Praised for her “phenomenal, concise and clear voice” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), “great projection” (Bachtrack) and commended for the “ warmth and poise” of her sound (Seen and Heard International), Turkish-German singer Deniz Uzun brings her unique cultural background and artistry to each role she performs.
Mezzo-soprano Deniz Uzun has been praised for her “phenomenal, concise and clear voice” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), “great projection” (Bachtrack) and commended for the “ warmth and poise” of her sound (Seen and Heard International). Recent winner of the Eva Marton Prize at the Eva Marton Competition and the Elena Obraszova Prize at the Tenor Viñas Competition in Barcelona, the Turkish-German singer brings her unique cultural background and artistry to each role she performs. In addition to her performances in operatic productions, Deniz enjoys performing in classical song recitals and exploring folk repertoire creating a fusional experience between the worlds of folk and classical music.
Her 2021/22 season includes several exciting role debuts such as Dido/Dido and Aeneas at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, the title roles in Zanetto by Mascagni in concert version touring in Switzerland and Carmen at the Landestheater Salzburg under the direction of Andrea Bernard and under the baton of Gabriel Venzago. Passionate about Russian repertoire, Deniz performs Olga in Eugene Onegin twice this season: at the Komische Oper Berlin in a Barrie Kosky production, and in concert with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Fabio Luisi. Deniz was also one of the nine finalists of the Paris Opera Competition, and performed opera scenes at Opéra national de Paris in the final of the competition.
At the start of the 2022/23 season she joins the ensemble of the Komische Oper Berlin, where she will make her debut as Dorabella/Così fan tutte, Una Donna/Intolleranza 1960, Meg Page/Falstaff and Third Lady/Magic Flute. Guest engagements lead her to house and role debuts as Orlofsky/Die Fledermaus at Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova under the baton of Fabio Luisi and as Waltraute/Götterdämmerung at the Wagner days 2023 at Müpa Budapest and she is proudly returning to Opernhaus Zürich as Luigia/Viva La Mamma. Future seasons include a return in exciting repertoire to Dallas Symphony Orchestra and her debut with Cleveland Orchestra.
The young mezzo-soprano was an ensemble member of Opernhaus Zürich from the 2016/17 to the 2020/21 season, where she appeared as Hansel/Hansel und Gretel, L’Enfant/L’Enfant et les sortilèges, Zelim/La verità in cimento, Jacob/Gold! and Ronja/Ronja Räubertochter, and in supporting roles as Lucilla/La scala di seta, Ino/Semele, Sonetka/Lady Macbeth von Mzensk, Krista/Věc Makropulos, Page/Salome, Alisa/Lucia di Lammermoor and she performed Rachmaninov songs in the ballet Anna Karenina. Because of the Covid-pandemic her performances as Emilia/Otello, Alto/Johannespassion, Olga/Eugene Onegin and Bradamante/Alcina were cancelled. As part of the Zurich Opera House's alternative program due to the pandemic, she gave three recitals in the 2020/21 season titled “Opera goes Folk“ with pianist Yulia Levin.
Deniz has performed Florence Pike/Albert Herring, Sandmann/Hansel and Gretel, Nun/Fiery Angel, Cleaning Lady/Věc Makropulos and Alisa/Lucia di Lammermoor at the Bayerische Staatsoper as part of the Young Artist Program, a Liederabend with Tobias Truniger at Stiftung Mozarteum in Salzburg, Rachmaninov songs as part of the ballet Anna Karenina at Tel Aviv Opera, Lola/Cavalleria Rusticana at the Jurmala Music Festival in Latvia, Isabella/L’Italiana in Algeri, Ruggiero/Alcina, and Gertrude/Hansel and Gretel with Indiana University Opera and Ballet, Annina/La Traviata and Isabella/L’Italiana in Algeri for children at Baden Baden Festspielhaus, Beethoven 9th Symphony with Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, Page/Salome in concert with Dallas Symphony Orchestra and 3rd Maid/Elektra at Salzburger Festspiele. Her appearance as Ganymed/Die Schöne Galathee with the Bavarian Rundfunk Orchestra was postponed to October 2022 because of the pandemic.
