Michael Mentzel has been an IIE Fulbright music grant finalist, a Discovery Series Competition finalist in Washington D.C., and a semi-finalist at the International Hugo Wolf Academy Competition in Stuttgart, Germany. As a voice student of James McDonald, he was educated at Indiana University, where he also studied the German Lied under the late Leonard Hokanson. Michael’s versatile voice has enabled him to perform a wide range of operatic roles from early opera to modern. He was recently featured in a recording of newly-discovered Lied compositions of Walter Gieseking, which was released by Centaur Records. A recent operatic engagement with Opera Lafayette and the Maryland Opera Studio had him playing the role of Ubalde in a joint production of Gluck’s Armide. Equally comfortable with musical theater, Michael was cast in West Side Story under Broadway director Joey McKneely, who then went on to choreograph the highly-acclaimed Broadway revival. Recognized both in Europe and America as a preternatural interpreter of the German Lied, Michael is a fluent German speaker and scholar of German Literature. He is an avid performer of the Lieder of Hanns Eisler and an active member of the International Hanns Eisler Society. Other specialties include the songs of Franz Schubert and Hugo Wolf, whose work Italienisches Liederbuch he performed in a modern staged adaptation under the direction of Swedish baritone Håkan Hagegård.
In his multidisciplinary doctoral thesis, Dr. Mentzel completed a controlled, quantitative research experiments on a specific singing pedagogical intervention. In June of 2016, Michael was invited to present his research at the Art in Motion conference at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, Germany. He is actively engaged in in the submission of articles and conference presentations at a wide range of voice-related organizations.
Believing that good research should be easily applicable and translate into demonstrated student success, Michael is proud to have recent students accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, and the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg, Germany.
Michael lives with his wife and two boys in Gaithersburg, MD.