Susanne Marsee

Last updated

Susanne Marsee (born Susan Irene Dowell; November 26, 1941, San Diego, California) is an American mezzo-soprano of note, particularly acclaimed as a singing-actress.

A mezzo-soprano or mezzo (, ; Italian pronunciation: [ˈmɛddzo soˈpraːno] meaning "half soprano") is a type of classical female singing voice whose vocal range lies between the soprano and the contralto voice types. The mezzo-soprano's vocal range usually extends from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above (i.e. A3–A5 in scientific pitch notation, where middle C = C4; 220–880 Hz). In the lower and upper extremes, some mezzo-sopranos may extend down to the F below middle C (F3, 175 Hz) and as high as "high C" (C6, 1047 Hz). The mezzo-soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, lyric, and dramatic mezzo-soprano.


Her principal teacher was Nadine Conner, and her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Los Angeles, and advanced studies at the American Opera Center of The Juilliard School. She is of Greek, English, and French heritage.

Nadine Conner singer

Nadine Conner was an American operatic soprano, radio singer and music teacher.

Susanne Marsee. SusanneMarsee.JPG
Susanne Marsee.

New York City Opera

Raised in Westchester, California, Marsee was the New York City Opera's leading mezzo-soprano from 1970, when she debuted as Sara, Duchess of Nottingham, opposite Beverly Sills, Plácido Domingo, and Louis Quilico, in Donizetti's Roberto Devereux, with Julius Rudel conducting Tito Capobianco's production.

New York City Opera American opera company based in New York City

The New York City Opera (NYCO) is an American opera company located in Manhattan in New York City. The company has been active from 1943 through 2013, and again since 2016 when it was revived.

Beverly Sills opera soprano

Beverly Sills was an American operatic soprano whose peak career was between the 1950s and 1970s.

Plácido Domingo Spanish opera singer and conductor

José Plácido Domingo Embil is a Spanish opera singer, conductor and arts administrator. He has recorded over a hundred complete operas and is well known for his versatility, regularly performing in Italian, French, German, Spanish, English and Russian in the most prestigious opera houses in the world. Although primarily a lirico-spinto tenor for most of his career, especially popular for his Cavaradossi, Hoffmann, Don José, and Canio, he quickly moved into more dramatic roles, becoming the most acclaimed Otello of his generation. In the early 2010s, he transitioned from the tenor repertory into almost exclusively baritone parts, most notably Simon Boccanegra. He has performed 149 different roles.

She proceeded to sing a great gallery of roles at the City Opera, including Siébel in Faust, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Sesto in Giulio Cesare, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro (opposite Michael Devlin), Nicklausse in Les contes d'Hoffmann (with Sills and Norman Treigle), Dorabella in Così fan tutte (with Patricia Brooks), Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier (with Johanna Meier), Maddalena in Rigoletto (opposite José Carreras), Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena, the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos (with Carol Neblett), Maffio Orsini in Lucrezia Borgia (with Sills), the title role of La belle Hélène, Zaida in Il turco in Italia, Estella Drummle in the world premiere of Miss Havisham's Fire (with Rita Shane), Doña Manuela in La loca, Mariana in the world premiere of The Student from Salamanca, Sesto in La clemenza di Tito, Néris in the Italian version of Médée (with Marisa Galvany), the name part in Carmen (in Frank Corsaro's production), the title role of La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, Prince Charmant in Cendrillon, Mallika in Lakmé, Bellino in Casanova's Homecoming, Adalgisa in Norma, Dulcinée in Don Quichotte, Charlotte in Werther (with Jon Garrison), Valencienne in Die lustige Witwe, Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro (with Herbert Perry as Figaro), Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, La chatte in L'enfant et les sortilèges, Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rose in the world premiere of Marilyn, and Marta in Mefistofele, as well as musical comedy.

Michael Devlin is an American opera singer who is internationally known as a bass-baritone and singing-actor.

Norman Treigle (né Adanelle Wilfred Treigle was an American operatic bass-baritone, who was acclaimed for his great abilities as a singing-actor, and specialized in roles that evoked villainy and terror.

Patricia Brooks, was a lyric soprano, actress, and opera singer, who performed primarily with the New York City Opera. She was known for her acting ability as much as for her voice.

