Faculty | Voice/Opera
Associate Professor of Vocal Studies
office: MSM 311
office phone: (713)743-9963
address: 120 School of Music Bldg, Houston, TX 77204-4017
Melanie Sonnenberg has impressed the music world with her distinctive mezzo soprano interpretations, ranging from the bel canto to the French and Russian repertoire. Whether recognized as “a rich and fluent mezzo” by The New York Times, or “a master and virtuosa of voice” by Opernwelt, her performances throughout Europe, the United States, and Canada, as with the Hamburg Staatsoper, Teatro San Carlo, Salzburg Festspielhaus, Graz Oper, Tokyo Yoyogi Arena, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, Seattle Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, San Diego Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Edmonton Opera, Opera Ontario, among others, have garnered critical and public acclaim.
She made her European debut as Marina in Boris Godunov with the Graz Opera, followed by performances as Carmen with the Hamburg Staatsoper, Graz Oper, and the Tokyo Yoyogi Arena, Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri with the Teatro San Carlo, Princess Eboli in Don Carlo, Preziosilla in La Forza del Destino, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Giulietta in Hoffman’s Erzählungen with the Graz Oper. She also sang Flosshilde in Das Rheingold and Siegrune in Die Walküre for the Salzburg Festspielhaus and Graz Oper.
Recognized for her commanding dramatic and vocal skills, Ms Sonnenberg has built a diverse operatic repertoire of nearly fifty roles. In recent seasons, her portrayals of Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana with the Edmonton Opera, Augusta Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe with the companies of New Orleans, Austin, and Indianapolis, Carmen with Austin, Indianapolis, and Victor Borge Presents, Amneris in Aida with the Fresno Grand Opera, Azucena in Il Trovatore and Mrs. Bertram in The End of the Affair with the Madison Opera, and Olga in Eugene Onegin with Opera Ontario, all proved impressive. She has premiered new productions for the New York City Opera, performing Kontchakovna in Prince Igor, Marie De Pays in the American premiere of Jost Meier’s The Dreyfus Affair, and Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana.
Ms. Sonnenberg’s Carnegie Hall debut came as Smeton in Anna Bolena with the Opera Orchestra of New York and her Town Hall debut was as Malcolm in La Donna del Lago. She has sung with Little Orchestra Society of New York at Lincoln Center in their “Vivaldi’s Venice” series and as Jocasta in Oedipus Rex. Other concert appearances include performances with the Grazer Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Princeton Festival Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, and Bach Society of St. Louis.
Film and television credits include Das Rheingold and Die Walküre for Austrian Radio and Television, Cavalleria Rusticana for PBS- “Live from Lincoln Center” series and The Merry Widow with Beverly Sills for PBS- “Great Performances” series. She has recorded Brahms Alto Rhapsody and Schubert’s Ständchen with the Turtle Creek Chorale and the Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra for Reference.
Possessing a vast repertoire of song and lieder, Ms Sonnenberg has made numerous recital appearances, especially with the Newport Music Festival, where during fifteen seasons she collaborated with renowned musicians, including Jean-Philippe Collard, Dimitri Sitkovetsky, and Frederic Chiu. Her recent program, “They’ve Got Music: Rachmaninoff and Gershwin” has been heard at The National Gallery, The Great Hall in Tbilisi, Georgia, and the Summer Piano Festival at New Paltz, while her cabaret programs have been presented in Santa Fe, Dallas, Newport, and St. Louis.
During the 2007-08 academic season, Ms Sonnenberg served as Visiting Professor for The Catholic University of America. She also was an Associate Professor for Westminster Choir College from 2005-08. She received academic honors with an MA in Music and Music Education from Teachers College Columbia University and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from The City University of New York.