded only once every four years, this prize recognises specific success in Wagnerian roles.
Johann Tilli started his outstanding career at the age of 23. He has been a regular guest at both the Helsinkiís Finnish National Opera where he has sung Fafner in Siegfried, Fasolt, Hunding and Grand Inquisitor, and at the Savonlinna Opera Festival where he has sung Sarastro, Banquo, Landgraf, Ramphis and the Judge in Salinnenís The Horseman, which in the 2006-2007 season was also taken on tour to Moscow.
Johann Tilli commenced his international career as a member of the Hamburg State Opera, where he built up a wide and varied repertoire of Wagner, Verdi, L.v. Beethoven and Mozart roles before performing as a guest artist in many of Europeís main opera houses. He performed at following opera houses: Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Opera Zürich, Opera Köln, Opera Frankfurt, Opera Düsseldorf, as well as Teatro Real Madrid, Gran Teatro del Liceo Barcelona, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Opéra de Montpellier, De Nederlndse Opera Amsterdam, Thèâtre de la Monnaie Brussels, and Opera Tel Aviv, and Tokyo Opera. In 1995, he made his Tokyo Opera debut in Tannhäuser, and appeared for 5 consecutive years at the Bayreuther Festspiele as Fasolt. Since 1998 he has been a guest artist at the Semperoper Dresden where he has sung Rocco, Sarastro, Ramphis, König Heinrich, König Louis, Landgraf, Pogner, Fasolt, Zaccaria, Daland, Hunding and Gurnemanz.
As a concert artist, Johann Tilli has performed regularly throughout Europe and America and has worked with such esteemed conductors as Wolfgang Sawallisch, Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Semyon Bychkov, Sir Andrew Davis, the late Giuseppe Sinopoli, Jeffrey Tate und Christian Thielemann.His repertoire includes works by J.S. Bach, Berlioz, Rossini, Verdi, L.v. Beethoven, Felix Mendelssohn, Haydn and Dvorak.
Recent season (2008-2009) highlights include Johann Tilliís portrayal of Alban Bergís Doktor in a new production of Wozzeck by Calixto Bieito in a co-production between Barcelonaís Liceu and Madridís Teatro Real, his first Hagen in Götterdaemmerung in Linz, Landgraf in Tannhäuser in Barcelona, Hunding in Die Walkure in Garmisch and Stuttgart, and a highly acclaimed Wesener in Die Soldaten by Zimmermann in New York, a co-production between Ruhr Triennale and the Lincoln Center Festival. Last season saw Johann return to Barcelona in Tiefland as well as Tannhauser at Madridís Teatro Real. Last season (2009-2010) he appeared in two new productions at the Stuttgart Opera: as Gurnemanz in Wagnerís Parsifal by Calixto Bieito and conducted by Manfred Honeck and as Dikoj in Janacekís Katya Kabanova by Jossi Wieler/Sergio Morabito and conducted by Michael Schonwandt in addition to appearances at the Opera in Las Palmas as Daland in Der fliegende Holländer and as Pogner in Die Meistersinger at the Cincinatti Opera.
Johann Tilli has recorded with Deutsche Grammophon, Bis, Sony Classical, Finlandia Records, Orfeo and Capriccio.