Photo copyright Matthias Creutziger
Photo copyright Matthias Creutziger

pianist, vocal coach, diction coach, Master teacher

Ellen Rissinger is an American Vocal Coach/Accompanist on the music staff of the Sächsische Staatsoper (Semperoper) in Dresden, Germany. She came to European attention in December of 2008, when she accompanied a performance of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk for the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf on one hour's notice.


She started her career in the United States working with companies such as the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Opera, Kentucky Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Baltimore Opera, Knoxville Opera, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. She was music director of Glimmerglass Opera's 25th Anniversary tour and of Opera Iowa and was on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University for several years.


In 2003, Ellen moved to Germany, where she has since worked at the Semperoper, Oper Frankfurt, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Stadttheater Pforzheim, Mainfranken Theater Würzburg. In 2013 she worked with Bregenz Opera Festival on the World Premiere of Andre Tschaikovsky's The Merchant of Venice. 


Since 2005 she has been a much-sought-after master teacher with many of the summer music programs in Europe, including: The International Performing Arts Institute (IPAI) in Kiefersfelden, Germany; The International Music Festival of the Adriatic (IMFA) in Duino, Italy; University of Miami's summer program in Salzburg, Austria; AIMS in Graz, Austria; as well as at many universities throughout the US, including: Boston Conservatory; Oklahoma City University; Murray State University; The Hartt School; Western Connecticut University and the Boston NATS Chapter, among others.


Ellen holds a B.F.A. in Piano-Performance from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, as well as an M.M. in Accompanying from the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music. She continued her training in the young artist programs of Aspen Opera Theater Center, Des Moines Metro Opera, Florida Grand Opera and Glimmerglass Opera.


As the producer and host of The Diction Police podcast since April 2010, she has led the way for classical singers and coaches from all over the world to hone their foreign language skills. Its companion site, The Diction Police: Special Diction Unit, offers phonetic transcriptions, poetic and word-for-word translations and interviews on song and opera texts for a more complete experience. Ellen is fluent in German and English, is conversant in Italian, French, Spanish and Modern Greek, and continues to work on her conversational ability in Russian. 

The Diction Police

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