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OCU Hosts Mezzo-Soprano Susanne Mentzer; In Oklahoma Debut of Emily Dickinson Tribute

Susanne Mentzer
Susanne Mentzer

Staff Report

American mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer will present the Oklahoma premiere of Citizen of Paradise, a monodrama based on letters and poems of Emily Dickinson with music by Carlisle Floyd. The Jan. 26 event kicks off the 2014 Distinguished Artists Series at the Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University. The concert begins 3 p.m. Sunday in Petree Recital Hall, accompanied by collaborative pianist Jan McDaniel. Tickets ($10, open seating) are available from 405.208.5227 or

The composer said of the program: “Susanne Mentzer’s performance of my musical profile of Emily Dickinson, Citizen of Paradise, is definitive in every regard: she sings it with a superb range of color and feeling and, as the performing artist, quickly disappears into a vivid and totally convincing evocation of the poet herself.”

Mentzer has performed as an operatic, concert, chamber music and recital artist for more than 30 years. She is known for trouser roles such as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Idamante in Idomeneo, and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, and created the role of the mother of Yueyang in Tan Dun’s 2006 opera The First Emperor at the Metropolitan Opera.

Her discography includes over 25 CDs and DVDs of opera and oratorio. Her most recent project is a recording of songs by Floyd to be released on GPR Records through Naxos, funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign.

She has been featured on several PBS telecasts and sang on the releases of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Plump Jack by Gordon Getty. Her DVDs include Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Opéra de Paris), Don Giovanni (La Scala), the Grammy-nominated The First Emperor by Tan Dun (Metropolitan Opera), and Ariadne auf Naxos (Metropolitan Opera).

She is an advocate for vocal health, and winner of the 2013 VERA (Voice Education Research Awareness) Award 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.

The Distinguished Artists Series at OCU continues this spring with Texas-born tenor Frank Ragsdale, Feb. 4; four-handed piano artistry Feb. 9 from the husband-and-wife duo of Helen Sim and Ning-Wu Du, renowned for their virtuosic synchronicity; and the Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, March 2. Details and tickets: 405.208.5227 or


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