Hailed by the International Herald Tribune for her “luscious mezzo” and Der Tagesspiel for “her impressive, metallic dramatic soprano”, American mezzo-soprano Julia Benzinger is enjoying a career in both opera and concert throughout Europe and the United States and an interpreter of wide and varied repertoire.
Ms. Benzinger opens the 2018-2019 season celebrating Music of Remebrance's 20th Anniversary at Benaroya Hall. With the Bainbridge Chorale she will be featured as the Alto Soloist in Handel's Messiah. A return to Vashon Opera sees Ms. Benzinger continuing her commitment to performing contemporary American works in Andre Previn's powerful opera A Streetcar Named Desire (The Mexican Woman) and for Pacific Northwest Opera, Julia will be making her role debuts as Fricka and Waltraute in Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. For the Saltwater Music Series, she will present a program titled A Love Letter to the Salish Sea.
2017-2018 season 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 will perform Joseph Haydn's Missa in Angustiis ("Nelson Mass"). Julia will be seen as Dritte Dame in Pacific Symphony's Die Zauberflöte, and Mother Earth in Seattle Art Song Society's Earth Day reflection: Elemental. She returns to Vashon opera for their production of Die Zauberflöte as well as an evening of song and opera with tenor Limmie Pulliam, and she continues her relationship with Music of Remembrance in a concert commemorating International Holocaust Memorial Day.
The 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 an evening in 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. 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 Theater. 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. Recent engagements have seen her return to the USA for performances of Lucretia (The Rape of Lucretia), La Frugola (Il Tabarro) and Zita (Gianni Schicchi).
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), Annina (Der Rosenkavalier), Der Page (Salome), 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.
Subsequent 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, Weinachts-Oratorium), Beethoven (9th Symphony), Brahms (Alto Rhapsody), Elgar (Sea Pictures), Handel (Messiah), Mendelssohn (Elijah), and Rossini (Stabat Matter). An alumna of the Seattle Early Music Guild and Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, she has appeared with the Seattle Symphony Chorale, Rainier Symphony Orchestra, the Manchester Camerata. A former Seattle Opera and Sarasota Opera Young Artist, Ms. Benzinger has been the recipient of many awards including the Deutsche Oper Curt Engelhorn Award, the Anne O’Donnell Outstanding Apprentice Award, and scholarships from the Wagner Society of Northern California, and Seattle Opera Guild.
Julia makes her home on Bainbridge Island, WA with her partner and three young sons.
"Julia Benzinger, as Saint Margaret, impresses with her luscious mezzo"
- International Herald Tribune