The Chamber Opera of Memphis          
  founded by Susan Owen-Leinert and Michael Leinert      

Susan Owen - Leinert, soprano

General Manager of
The Chamber Opera of Memphis

The American soprano has found her success in Europe, particularly in the German repertoire. Schooled at the Universities of East Carolina and Austin, Texas, she holds a Master of Music Degree. Currently she is professor of voice at the University of Memphis, TN. After winning the Metropolitan Opera International Auditions and the Opera America Award, she set her sights on Germany, where she found many opportunities to sing such roles as Santuzza, Leonora, Amelia,Tosca, Venus/Elisabeth, Jenufa, Brünnhilde, Isolde, Färberin, Emilia Marty, Jenufa and Elektra, among others.

          Emilia Marty  Elektra

                 Jenufa: Susan Owen-Leinert, Laca (left): Christian Franz, Robert Dean Smith (right)

Ms. Owen-Leinert has performed major roles in engagements at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Semper Oper Dresden, Staatsoper Berlin Unter den Linden, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Staatstheater Kassel and Darmstadt,  Oper Bonn and others. She has sung with such renowned conductors as Christian Thielemann, Daniel Barenboim, Janos Kulka, Jiri Kout, Marc Albrecht, Stefan Soltesz and Marc Soustrout. Guest engagements took her around the world to Italy, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Austria, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, the Middle East and Cyprus.

                 Die Walküre  James Morris - Wotan

Complete live recordings of Der Ring des Nibelungen (Brünnhilde) were released on CD by Ars-Production, Germany. The music magazine Orpheus wrote “The American soprano throws herself into the part with power, passion and fire, perfect diction and a knowledge of what she is singing. An ideal Wotanstochter.” (Photo: Brünnhilde, DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN Götterdämmerung, Act 2, Kassel 1999 - Stage director: Michael Leinert)

Brünnhilde: Susan Owen-Leinert

Opernwelt: “With a large voice, precise phrasing, great diction and a rare seriousness in penetrating this role, she sings a Brünnhilde like one seldom hears today.” Her concert repertoire includes Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, Vier Letzte Lieder of Richard Strauss, Sieben Frühe Lieder of Alban Berg, Arnold Schoenberg’s  Gurre-Lieder and Gustav Mahler’s 8th Symphony.  Ms Owen-Leinert has sung recitals in Europe and the United States with acclaim, recently in Düsseldorf at the renowned Heinrich Heine & Robert Schumann Festival 2006. She was invited by several radio stations, for instance, Radio France - Paris, where she premiered Zygmunt Krauze’s La Terre. Rolf Liebermann, well-known composer and former Intendant of the Hamburgische Staatsoper wrote: “This great international success would not have happened without her beautiful voice and impressive musicality!"
Susan Owen-Leinert is Professor for Voice at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music - The University of Memphis and the editor of the first complete edition of 105 Klavierlieder by Louis Spohr (1784 - 1859) with the German music publisher Dohr, Cologne.


Michael Leinert

 Artistic Director and stage director of The Chamber Opera of Memphis

Born 1942 in Meldorf / Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. His father,
Dr. Friedrich Leinert, was a well-known composer (a pupil of Arnold Schoenberg), conductor and Professor of Music in Hannover. Michael Leinert studied Music (Oboe), German Literature and History of the Arts at the University of Munich and Detmold. His teachers of Drama Direction and Opera Direction were Professor August Everding, Professor Heinz Arnold and Professor Götz Friedrich.  In 1970 he became a Dramaturg and director for drama and opera at the Theater of Kiel. Following this appointment, came further engagements as Dramaturg and stage director at the State Theater of Braunschweig, the State Opera of Hamburg (Everding / v.Dohnanyi) and the State Opera of Munich (Everding). In 1985, Michael Leinert became the personal assistant of General-Intendant Tobias Richter (State Theater of Bremen). In 1988 he was appointed Artistic Director and General Manager of  Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern and from 1991-1999 he was the Artistic Director and General Manager of the State Theater of Kassel.  In autumn 1999 Leinert started his  position as Chefdramaturg (Artistic Assistant) and stage director of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Duesseldorf-Duisburg. Mr. Leinert has been invited to direct plays and operas in Germany, Italy, Denmark, Russia, The United States and Cyprus.

