A native of Bauxite, Arkansas, soprano Susan Dunn is completely American trained, having studied at Indiana University in Bloomington and then at the University of Illinois privately with the renowned coach and accompanist John Wustman. During the final years of her studies, Dunn began to attract the attention of the music world and also to win prestigious awards: the D’Angelo Young Artist Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Award and the Opera Company of Philadelphia/Luciano Pavarotti International Vocal Competition, and then in 1983 three major honors – The Richard Tucker Award, Chicago’s WGN-Illinois Opera Competition and the Dallas Morning News-G.B. Dealey Award.
During her career, Dunn has achieved international success in Verdi, Wagner, Strauss and recital singing. She has demonstrated her gifts on the world’s most challenging stages: La Scala in Milan, where she made her debut in Aïda, New York’s Carnegie Hall, where she created a sensation in a concert performance of Act I of Wagner’s Die Walküre; at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall where she appeared with the New York Philharmonic in the Verdi Requiem and Strauss’ Four Last Songs; with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Leonora in Verdi’s La Forza del Destino; at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall in a concert performance of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra; at the Vienna State Opera as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera and at the Australian Opera as Desdemona in Otello. She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in Il Trovatore in February of 1990.
Dunn has recorded an album of arias for London/Decca Records with Riccardo Chailly conducting. She sings Tove in London’s recording of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder and appears on that label’s recording of Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied, all with Maestro Chailly conducting. In addition to Act I of Die Walküre (with Lorin Maazel conducting) recorded for the Telarc label, Dunn is also the soprano soloist in their release of the Verdi Requiem. This recording, with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony, was awarded the Grammy as the Album of the Year of 1988. Her staged performances of Giovanna d’Arco and I Vespri Siciliani from Bologna, again with Maestro Chailly, are also available on video.
Susan Dunn is Professor of the Practice of Music and Director of Opera in the Duke University Department of Music.