Susanne Mentzer

Biography

Born: January 21, 1957; Philadelphia, PA  
American mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer is an international opera star, known for a strong, bright stage presence and agile lyric voice that has made her a natural for the leading travesti (trousers) roles. She is also active as a concert and recital singer.

Raised in her home town of Philadelphia, she moved to Santa Fe, NM, and finished her last two years of high school there. This led to ushering at the famous Santa Fe Opera Festival,
Read more which awakened an interest in classical singing.

She enrolled in the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA, as a music therapy major. Her music teachers immediately spotted her vocal potential and her flair for the stage, and sent her as an apprentice at the Aspen Music Festival after her first college year. Despite her rookie status, she beat all the rest of the competition for the trousers role of Nicklausse in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, which, she says, got her "really hooked on opera."

She transferred to the Juilliard School of Music in New York City, where she studied with Norma Newton. Her professional stage debut was as Albina in Rossini's La donna del lago with the Houston Grand Opera in 1981. She made an acclaimed European debut in 1983 at Cologne as Cherubino in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro.

She rapidly established a strong European reputation, singing Rosina in The Barber of Seville at Covent Garden in 1985. Despite her growing fame in trousers parts (Octavian in Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, Cherubino, Idamante, Sextus, the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos, and others), she also enchanted audiences as Dorabella in Cosě fan tutte and in the soubrette part of Zerlina in Don Giovanni, which she sang in 1987 at La Scala in Milan under the baton of Ricardo Muti -- a portrayal available on video.

In 1987, as she was starting a family, she returned to the United States as a residence and base of operations. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Cherubino in 1989. When she started rehearsals, she recalls, her son Benjamin was four months old and still being breast-fed, so she was "feeling not very man-like."

She has developed into a natural successor to Marilyn Horne in the great coloratura mezzo roles of the bel canto era, such as Adalgisa in Bellini's Norma, and the growing interest in Baroque opera led to great acclaim in the title role of Handel's Giulio Cesare at the Bastille Opéra in Paris, where she has also sung Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. Among her other roles are Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena, Marguerite in La damnation de Faust, the title roles of Offenbach's La Périchole and Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortileges, Rossini's Cenerentola, and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and Concepcion in Ravel's L'heure espagnole.