Throughout the course of her career Deniz has worked with conductors such as Fabio Luisi, Marco Armiliato, William Christie, Tomáš Hanus, Jakup Hrůša, Vladimir Jurovski, Gianandrea Noseda, Kirill Petrenko, Vasily Petrenko, Nello Santi, Markus Poschner, Simone Young and Franz Welser- Möst, as well as with directors; Calixto Bieito, Robert Carsen, Jan Essinger, Andreas Homoki, Barrie Kosky, Nina Russi, Dmitri Tcherniakov and Krzysztof Warlikowski.
Uzun has received accolades from several competitions, including the Belvedere Singing Competition (two special prizes), the Metropolitan National Council Auditions (finalist). Semiha Berksoy Foundation (Best Young Singer) and Académie Nationale du Disque Lyrique in Paris (Leyla Gencer Prize “Golden Orphée”) in 2016. Deniz received further attention during her studies at the prestigious Lied-Festival Heidelberger Frühling led by Thomas Hampson and the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie in Nuremberg, led by Edith Wiens and at the Young Artist Program of the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, where she performed together with the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Born and raised in Mannheim, Germany, Deniz became interested in classical music at an early age and gave her first concert at the age of 6. Throughout her childhood, she performed regularly at the Nationaltheater Mannheim, and in concerts in Germany and abroad. At 16, she attended the University of Music in Karlsruhe as part of their pre-college program, before completing her Song and Concert studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Mannheim under the guidance of Prof. Snezana Stamenkovic. The Friedrich Ebert Foundation and a fellowship from the Georgina Joshi Foundation enabled her to study at the Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana, from which she graduated with an Artistic Diploma under the guidance of Prof. Carol Vaness in 2015. Directly after she was invited to the Bayerische Staatsoper’s Young Artist Program 2015/16.
She has been working with Oylun Erdayi on her vocal development since 2013 and since 2020 with Sherman Lowe.
To this day, Deniz is intensively engaged with the genre Lied, especially in the French, German and Russian repertoire. She loves trying out different arrangements in her free time, such as songs by Schubert and Ravel with harp and works by Bizet, Caccini and de Falla with guitar. Her musical career has also been notably shaped, in particular, by contemporary music, for example with the world premiere in 2004 of To infinity by Rolf Rudin which was inspired by letters written by Vincent van Gogh; later by the works of Aribert Reimann, Wolfgang Rihm and Christian Dachez. In 2017 she performed 13 songs inspired by postcards written by Jurek Becker and composed by Miroslav Srnka in concerts in Munich and at the Salzburg Mozarteum with Tobias Truniger on the piano. During the Covid-Pandemic Deniz Uzun created with Yulia Levin a series of concerts named „Opera goes Folk“ at the Opernhaus Zürich, which included songs by Rodrigo Joaquín, Schostakowitsch, Kodaly etc.
Since her early youth she has not only been inspired by classical music, but also by an eclectic mix of genres, cultures and eras including such bands as Air, Radiohead and System of a Down. The sounds of Eastern European folk music, including Turkish Folk Poetry, as well as Yiddish and Sephardic songs let her repertoire grow in various directions. Her passion for world music peaked in the years 2009 to 2013 through numerous appearances with her international band Alyuvar. Most recently she performed at Komische Oper Berlin with Kardes Türküler in February 2022. In August 2022 Deniz will present a colourful program with the title „Bosporus ride- honey&blood“ at the world music festival Inselsommer in Ludwigshafen, Germany alongside Jon Wassermann (guitar, lute) and Onur Calfskin (clarinet).
A musical career like hers would not be possible without the support of the following mentors to whom a special thanks is due here: Oylun Erdayi, Annette Grossmann, Snezana Stamenkovic, Wolfgang Brendel, Andreas Poulimenos, Corradina Caporello, Kevin Murphy, Edith Wiens, Tobias Truninger, Carrie-Ann Matthesson and last but certainly not least Yulia Levin.