Susanne Mentzer

opera singer and teacher

American mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer has established herself not only as an international singer but also as a writer, teacher and arts advocate. She enjoys a significant opera, concert, chamber music and recital career of over thirty years appearing on four continents with nearly every great opera house and orchestra. She has been a guest artist at the Metropolitan Opera in leading roles since 1989, most recently as Marcellina in the new production of Le Nozze di Figaro. Her extensive discography includes over 25 CDs of opera and oratorio and songs:  a recording of songs by American opera composer Carlisle Floyd on GPR Records, two other recitals she also performs in concert: The Eternal Feminine, a recital of music by women composers (Koch International Classics) which includes the premiere of Libby Larsen's Love After 1950 with her long-time pianist, Craig Rutenberg; and her personal favorite, Wayfaring Stranger - a collection of international folksongs arranged for voice and guitar with Grammy Award-winning Sharon Isbin. She also received a Grammy nomination for her work as Colombina in Busoni's Arlecchino. She is on the recent releases of Carlisle Floyd's Wuthering Heights, Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Plump Jack by Gordon Getty. Susanne appears on DVDs of Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Opéra de Paris), Don Giovanni (La Scala), and Grammy nominated The First Emperor by Tan Dun (Metropolitan Opera), and Ariadne auf Naxos (Metropolitan Opera). She has appeared numerous times on PBS as part of the Live from Lincoln Center and Live from the Met programs and the Met Cinema broadcast. As a recitalist Susanne has appeared in recital on the Great Performers series at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie’s Weill and Zankel halls, NY Festival of Song, Tisch Center for the Arts, Morgan Library, Town Hall, Tannery Pond, Schubert Club St. Paul, Kennedy Center, Vocal Arts Society- DC, Spivey Hall Atlanta, Schwartz Hall at Emory, Santa Fe Concert Association, Aspen Music Festival, Aspen Winter Music, Wyatt Artist in Residence Series-Calgary, Ravinia Festival, Ann Arbor University Music Society, Oberlin College, and others.  A proponent of women composers and new works, her interest in contemporary music has led her to premiere two song cycles by Libby Larsen: Love after 1950 and Sifting through the Ruins. She premiered Living the Divine - a cantata for children’s choir, percussion and voice, and The Journey - 5 songs for strings and voice both by Daniel Brewbaker, Carlisle Floyd’s Citizen of Paradise-a mono-drama based on poems and letters of Emily Dickinson, and Stephen Bachicha’s New Mexico Fragments, a work she commissioned in 2010. She also performed Bernard Rand’s Now and Again with 8th blackbird and sang the American premiere of Stabat Mater by Italian composer Matteo d’Amico. As a chamber musician she has collaborated with the Orion, American and Brentano String quartets, and appeared with Chamber Music Lincoln Center, Music in the Vineyards, Music from Angel Fire, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, DaCamera Houston, and Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Chicago Symphony Chamber Musicians, Chicago Chamber Musicians, University of Chicago Chamber Music, Rembrandt Chamber Musicians, and Music@Menlo and the NY Philharmonic Chamber Musicians. Additionally she collaborated with faculty at Rice University and at the Aspen Music Festival.  Susanne's outspokenness about vocal health has earned her the VERA Award 2013  (Voice Education Research Awareness) from The Voice Foundation. Past awardees include Julie Andrews and Diane Rehm. She received the Alexian Brothers USA Thelan Award for her help raising over one-million dollars through gala concerts for the AIDS cause in Chicago and continues to participate in charitable events. Ms. Mentzer is a mentor to young singers and as she continues to actively perform she feels a kinship with her students. She is a Professor of Voice at the San Francisco Conservatory and previously was a Professor at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and DePaul University in Chicago. She also served as faculty at the Aspen Music Festival and School and has been a guest teacher at the San Francisco Opera Merola program, the Castleton Festival and frequently gives master classes in conjunction with her engagements. She has been on the faculty of Songfest at Coburn since 2013.  She regularly adjudicates competitions and serves on the Board of Directors of The Sullivan Foundation and The George London Foundation which each give awards to promising young singers.  Susanne was born in Philadelphia and raised in Maryland and Santa Fe, NM where she fell in love with opera. She received her Bachelor and Master degrees from The Juilliard School and was trained in the Houston Opera Studio.   Read more about Susanne at

September 25, 2017
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