He created and directed the first Cypriote Opera "Manoli" by Vassos Arghyrides and Giorgos Neophytou, also the world premiere of Ingomar Gruenauer's "Amleth and Fengo" in Heidelberg and Jürg Baur's first Chamberopera (Libretto: M. Leinert after Chechov's "The novel with the contrabass", 2005) in Duesseldorf.  At Palm Beach Opera, Florida, Leinert directed successfully "Samson et Dalila", The Flying Dutchman" and in 2002 Wagner's "Tannhaeuser". With great acclaim from International press, he directed in 2002 at the National Theatre of Cyprus in Nicosia the World Premiere of  the Greek translation of Goethe's FAUST by the famous poet Nikos Kazantzakis.  At the Chamber Opera of Hamburg he directed Donizetti's "Il Borgomastro di Saardam", Mozart's "Le nozze di Figaro", Giovanni Paisiello's "Il barbiere di Siviglia" and Wagner's "Das Liebesverbot". In March 2006 he produced successfully the opera HAMLET by Ambroise Thomas at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Duesseldorf-Duisburg. In March 2007 he produces the play DON JUAN by Molière with The Cyprus Theatre Organisation in Nicosia/Cyprus.

HAMLET Ophélie's Mad - Scene: Marlis Petersen  


Michael Leinert's greatest international achievements as a director are: Don Giovanni, Der Ring des Nibelungen (1997 - 99), Tristan und Isolde, Tannhäuser, Der Fliegende Holländer (Kassel, Aachen, Heidenheim, Ferrara, Parma, Padua, Palm Beach Opera/Florida),Wozzeck,Tosca, La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, Il tabarro, Gianni Schicchi, Manon Lescaut , Rigoletto, Jenufa, Sibelius' The maiden in the tower and Rachmaninow's Francesca da Rimini (First Premiere in Germany), Pagliacci,  Cavalleria rusticana and Ernst Krenek's Orpheus und Eurydike. His stage direction of Jan Cikker's Das Erdbeben in Chile (First  Premiere in Germany)  got the  rating: "Best  production of the month" from the Opera Magazine Orpheus International. For his stage direction of Leoncavallo's PAGLIACCI at the Operahouse of Halle he received a nomination in the OPERNWELT Year Book 1994/95 (Critic's inquiry) for his "expresssive Regie".

Nedda: Frauke Nehrig

Michael  Leinert produced many theatre plays, such as from Friedrich Schiller, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Witold Gombrowicz, Jean Racine and Molière among others. Leinert founded the First European Drama Competition ( in connection with the world's greatest exhibition for Modern Art: documenta IX in Kassel, 1992), promoted by Sir Peter Ustinov and Professor August Everding.
He performed also successfully experimental authors and modern music composers as Mauricio Kagel (Presentation, Pas de cinq, Himmelsmechanik, etc.), John Cage (Theatre piece; 4:33), Bent Lorentzen (Perogolesi's Home Service), Wilfried Hiller (IJOB - world premiere at the Bavarian State Opera of Munich, Opera Festival 1979 with Lorenz Fehenberger, tenor), Hans-Joachim Hespos (Nachtvorstellung, world premiere 1987 in Bremen/Concordia)

                                                                                                     Hans-Joachim Hespos NACHTVORSTELLUNG   

György Ligeti (Rondeau), Jörg Wyttenbach (Streichquartett), Manfred Trojahn, Dieter Schnebel (Nostalgie - Solo for conductor without an orchestra)  , Manfred Niehaus, Marc Neikrug (Through roses), Karlheinz Stockhausen, Hans Jürgen von Bose (BLUTBUND, world premiere at Hamburgische Staatsoper) and others. He translated Jean Sibelius' "Maiden in the tower" into the German language as well as Donizetti's " Il pazzi per progetto" and Tom Johnson's "The four note opera".


     Mozart Don Giovanni, Kassel 1997 Nidia Palacios (Zerlina), Sedat Ötztoprak (Don Giovanni), Cyril Assaf (Masetto)

He has written and directed many Radio Plays, several opera libretti and three musical plays for children.  His biography of the German Romantic Composer Carl Maria von Weber is published in the fifth edition by the well-known Rowohlt Verlag (Serie Monografien) and has been translated into Swedish and Chinese. Michael Leinert has taught as a Guest Professor of Opera History and Opera Literature and Drama at the Universities of Bremen, Braunschweig, Hamburg and Munich. At Robert-Schumann-Hochschule Düsseldorf he gave lessons in stage direction for the Opera Department. He was one of the directors of the Memphis Opera & Song Academy at the University of Memphis, Tennesse / USA, a summer academy for singers (2007/08 - 2008/09). 

Michael Leinert  was for many years the Artistic Director of several "Studios for Contemporary Experimental Music Theatre" in Germany, for example in Kiel, where he was also the Director of  "Musica nova" (1970 - 1974); later in Braunschweig, Coburg, at the Hamburgische Staatsoper (Opera stabile), at the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich (together with Walter Haupt) and in Bremen.  

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