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American mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer enjoys a significant operatic, concert, chamber music and recital career of over thirty years. She is regarded for her interpretation of Mozart, Mahler, Strauss and Berlioz. She has appeared on four continents at nearly every great opera house and orchestra most notably a guest artist at the Metropolitan Opera since 1989. Her extensive discography includes over 25 CDs and DVDs of opera and oratorio. Her most recent project is a recording of songs by American opera composer Carlisle Floyd to be released on GPR Records through Naxos. This project was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign. She is on the recent releases of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Plump Jack by Gordon Getty. Her DVDs include 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 been seen on numerous PBS telecasts, as well. Susanne is also a writer and contributes regularly to the Huffington Post. Her 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. As a mentor to young singers she serves on the boards of The Sullivan Foundation and The George London Foundation, which give awards to promising young singers. She teaches privately in the San Francisco area after twelve years in academia at DePaul Univeristy and Rice University. She gives guest artist residencies and master classes at various schools and in conjunction with her engagements. Read more about Susanne at susannementzer.com

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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. During the summer 2013 she appears as Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro and performs with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Music from Angel Fire. Susanne recently added role of Mrs. Patrick DeRocher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking to her repertoire, a role she will reprise with Madison Opera in 2014. She also added the role of the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd with Opera Theatre St. Louis and will make her first foray into straight theater in May ‘13. Other recent appearances include the Tucson, Pacific, Newark and Columbus symphonies.

Operatically, she specializes in music Mozart, Berlioz, Rossini and Richard Strauss and is widely admired as a specialist in trouser roles, most notably for her portrayals of Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Idamante in Idomeneo, der Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos, and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier. She also appears in many notable female roles - Dorabella, Despina, Rosina, Adalgisa, Jane Seymour.

Her extensive discography includes over 25 CDs of opera and oratorio and songs. Her most recent project is a recording of songs by American opera composer Carlisle Floyd to be released on GPR Records through Naxos. This project was funded by her successful Kickstarter campaign. She has recorded 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 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. She will premiere a work in the fall of 2013 by Richard Lavenda called Words of Wisdom, the text of which is taken from the late parents of the performers - violinist Cho-Liang Lin, pianist Jon Kimura Parker and Susanne.
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 is also a writer and contributes regularly to the Huffington Post.  Her 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.
Ms. Mentzer is a mentor to young singers and as she continues to actively perform she feels a kinship with her students. She recently relocated to the San Francisco area teaching privately after twelve years in academia as 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 will be on the faculty of Songfest at Coburn the summer of 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, studying with Rose Bampton and Norma Newton, respectively. 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.
Read more about Susanne at susannementzer.com

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Reviews

"Mentzer was a charismatic Dido, unspooling Purcell's long, slow melodies in a mezzo voice subtly textured with smoke and golden fire."

Chicago Sun-Times

"And veteran mezzo Susanne Mentzer, who has lately made Despina a signature role, makes the maid the major mover in the story. Given her current ability one asks why she quit singing Strauss' Octavian, a role that she sang with splendor in Santa Fe only a decade ago."

The Daily Camera

"[Susanne Mentzer] invested Dido's desolate lament, ‘When I am laid to Earth,’ with vibrant intensity and a tragic pathos that made her imperious fury when scorned as palpable as the fierce pride she unleashed when the conflicted Aeneas recanted his decision to leave her."

Chicago Tribune

"Susanne Mentzer embodied the overly sensitive Composer in hilarious fashion, while her elegant voice set the tone for the entire opera."

Opera News

"The fabulous mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer sang the Composer. She excels at trouser roles, where her character is male. Mentzer…is superb regardless of the gender of her roles because she uses beautifully colored voice with dramatic insights and acts with a vivid range that includes many levels of subtlety."

Pittsburgh Tribune

"Mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, as the naïve lover Marguerite, sang with darkly luminous tones, delivering a rapturous ‘Romance’ song - perhaps foremost among the evening’s highlights."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"The mezzo’s vocally impeccable, emotionally compelling performance proved that she is among the premier art-song interpreters of our day. Her rich, vibrant sound retains its warmth from top to bottom and throughout its broad dynamic range, and she draws the listener into the spirit of each song with a deep internal connection that creates distinctive characters with a minimum of outward display."

Opera News