Photo copyright Matthias Creutziger
Photo copyright Matthias Creutziger

pianist, vocal coach, diction coach, Master teacher

Ellen Rissinger is an American Vocal Coach/Accompanist, most recently 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, and 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 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. She has worked with such conductors as Christian Thielemann, Massimiliano Zanetti, Sebastian Weigle, Roger Norrington, Mariss Jansons, John Mauceri, John Fiore, Marvin Hamlisch, George Manahan, John Demain, Hal France,  Stewart Robertson, Ward Holmquist and Joseph Rescigno, and accompanied Mastercalsses for Deborah Voigt, Ermanno Mauro, Bernard Uzan, Diana Soviero, Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart, Warren Jones, John Wustman and Regine Crespin.


Since 2005 she has been a much-sought-after master teacher with many of the music programs in Europe, including: The Centre for Operatic Studies in Italy (COSI) in Sulmona, Italy; Scandinavian Vocal Academy (Gothenburg, Sweden); 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 and opera festivals, including: Wolf Trap Opera; Akademie Ljubljana (Ljubljana, Slovenia): Berks Opera Company (Reading, PA); Carnegie Mellon University; Oklahoma City UniversityBoston Conservatory; Oklahoma City University; Murray State University; The Hartt School; Western Connecticut University; University of Louisville; and the Boston NATS Chapter.


Her operatic repertoire includes all styls from Monteverdi's Orfeo (1605) through to the World Premiere of The Merchant of Venice (2013) by Andre Tschaikovsky and the European premiere of The Great Gatsby (2015) by John Harbison. 


Recently moved back to the United States, she has since given masterclasses at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Eastern Michigan University, as well as recitals with Dr. Kevin Hanrahan, and has opened a private coaching studio in Philadelphia and New York.


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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