After completing his studies in theatre and the media in Helsinki, Tampere and Munich, Jussi Tapola joined the Finnish National Opera in 1975, where he worked as chief director 1988-92, as producer 1993-96 for the Alminsali Theatre in the new Finnish National Opera house in Helsinki, and nowadays as director.
Tapola has directed the most important works of Mozart, Verdi and Puccini, and he has also directed Finnish and world premieres of such works as Prokofiev’s Duenna in 1978, Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler, Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Thomas in 1985, Adams’s Nixon in China 1990, Kalevi Aho’s Insect Life in 1996, Donizetti’s Anna Bolena in 1998, Kari Tikka’s Luther in 2000, Puccini’s La Rondine in 2002 and Jani Kääriä’s Osiris in 2003. He likes to direct work by both early and modern composers. For the Savonlinna Opera Festival Jussi Tapola directed, among others, the premiere of Paavo Heininen’s Knife in 1989 and the premiere of the opera trilogy Time and Dream by Herman Rechberger, Olli Kortekangas a Kalevi Aho in 2000. Tapola has directed several productions for the Ilmajoki Music Festival, the latest being Kuusisto’s Daughters of the Fatherland in 1998.
During the 1980s Jussi Tapola regularly taught and directed at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Between 1997-2001, in addition to his work as a director, he was artistic director of the Tampere Opera and he directed Simon Boccanegra in 2000 and Un Ballo in Maschera in 2002. He has been a guest director in several regional opera productions, especially in Vaasa, Pori and Turku, and for television he has directed opera recordings and a series of plays. He has worked as a director in Estonia, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Great Britain and the United States.
Tapola has translated many librettos into Finnish and has been a dramaturg for many new operas.