Marianna Benedict, Stage Director & Lyric Coloratura Soprano
2014 Season Roles:
"Bastienne" in Mozart's
Bastien and Bastienne
Concert Soloist in
"O Zittre Nicht"
Marianna Benedict, soprano
(recorded in 2008)
About the Aria:
"O Zittre Nicht" is an aria from the German opera, "The Magic Flute" by W.A. Mozart, one of his most popular works. The aria is sung by the character The Queen of the Night, who pleads with the young prince Tamino to rescue her daughter Pamina from her captor, Sarastro. During the aria, the Queen recalls the events of her daughter's abduction, then promises Tamino that the beautiful Pamina will be his forever if he is brave enough to rescue her.
O tremble not, my dear son.
You are innocent, wise, and pious.
A young man such as you,
can best console a mother's grieving heart.
Suffering is my lot,
for my daughter is not with me.
Through her I've lost all happiness;
a villain made off with her!
I still see her trembling with alarm and shock,
shaking with panic, struggling in fear.
I had to see her stolen from me,
"Ah help!" was all she cried.
But her pleading was in vain,
for my help was too weak.
You will go and free her,
you will be my daughter's rescuer!
And if I see you are victorious,
then she shall be yours forever!
Marianna Benedict has been studying classical music for 24 years, starting with the violin at age 9. As a violinist, she received the National School Orchestra Award in 1999, and performed as section leader in the Stony Brook Orchestra. Problems with tendonitis persuaded her to set the violin aside and try classical voice. She quickly developed a sound technique as a coloratura soprano with instructor Florence Hechtel, a former Lincoln Center recitalist, Ms. Senior New York, and opera singer. After only 2 years of study, she performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall in 2002. Later that same year, Mrs. Benedict went on to win 1st Place in the Music Teacher's National Association Collegiate Voice Competition, NY division, and then won 3rd Place in the Eastern U.S. division of the same competition. She would return to Carnegie two more times as a soprano soloist, in 2003 and 2008. While earning her B.A. in Music Performance at Stony Brook University, she also traveled to Manhattan regularly to perform with the Mannes Opera. Along with numerous staged scenes at Mannes, Mrs. Benedict also starred as "Angèle," the leading female role of Lehar's The Count of Luxembourg, and as “Litzi” in Schubert’s Lilac Time. In addition to numerous solo recitals and opera scene performances at Stony Brook University, Mrs. Benedict also traveled and performed around the Long Island and Manhattan area as a soprano soloist with Stony Brook's Baroque Ensemble. She also performed as a soprano soloist in Stony Brook's production of Handel's Messiah, and in 2002 was the recipient of the Palmedo Scholarship for Excellence in Vocal Performance. Her broad education at Stony Brook University included studies in vocal technique & performance, piano, violin, conducting, music theory and history, Italian, French, vocal lyric diction and acting. After receiving her degree in 2005, Mrs. Benedict performed with the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island, singing the role of "Lady Psyche" with full orchestra in their production of Princess Ida.
Mrs. Benedict has also successfully directed and starred in several fully-staged operas with the Amadeus Opera, including productions of Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne (as Bastienne, 2012), The Impresario (as Madame Goldentrill, 2010 and 2012) and Il Re Pastore (as Elisa, 2011). She was the music and staging director of both the 2010 and 2011 Seasons, and single-handedly reduced the full orchestra score of Mozart’s Il Re Pastore to string quartet in 2011. She also reduced the scores of The Impresario and Bastien and Bastienne to chamber orchestra. This year, in the Amadeus Opera’s 2014 production of Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne and Mozart Musicale, Mrs. Benedict is once again stage directing Bastien and Bastienne. Mrs. Benedict is also continuing her study of vocal technique under mezzo-soprano of the Metropolitan Opera, Heidi Skok and Julliard graduate Diana Walker-Neve, former soprano with the New York City Opera.
Mrs. Benedict also owns and operates Marianna's Music Studio, where she instructs voice, violin, piano and acting to over 70 pupils. In her spare time, Mrs. Benedict enjoys studying Goju-Ryu Karate with her husband and head of the Seitouha Karate system, Sensei John Benedict, and step-son, John Benedict, III. She also enjoys playing classical guitar.