Introduced to opera as a teenage usher at the Santa Fe Opera, Susanne Mentzer is one of today’s foremost mezzo-sopranos, recognized for her generous vocal and interpretive gifts, and widely admired for her versatility from the recital and concert stage to the operatic arena.
For over 20 years she has sung leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera. Ms. Mentzer has been fortunate to have appeared with nearly every great opera house and orchestra on four continents under the batons of R. Abbado, Bonynge, Boulez, Chailly, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Andrew Davis, Dutoit, Eschenbach, Haitink, Levine, Maazel, Mackerras, Marriner, Masur, Mehta, Muti, Ozawa, Salonen, Sawallisch, Sinopoli, and others. She also has appeared in many productions of the late director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, whom she considers of her great influences, and with the late Giorgio Strehler at La Scala.
A specialist in trouser roles, most notably for her portrayals of Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier), Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos)she is also noted for bel canto style in her performances of Bellini’s Romeo in I Capuleti ed i Montecchi, Adalgisa in Norma, and Rossini’s heroines in Il Barbiere Siviglia and La Cenerentola. Her many Mozart roles include Idamante, Cherubino, Marcellina, Zerlina, Sesto, Annio, Dorabella and Despina. She sings many of the French heroines, including Mélisande in Debussy’s Pélléas et Mélisande, Massenet’s Dulcinée in Don Quixote, and both Prince Charming and Cinderella in Cendrillon. She also debuted the role of the Mother in Tan Dun’s Grammy-nominated The First Emperor at the Metropolitan Opera (directed by cinematic legend Zhang Yimou).
Her extensive discography and videography includes: On DVD- Les Contes d’Hoffmann Opéra de Paris, Ariadne auf Naxos and The First Emperor (with Placido Domingo) from the Metropolitan Opera, Don Giovanni at La Scala; CD- Anna Bolena with the late Joan Sutherland, Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Idomeneo, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Il Turco in Italia, Faust and Grammy nominated Busoni’s Arlecchino, and two recitals:Wayfaring Stranger with Grammy- winning guitarist Sharon Isbin and The Eternal Feminine featuring music by women composers with Craig Rutenberg, piano.