1. Faculty

Susanne Mentzer

Voice

COURSES TAUGHT

  • Private Lessons

EDUCATION

  • MM, The Juilliard School
  • BM, The Juilliard School

ENSEMBLES

  • Metropolitan Opera 1989–Present
  • La Scala
  • Covent Garden
  • Vienna State Opera
  • San Francisco Opera, 1987, 1995

AWARDS AND DISTINCTIONS

  • VERA Award, The Voice Foundation for Vocal Health Awareness, 2013
  • Brother Thelan Award, Alexian Brothers, USA for volunteer work, 2004

What is your hometown?

Philadelphia, PA; Thurmont, MD; and Santa Fe, NM

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Dogs, movies, theater, and Scrabble.

Who were your major teachers?

Norma Newton and Rose Bampton.

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

When I was about 16, I realized my voice was different. It did not fit in with other people my age.

What was a turning point in your career?

European debut at age 26 in Cologne, Germany.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

Music Therapy.

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Mahler, Mozart, and Richard Strauss.

What are your most important collaborations?

Craig Rutenberg (piano), Jean-Pierre Ponnelle (director), and James Levine (conductor).

Who have you had the privilege of teaching?

Cecelia Hall and Michael Sumuel.

Where have you been published?

The Huffington Post Arts Section

What recordings can we hear you on?

Carlisle Floyd: Wuthering Heights, Resonance Records
Carlisle Floyd: Songs — Citizen of Paradise, Roven Records
Wayfaring Stranger, Erato
Eternal Feminine: Songs by Women Composers, KOCH International
R. Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos, DVD Metropolitan Opera

What is your unrealized project?

Performing a leading role in a new opera premiere

Biography

American mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer has established herself not only as an international singer but also as a writer, teacher and arts advocate. Susanne is a mentor to young singers and, as she continues to occasionally perform, she feels a kinship with her students. In 2016 she joined the faculty of SFCM after 12 years in academia as a Tenured Professor at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and Associate Professor at DePaul University in Chicago. She is also an instructor of the Adler Fellowship Program at San Francisco Opera and at Songfest at Colburn. She has been on faculty at the Aspen Music Festival and School.  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. Many of Susanne’s former students are singing in leading opera houses around the world. Her stellar singing career encompasses 37 years in nearly every major opera company, orchestra and recital organization. She sang leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera since 1989. see susannementzer.com for a complete listing. Susanne was born in Philadelphia and raised in Maryland and Santa Fe, NM where she fell in love with opera as an usher.  She received her Bachelor and Master degrees from The Juilliard School studying with Rose Bampton, and was trained in the Houston Opera Studio and continually with Norma Newton. 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. Susanne has contributed regularly to the Huffington Post and her outspokenness about vocal health has earned her the VERA Award 2013  (Voice Education Research Awareness) from The Voice Foundation.