United States

She appeared with companies in Baton Rouge (Giulietta in Les contes d'Hoffmann, with Paul Groves), Boston (Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia for Opera New England, and Maddalena in Rigoletto for Boston Opera Group, both directed by Sarah Caldwell), Cincinnati (Rigoletto and Roberto Devereux), Columbus (Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro), Connecticut (Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel; Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti; and Nicklausse in Les contes d'Hoffmann, opposite Nicolai Gedda), Fort Worth (Cherubino), Houston (Preziosilla in La forza del destino), Memphis (Ariadne auf Naxos), Michigan (title role in The Maid of Orléans), Milwaukee (Laura in La Gioconda, with Gilda Cruz-Romo and Harry Theyard), New Orleans (Urbain in Les Huguenots ), Omaha (Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, and the name part in La périchole), Philadelphia (Rigoletto, opposite Luciano Pavarotti; Cherubino, with Treigle and Richard Fredricks; and Anna Bolena, with Renata Scotto), Pittsburgh (Rigoletto), St Paul (world premiere of Casanova's Homecoming, for the Minnesota Opera), San Antonio (Nicklausse in Les contes d'Hoffmann), San Diego (Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro; Così fan tutte; the world premiere of La loca; Giulietta in Un giorno di regno; the Verdi Requiem; Anna Bolena, with Katia Ricciarelli; and Cuniza in Oberto, with Ferruccio Furlanetto), San Francisco (as Shelly Ward in the world premiere of Angle of Repose, with Nancy Shade and Chester Ludgin; La forza del destino, with Anna Tomowa-Sintow, then Raina Kabaivanska, Renato Bruson, and Paul Plishka; Faust, with Giacomo Aragall; and as Barbara in Kát'a Kabanová, with Elisabeth Söderström and William Cochran, conducted by Rafael Kubelík), Washington DC (Sesto in Giulio Cesare, with Tatiana Troyanos and June Anderson, for the Handel Festival), as well as the Friends of French Opera (in Armide) at Carnegie Hall, and Wolf Trap (Cherubino, opposite Joy Clements and Phyllis Curtin; Roberto Devereux; and Carmen).

Paul Groves is an American operatic tenor. In 1991 he won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and in 1995 he won the prestigious Richard Tucker Award. He has sung leading roles with major opera houses throughout the world, including the Boston Lyric Opera, De Nederlandse Opera, La Scala, the Los Angeles Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Metropolitan Opera, the Paris Opera, the Salzburg Festival, the San Francisco Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, the Vienna State Opera, the Washington National Opera, the Grand Theatre Genève and the Welsh National Opera among others.

Sarah Caldwell American opera conductor, impresario, and stage director

Sarah Caldwell was an American opera conductor, impresario, and stage director.

Nicolai Gedda Swedish opera singer

Harry Gustaf Nikolai Gädda, known professionally as Nicolai Gedda, was a Swedish operatic tenor. Debuting in 1951, Gedda had a long and successful career in opera until the age of 77 in June 2003, when he made his final operatic recording. Skilled at languages, he performed operas in French, Russian, German, Italian, English, Czech, and Swedish, as well as one in Latin. In January 1958, he created the part of Anatol in the world premiere of the American opera Vanessa at the Metropolitan Opera. Having made some two hundred recordings, Gedda is one of the most widely recorded opera singers in history. His singing is best known for its beauty of tone, vocal control, and musical perception.

She sang performances of Rossini's Stabat mater for the Cincinnati May Festival (with Leontyne Price, 1971) and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (with Galvany, 1987).

Leontyne Price American soprano

Mary Violet Leontyne Price is an American soprano. Born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi, she rose to international acclaim in the 1950s and 1960s, and was the first African American to become a leading performer, or prima donna, at the Metropolitan Opera, and one of the most popular American classical singers of her generation.


Susan Dowell married, first, Frederic E. Marsee, on May 23, 1964. The marriage later ended in divorce. [1] She then married Brett Hamilton, which ended in divorce. She married Mark Weinstein in 1987. [2]


Abroad, she appeared at Calgary (La Cenerentola and Norma), the Canary Islands Festival (as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, with Samuel Ramey; and Anna Bolena), Caracas (Così fan tutte), the Cervantes Festival (Don Quichotte, and Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice), Mexico City (Don Quichotte and Orfeo ed Euridice), Montreal (Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia), and the Taiwanese Opera Festival. In 1972, she made her only commercial recording, for Westminster, as Nicklausse in Les contes d'Hoffmann , opposite Sills and Treigle, conducted by Rudel.

In 1977, she made her European debut at the Spoleto Festival in Così fan tutte, and then appeared at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in Roberto Devereux, with Montserrat Caballé, Carreras, and Vicente Sardinero.


Marsee was seen in a number of PBS television broadcasts: Rachel, la cubana (as Lucile; world premiere, conducted by the composer, Hans Werner Henze, 1974), Roberto Devereux (with Sills, 1975), Il turco in Italia (with Sills and Donald Gramm, 1978), La Cenerentola (with Rockwell Blake and Alan Titus, 1980), Rigoletto (1988), A Little Night Music (with Regina Resnik, 1990) and Le nozze di Figaro (as Marcellina, 1991).