In concert, she has sung in major works of Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Falla, Mahler, Handel, Stravinsky, Ravel, Mozart, Floyd, Bruckner, Berlioz, Berg, and Pergolesi. Her growing number of recital programs tend to feature innovative mixes of art songs, operatic arias, and American folk songs, with an interest in vocal music by women composers. Mentzer has recorded for Philips, Telarc, Virgin, Decca, Erato, Arabesque, and Angel/EMI. She frequently sings in benefits for charities related to the care of AIDS patients, including an annual "Jubilate" concert in Chicago. Read less
And If The Song Be Worth A Smile - Songs By American Composers / Delan, Mentzer, Haimovitz, Pankonin
Release Date: 01/27/2009   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186099   Number of Discs: 1
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Phenomenon - The Music Of David Garner / Mentzer, Araiza, Delan, Pankonin, Et Al
Release Date: 07/28/2009   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186301   Number of Discs: 1
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Getty: Plump Jack / Schirmer, Moore, Robertson, Lynch, Mentzer, Breault
Release Date: 05/29/2012   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186445   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 31 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Libby Larsen: Circle of Friends
    Label: Navona   Catalog: 6014 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Libby Larsen,  Unspecified
    Performer:  Jeanne Kierman,  Curtis Macomber,  Norman Fischer,  James Dunham  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 2.
    Letter To The World: Susanne Mentzer Sings Songs By Carlisle Floyd
    Label: Gpr Records   Catalog: 71313 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Recorded Sound,  Carlisle Floyd
    Performer:  Susanne Mentzer,  Carlisle Floyd,  Grant Loehnig,  Christopher James Ray
    CD: $14.99
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  • 3.
    Berlioz Masterworks / Dutoit, Montreal [17-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001915202 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Dimitri Bortniansky,  Johann Paul A. Martini
    Performer:  Françoise Pollet,  Deborah Voigt,  Gino Quilico,  Jean-Phillipe Courtis  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Chorus
    CD: $53.99
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  • 4.
    Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream / Tate, Dawson, Mentzer
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54348 Release Date: 11/23/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Susanne Mentzer,  Lynne Dawson
    Conductor:  Jeffrey Tate
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra,  Rotterdam Philharmonic Women's Chorus
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  • 5.
    Getty: Plump Jack / Schirmer, Moore, Robertson, Lynch, Mentzer, Breault
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186445 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gordon Getty
    Performer:  Diana Kehrig,  Lester Lynch,  Nathaniel Webster,  Nikolai Schukoff  ... 
    Conductor:  Ulf Schirmer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Munich Radio Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Placido Domingo - The Opera Collection [26-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001515202 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 26
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Geoffrey Pogson,  Jean Lainé,  Alicia Nafé,  Richard Amner  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Ion Marin,  Georges Prętre,  Giuseppe Sinopoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $98.49
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  • 7.
    Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann / Lopez-Cobos, Terfel, Swenson, Shicoff
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 107027 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach
    Performer:  Désirée Rancatore,  Nora Gubisch,  Alain Vernhes,  Susanne Mentzer  ... 
    Conductor:  Jesús Lopez-Cobos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris National Opera Chorus,  Paris National Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 8.
    Strauss: Ariadne Auf Naxos / Levine, Voigt, Dessay
    Label: Erato (Dvd)   Catalog: 41867 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Deborah Voigt,  Susanne Mentzer,  Natalie Dessay,  Richard Margison  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
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  • 9.
    Bruckner: Symphony no 5, Te Deum / Haitink, Vienna PO
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 422342 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Performer:  Robert Holl,  Vinson Cole,  Susanne Mentzer,  Karita Mattila
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 10.
    50 Best Mozart
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57524 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Leopold Mozart,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Emile Naoumoff,  Jack Brymer,  Christian Zacharias,  Frank Peter Zimmermann  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Sir Neville Marriner,  David Zinman  ... 
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  • 11.
    Mozart: Don Giovanni Excerpts / Muti, Shimmel, Ramey, Studer
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54323 Release Date: 08/31/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Cheryl Studer,  Samuel Ramey,  Carol Vaness,  Frank Lopardo  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 12.
    Phenomenon - The Music Of David Garner / Mentzer, Araiza, Delan, Pankonin, Et Al
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186301 Release Date: 07/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Garner
    Performer:  Francisco Araiza,  Steve Paulson,  Kristin Pankonin,  Robert Ward  ... 
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  • 13.
    And If The Song Be Worth A Smile - Songs By American Composers / Delan, Mentzer, Haimovitz, Pankonin
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186099 Release Date: 01/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gordon Getty,  David Garner,  Luna Pearl Woolf
    Performer:  Susanne Mentzer,  Kristin Pankonin,  Matt Haimovitz,  Lisa Delan
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  • 14.
    Metropolitan Opera Live in HD - Tan Dun: The First Emperor
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 15129 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Tan Dun
    Performer:  Elizabeth Futral,  Danrell Williams,  Paul Groves,  Susanne Mentzer  ... 
    Conductor:  Tan Dun
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
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    On sale! $42.98
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  • 15.
    Il Banchetto Musicale Di Signor Rossini
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 434958 Release Date: 08/05/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Diana Montague,  Maryse Castets,  Sumi Jo,  Raquel Pierotti  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Claudio Scimone,  Jesús Lopez-Cobos  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon Opera Orchestra,  Lyon Opera Chorus,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus  ... 
    ArkivCD $17.99
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  • 16.
    Mahler: Symphony No 2 / Mentzer, Robinson, Järvi
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4432 Release Date: 12/11/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Twyla Robinson,  Susanne Mentzer
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Riverside Church Choir New York,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Members,  Detroit Symphony Orchestra Members  ... 
    DVD: $23.99
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  • 17.
    Rossini: Il Turco In Italia / Marriner, Alaimo, Jo, Corbelli
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000943202 Release Date: 08/14/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Raúl Giménez,  Sumi Jo,  Simone Alaimo,  Susanne Mentzer  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 18.
    American Classics - American Choral Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559299 Release Date: 11/21/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincent Persichetti,  Charles Ives,  John Corigliano,  Lukas Foss  ... 
    Performer:  Seung Won Cho,  Susanne Mentzer
    Conductor:  James Morrow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Texas Chamber Singers,  University of Texas Chamber Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Donizetti: Anna Bolena / Bonynge, Sutherland, Ramey, Mentzer
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000717402 Release Date: 10/10/2006   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Jerry Hadley,  Bernadette Manca di Nissa,  Samuel Ramey  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Welsh National Opera Chorus,  Welsh National Opera Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Humperdinck: Hansel And Gretel / Delfs, Mentzer, Et Al
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 50 Release Date: 01/11/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck
    Performer:  Anna Christy,  Janice Taylor,  Robert Orth,  Judith Forst  ... 
    Conductor:  Andreas Delfs
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milwaukee Children's Choir,  Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra,  Milwaukee Symphony Chorus
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  • 21.
    Mozart: Don Giovanni / Muti, Allen, Gruberova, Araiza, Murray
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 3001 Release Date: 06/15/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Susanne Mentzer,  Sergej Kopcak,  Edita Gruberova,  Natale de Carolis  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    DVD: $19.99
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  • 22.
    Bruckner: Symphonies 1 & 9 / Haitink, Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 473886 Release Date: 11/20/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Performer:  Vinson Cole,  Robert Holl,  Karita Mattila,  Susanne Mentzer
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Berlioz: Huit Scčnes De Faust, Etc / Dutoit, Graham, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 475097 Release Date: 11/11/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Paul A. Martini,  Hector Berlioz
    Performer:  François Le Roux,  Gordon Gietz,  Philippe Rouillon,  Alain Duguay  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Chorus
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  • 24.
    Chabrier: Espagna, Suite Pastorale, Fete Polonaise, Bouree, Etc.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 74336 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Emmanuel Chabrier
    Performer:  Susanne Mentzer,  Pierre del Vescovo,  Barbara Hendricks
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Emmanuel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Toulouse Mid-Pyrénées Chorus
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  • 25.
    Berlioz: L'enfance Du Christ, Etc / Graham, Dutoit, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 458915 Release Date: 11/14/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz
    Performer:  John Mark Ainsley,  Susanne Mentzer,  Marc Belleau,  Andrew Wentzel  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Chorus,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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