Verena Gunz, mezzo, was born in Linz, Austria, and graduated at the School of Music and Drama at the University of Vienna on the Opera Course. This included studying Lied and Oratorio with Robert Holl. She also did a Masters degree in musicology and French. She subsequently joined the International Opera Studio, Gent/Belgium.
Verena’s operatic roles include Dorabella, Così fan tutte, the title role in Xerxes, Tisbe, La Cenerentola, Second Lady, Die Zauberflöte, Sandmännchen and Hänsel, Hänsel und Gretel, Ramiro, La finta giardiniera, Girl, Trouble in Tahiti, Dama, Macbeth (Verdi), Concepcion, L’heure Espagnole, Varvara and Feklusa, Katya Kabanova for companies such as the Glyndebourne on Tour, Theater an der Wien, Wiener Volksoper, Schlosstheater Schönbrunn (Vienna), Klangbogen Wien, Wiener Musikverein, Vlaamse Opera Gent (Belgium), Teatr Wielki in Warsaw/ Poland, and the Cantiere Internationale di Montepulciano and many other summer festivals.
She was a finalist in the Ralph Wells Prize Wagner competition in London and is currently working with Carol Blaykner-Mayo, Lionel Friend and Phillip Thomas.
She sang Suzuki in Madam Butterfly at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Sesto in La clemenza di Tito, and Carmen for Streetwise Opera at the Fortune Theatre in the West End in London. Engagements have included the cover of Mercedes in Carmen at the 02 Hall in London, the role of Nancy, Albert Herring for the Cantiere Internationale di Montepulciano in Italy, where she returned in the summer 2011 to sing Dryade in Ariadne auf Naxos. She returned there in July 2016 to sing the main role of The Journalist in David Blake’s new opera, Icarus. She has also sang Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro for Polish National Opera Warsaw and has appeared as the Mezzo Soloist in Beethoven’s 9th symphony.
She sang a concert in the Brucknerhaus in Linz with Christoph Cech’s Totentanz, and appeared in the new Meistersinger production in Glyndebourne as one of the apprentices. She is a frequent recitalist. Verena has performed as a solo Flowermaiden and 2nd Esquire in a new production of Parsifal at the Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen, and was then engaged in the same house as Ninon in Krzysztof Penderecki’s The Devils of Loudon.
In the summer 2013, Verena made a critically acclaimed debut at the Bregenz Festival as Nerissa in Keith Warner’s award winning world premiere of The Merchant of Venice by André Tchaikovsky which was broadcast live on TV (and also just recently appeared on DVD and Blu- Ray) and she also sang 2nd Lady in David Pountney’s new production of Die Zauberflöte on the lake (which was also broadcast live on TV and is published on DVD), where she was invited back in the summer 2014. Due to its success in Bregenz, Verena was asked to sing Nerissa in the revival of The Merchant of Venice at the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw.
Recent engagements included the soloist in a fully staged version of Schönberg’s Das Buch der hängenden Gärten for Neue Oper Wien/Austria, and her debut with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, performing in Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo, at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. In the near past, Verena made her successful debut for the Semperoper in Dresden/Germany in Die Königskinder and Nerissa again at Welsh National Opera in Cardiff, which also came to the ROH Covent Garden in 2017.
She covered Fricka and Flosshilde in Rheingold for Longborough Opera and has been asked frequently to sing for the Wagner Society in London.
In July 2019, Verena sang the role of the Mother in Stephen Sondheim’s Passion next to Janie Dee at the Cantiere Internationale di Montepulciano in Italy and a recital with a Schönberg/Eisler/ Weill/Sondheim program.
Future plans include a world premiere in Bolzano/Italy for Neue Oper Wien (with shows in Vienna as well) and a staged concert at a festival near Salzburg with Vienna Philharmonic Matthias Schorn.
She is a fluent English and German speaker.