Soprano Darlene Bennett's 2018 - 19 season marked her happy return to the opera stage after an extended hiatus. As many successful artists in past years, she chose to focus on family responsibilities first rather than the demands associated with the opera lifestyle. This turned out to be a positive benefit to Darlene as her voice had not only matured but was in pristine condition having been quiet, and well rested, during this hiatus which many artists would have loved to experience.
Since returning to the main stage, and slowly performing to re-establish her vocal center, she has not only surprised many with her vocal talents, but has many commenting on the quality of her singing and total stage presence. It is as if Darlene never took a break in her career and has only grown better as time passed. She is taking her return seriously including programs aimed at polishing her abilities and vocal performance as well as working with her well known world class voice teacher, Patricia McCaffrey, and voice coach, William Vendice and Danny Beckwith.
Season highlights included a return to New York Lyric Opera in October 2018 as La Fèe in Cendrillon (concert version ) after her debut in May as Donna Anna in the Don Giovanni Quartet, Weill Hall Gala Opera Scenes. Darlene also appeared with Opera Night Long Island concert series in August and November 2018.
Spring/Summer 2019 highlights included Sherrill Milnes' "Opera as Drama" program in March 2019, a return to Opera Night Long Island in April 2019, and her professional role debut as the Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro (recitatives in English, arias/ensembles in Italian) with Geneva Light Opera (Geneva, NY) in July 2019. Darlene closed out her season with a second role debut as Mother Jeanne in Dialogues of the Carmelites at the Savannah Voice Festival in August 2019.
Darlene performed a number of Mozart roles in the early years of her career (1991 - 2001) including Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte (Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Carolina, Kentucky Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra), Sandrina in La Finta Giardiniera (Wolf Trap Opera) and Madame Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor (Juilliard Opera, National Symphony Orchestra), as well as Verdi's Gilda in Rigoletto (Chautauqua Opera). Other notable credits included covers in Parsifal and Ghosts of Versailles (Metropolitan Opera) and numerous concert/oratorio engagements. Darlene is a graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center and the University of Michigan.