Soprano Debra Rentz, a native of Illinois, has performed extensively in opera, operetta, oratorio, recitals and orchestral concerts. Rentz has performed leading roles with many professional companies, including Chicago Opera Theater, Chicago Light Opera, Pamiro Opera, and Boston Academy of Music. Rentz’s operatic roles include Gilda in Rigoletto, Violetta in La Traviata, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Pamina and First Lady in The Magic Flute and Naiad in Ariadne auf Naxos. Ms. Rentz has become a specialist in the performance of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and performed a wide variety of roles including Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Patience in Patience, Gianetta and Casilda in The Gondoliers and Constance in The Sorcerer. One memorable performance was the role of Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore on board the USS Constitution through the collaborative efforts of the Boston Academy of Music and the U.S. Navy. Other operetta performances include the American stage premiere of Emmerich Kalman’s Duchess of Chicago with Chicago Light Opera and Hanna in Lehar’s The Merry Widow.
Debra has also performed a variety of oratorio and pops concerts. She has been a featured soloist in Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Mass in Time of War, Schumann’s Requiem, Mozart’s Vesperae solennes and Orff’s Carmina Burana. Ms. Rentz has performed with the St. Louis, Cedar Rapids, River Valley, Omaha, Owensboro, Richmond, Elmhurst, River Cities and Fox Valley Symphonies. In addition, Rentz has sung several performances of Samuel Barber’s orchestral work Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Rentz remains an active performer, currently focusing on chamber music, recital and oratorio repertoire.
Debra received a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance and Music History from Illinois State University and a Master’s of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Illinois. Debra is currently the chair of the voice area at Ohio University and teaches applied voice and song literature. Debra’s students have enjoyed success at the state and regional levels of the NATS Student Auditions, as well as the National Student Competitions, and the MTNA Young Artist competition. Many students have been accepted into and attended prestigious graduate programs, including Eastman School of Music, Westminster Choir College, Indiana State University, and Texas Tech. Students have also participated in a variety of summer programs, including Si parla, si canta, Oberlin in Italy, Emerald City Opera, Tokaj Summer Opera Program, Opera Viva, Opera Breve, Opera Midwest, Opera Lucca and the Berlin Opera Academy. Debra is honored to serve on the governing board of the Ohio NATS chapter, and she holds professional memberships with the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Kappa Lambda, Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), Delta Omicron, and she is the faculty advisor for the Ohio University Student NATS chapter. Debra lives in Athens, Ohio with her husband John and their sons, Sam and Jacob.