Denise Bassen / Denise Bonnet


Denise graduated from the Mannes College of Music, thanks to a full scholarship grant from the Helena Rubinstein Foundation to complete her senior year.

Soprano Three years later, she was a Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in New York, singing the roles of Lucia and Musetta, under the name “Denise Bonnet”.

She was accepted by Alberta Masiello, assistant conductor at the Metropolitan, (and perennial panelist for the weekly radio broadcasts) to study Italian opera roles and diction.   Her voice teacher was Sebastian Engelberg, a recognized authority and effective teacher of vocal technique.

She has performed as a soloist in the Mozart Requiem, Mozart C Minor Mass, the Haydn Lord Nelson Mass, and Handel’s Jeptha.   Her operatic roles have included Lucia, Musetta, Juliette, The Queen of the Night, the Countess in Figaro, Hansel, and the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors.

She has also performed chamber recitals in the tri-state area with Montage, a guitar-voice-flute trio.

In Europe, she was offered the role of Musetta in Frankfurt (ZBF, agent,) and the role of Filina in Vienna (Gerstarker-Raab, agent.)

A native French speaker, Denise especially likes to perform French opera and art song.  

Recordings of Denise singing are available below.
(also see her Videos page)

Accompanists are William Ashby, Piano;
Yalin Chi, Piano (on Denise's compositions);
Elizabeth Hastings, Piano (at Cami Hall);
Herbert Levine, Classical Guitar;
and Peter Krauss, Organ.

See Denise's Videos

Song playing is Denise singing Salce (Willow song and Ave Maria) as Desdemona from Verdi's Othello.

Other Song Choices are: Verdi's entire Salce; Cilea-Io Son L'umile Ancella; Donizetti-Regnava nel Silenzio; Bassen-Lake Isle at Innisfree; Bassen-He and She; Bassen-Cradle Song (lyrics from 3 poems by W.B. Yeats ); Bassen-Full Fathom Five (lyric from Ariel's song in Shakespeare's "The Tempest"); Dowland-Flow My Tears; Traditional-Nobody Knows (the Troubles I've Seen); Gershwin-The Man I Love; Dowland-Come Heavy Sleep; Bach-Quia Respexit (Magnificat); Schubert-Tod und das Mädchen; Debussy-Green; Ravel-Vocalize/Habanera; and Meyerbeer-Noble Seigneurs, Salut! (Les Huguenots)

Denise Bassen, Soprano. Photo taken by Herb Levine

Ominously beautiful
… did full justice to the coloratura passages-
— Middletown Press

…Gloriously regal as the Countess
...sang in rich tones -
— Poughkeepsie Journal

…an extraordinary voice that displays a depth and richness throughout her enormous range
… negotiates the most difficult passagework
with an innate flexibility and
a deep understanding of the material -
— William Glazier, professional accompanist, 2004


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