Emily Benner, soprano, is an accomplished performer and experienced teacher, equally at home in opera, musical theatre and concert settings. A Michigan native, her career began in Detroit where she debuted with the Michigan Opera Theatre as First Lady in a production of Mozart's The Magic Flute conducted by Klaus Donath and designed by writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are). She also appeared as Javotte in Massenet's Manon, again with MOT, this time conducted by the founding director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, John Mauceri, alongside Ruth Ann Swenson, soprano, and Marcello Giordani, tenor. Ms. Benner spent several seasons as a resident artist with the Toledo Opera, during which time she brought the roles of Cio-Cio San in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, the title role in Puccini's Tosca, Pamina in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Countess Almaviva in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and Susannah in Carlisle Floyd's eponymous American masterpiece, Susannah, to appreciative audiences at outreach concerts around the city. She also appeared in Toledo Opera's main stage production of Susannah as Mrs. Hayes. Other roles include Lucy in Gian Carlo Menotti's The Telephone, the title role in Franz Lehár's The Merry Widow, and Soeur Constance in Francis Poulenc's Les Dialogues des Carmélites.
The Toledo Symphony has engaged Ms. Benner for a Rodgers and Hammerstein Review, and a "Best of Broadway" series featuring the music of Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Weber. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has also capitalized on her versatility by engaging her for its Young People's Series, featuring everything from Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel to music from children's television programming. Ms. Benner has been highly active in the Ann Arbor concert scene, performing Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite and Heitor Villa-Lobos's Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 with the ensemble Brave New Works, and appearing in the world premiere performance and recording of local composer Enid Sutherland's Daphne and Apollo Remade, jointly produced by the Phoenix Ensemble and the University of Michigan. Recent concert appearances include a Valentine's Day concert with the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and a Christmas concert with The Tecumseh Pops Orchestra.
A frequent recitalist, Ms. Benner was a recent guest artist on the Bowling Green State University Faculty Artist series, and has made dozens of appearances at Ann Arbor's Kerrytown Concert House both as part of its regular season (Parisian Soirée, Brahms Gala) and as part of the long-running Ann Arbor Festival of Song.
As a faculty member at Albion College (2004–present) and Spring Arbor University (1999–2001), Ms. Benner has taught studio voice, vocal pedagogy, opera workshop and music appreciation. She is an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and also maintains private studios in Ann Arbor and Grosse Pointe.
Ms. Benner holds a Master of Music degree from The University of Michigan, where she studied intensively with Martin Katz and Martha Sheil. She was a regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Toronto, 1999) and a Young Artist at the Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake, New York.