about

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Julia is an educator, arts advocate, and award-winning opera singer who champions inclusion and innovation in the performing arts. She weaves storytelling, activism, and advocacy through music and theatre as a means of celebrating historically excluded voices in opera. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest of the United States she has a deep-seated passion for the arts, nature, science and technology. Her goal is bridging the four through innovation and collaboration to cultivate interdisciplinary works to realize a brighter, more sustainable future for all life.

Julia currently serves as Co-Director of Seattle Art Song Society, using her leadership to focus on inclusion, the commissioning of new works, and incorporation of new technologies in performance.

With over 20 years’ experience as a soloist on stages around the globe, as well as an insatiable curiosity and drive to help others realize their artistic visions, Julia is expanding her reach to arts advocacy and the production of new works of performing arts.

Julia holds degrees in Opera Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, and Arts and Cultural Management from the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. She has received awards and accolades from Sarasota Opera, The Opera Foundation, The Miami Music Festival, The Wagner Society of Northern California, and Seattle Opera Guild.

When not performing or advocating for greater representation and innovation in the performing arts, Julia can be found adventuring outdoors with her three young sons and watching as much science fiction as she can find.

 

Ms. Benzinger opened the 2018-2019 season celebrating Music of Remebrance's 20th Anniversary at Benaroya Hall. With the Bainbridge Chorale she was featured as the Alto Soloist in Handel's Messiah. A return to Vashon Opera saw her continuing her commitment to performing contemporary American works in Andre Previn's powerful opera A Streetcar Named Desire (The Flower Seller) and for Pacific Northwest Opera, Julia made her role debuts as Fricka and Waltraute in Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. As a One Voice series Co-Director with Seattle Art Song Society, she collaborated on the creation of the successful Womxn's Voices concert, featuring the works of Juliana Hall, Libby Larsen, Emily Lau, Nina Simone, Nadia Boulanger, Pauline Viardot, Tailleferre, Clara Schumann, Alma Mahler, and Hildegard von Bingen. She ended the season with a recital with pianist and composer Steven Luksan for the Saltwater Music Series in a program titled: A Love Letter to the Salish Sea.

The 2017-2018 season began with Seattle Art Song Society in a recital celebrating the works of beloved Seattle composer, Bern Herbolsheimer. For Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra and Choral Arts Northwest, she performed Joseph Haydn's Missa in Angustiis ("Nelson Mass"). Julia was seen as Dritte Dame in Pacific Symphony's Die Zauberflöte, and Mother Earth in Seattle Art Song Society's Earth Day reflection: Elemental. She returned to Vashon opera for their production of Die Zauberflöte as well as an evening of song and opera with tenor Limmie Pulliam, and she continued her relationship with Music of Remembrance in a concert commemorating International Holocaust Memorial Day.

2016-2017 saw Ms. Benzinger make her role debut as Mére Marie in Dialogues des carmélites with Vashon Opera. She performed with Orchestra Seattle and Seattle Chamber Singers in Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky and returned to Seattle for a celebration of John Cage, performing his radical compositions Aria, 5 Songs for Contralto, and Sonnekus. With Pacific MusicWorks, under the musical direction of GRAMMY award winner Stephen Stubbs, Ms. Benzinger portrayed The Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas. Julia continued visiting the world of early music with performances of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater and Bach's beloved Weihnachtsoratorium. She ended the season with the Miami Music Festival as Erste Norn in Wagner’s Die Götterdämmerung, a performance that led the South Florida Classical Review to write: “Julia Benzinger’s warmth of timbre, silvery top register, and declamation were riveting”.

 

In the 2015-2016, Ms. Benzinger took on the title character of Fauré's Pénelopé with Vespertine Opera Theatre. On the concert platform, she performed Maddelena (Rigoletto), Alisa (Lucia di Lammermoor), the Alto Soloist in Pergolesi's Stabat mater, and returned to Music of Remembrance for a concert featuring the Vilna Ghetto Songs.  The 2014-2015 season saw Ms. Benzinger make her Pacific MusicWorks debut (Dritte Dame / Die Zauberflöte). She toured with the Deutsche Oper Berlin to the Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman as Il Musico in Puccini's Manon Lescaut and was praised for her performance with Music of Remembrance in Songs and Satire from Terezin.  She also performed Lucretia (The Rape of Lucretia) with Vespertine Oper Theatre, and La Frugola (Il Tabarro) and Zita (Gianni Schicchi) with Vashon Opera.

Ms. Benzinger was a member of the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 2007-14, during time which she performed a large and varied repertoire, highlights of which include Der Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos), Flosshilde (Das Rheingold) and the title role in Gnecchi's Cassandra under the baton of Donald Runnicles, Meg Page (Falstaff) conducted by Enrique Mazzola, and Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel) under Evan Rogister, Olga (Eugene Onegin), Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen) with Lothar Zagrosek, Annina (Der Rosenkavalier), Der Page (Salome) with Ulf Schirmer, Dritte Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Bersi (Andrea Chenier), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), Flora (La Traviata), Tisbe (La cenerentola), Rosalia (Tiefland), Saint Margarete in Walther Braunfels’ Szenen aus dem Leben der Heiligen Johanna, and Alkmene in Strauss’ Die Liebe der Danae with Andrew Litton. 

Previous engagements have seen her perform Meg Page (Falstaff) for Theater Aachen, Olga (Eugene Onegin) for the Concert Opera of Seattle, Flora (La Traviata) for Opera na Zamku, Poland, and the title role in Carmen for the Oldenburg Promenade, which prompted the Märkische Oderzeitung to write “Julia Benzinger was charged with bringing the incredible fire and passion of the Gypsy Carmen to life. And that’s just what she did.”  Among Benzinger’s concert repertoire are the works of Bach (Magnificat, Mattäus-Passion, Weinachtsoratarium), Beethoven (9th Symphony), Brahms (Alto Rhapsody), Elgar (Sea Pictures), Handel (Messiah), Mendelssohn (Elijah), Pergolesi (Stabat Mater), and Rossini (Stabat Matter). 

image: lucas brown