Her final appearances at the City Opera were as Mistress Bentson in Lakmé (opposite Elizabeth Futral), in 1994. The following year (twenty-five years after her debut), she sang her farewell performance, in the cameo rôle of Alisa in the Capobianco production of Lucia di Lammermoor , for the Pittsburgh Opera.

Since her retirement from the stage, Miss Marsee has concentrated on vocal pedagogy, and has held positions at Louisiana State University (1991–92), American Musical and Dramatic Academy (New York City, 1994–97), Pittsburgh CLO Academy (1997–99), City Music Center of Duquesne University (1998–2000), Carnegie Mellon University (1999–2008), and Catholic University of America (2008–11).

In 2015, Opera Depot published her 1976 performance of Lucrezia Borgia, with Sills and Henry Price, conducted by Rudel, on Compact Discs. Later the same year, they published the 1975 Anna Bolena, with Scotto and Ramey, conducted by Rudel. In 2016, they published the Aix-en-Provence Roberto Devereux, to mark Carreras's 70th birthday.

Commercial recordings


Related Research Articles

Jane Berbié singer

Jane Berbié is a French mezzo-soprano particularly associated with Mozart and Rossini roles.

Tito Capobianco Argentine opera director and impresario

Tito Capobianco was an Argentine American stage director of opera.

Alessandro Corbelli is an Italian baritone opera singer. One of the world's pre-eminent singers specializing in Mozart and Rossini, Corbelli has sung in many major opera houses around the world and won admiration for his elegant singing style and sharp characterizations, especially in comic roles.

Virginia MacWatters was an American coloratura soprano.

Enrico Di Giuseppe American opera singer

Enrico Di Giuseppe was a celebrated American operatic tenor who had an active performance career from the late 1950s through the 1990s. He spent most of his career performing in New York City, juggling concurrent performance contracts with both the New York City Opera (NYCO) and the Metropolitan Opera during the 1970s and 1980s. In the latter part of his career he was particularly active with the New York Grand Opera.

Henry Price III is a well-known American operatic tenor, who was a pupil of the tenor Eugene Conley. He made his formal debut with the Goldovsky Opera Theater in 1970, as Alfredo Germont in La traviata.

Sesto Bruscantini Italian operatic baritone singer

Sesto Bruscantini was an Italian baritone, one of the greatest buffo singers of the post-war era, especially renowned in Mozart and Rossini.

Alan Titus American opera singer

Alan Titus is an internationally celebrated baritone.

Stella Zambalis is an American spinto soprano born in Cleveland, Ohio. She has been called one of the best sopranos in the world today.

Richard Fredricks is an American opera singer, and was one of the leading dramatic baritones of both the New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. He has also appeared on network television, performing on NBC's The Tonight Show, and was the featured guest star on ABC's The Odd Couple.

Kate Lindsey singer

Kate Lindsey is a mezzo-soprano opera singer from the United States. She is married to the documentary filmmaker Olly Lambert.

Armando Agnini was a successful Italian stage director of opera.

Susanne Mentzer is an American operatic mezzo-soprano. She is best known for singing trouser roles, such as Cherubino in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Idamante in Mozart's Idomeneo, Octavian in Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier and the composer in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, as well as other music of Mozart, Strauss, Rossini, Berlioz and Mahler.

Lou Galterio was a noted stage director of opera. He studied drama and English at Marquette University.

Raquel Pierotti Uruguayan mezzo-soprano opera singer

Raquel Pierotti is a mezzo-soprano opera singer. She specialized in coloratura roles in the Rossini and Handel repertoire.

Antonino Fogliani Italian conductor

Antonino Fogliani is an Italian conductor.

Knud D. Andersson was a German-born American conductor. He enjoyed a long association with the New Orleans Opera where he served as first assistant conductor and choral director from 1953-1965 and then music director and resident conductor from 1965 until his retirement in 1983. The city of New Orleans honored him with certificates of merit in 1957 and 1967.

David Morelock is an American stage director of opera.

Maite Arruabarrena Unanue is a Spanish-Basque mezzo-soprano opera singer and psychologist. Born in San Sebastián, she studied in Spain and in Italy where she won first prize at the Toti dal Monte International Singing Contest. In addition to singing in Spain's leading theatres and concert halls, she has performed in Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United States.


  1. "Susan Dowell - Free Marriage & Vital Records". Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  2. "Susanne Marsee, a Singer, Marries Mark J. Weinstein". The New York Times . 16 May 1987. Retrieved 26 November 2017.