Marianne Barrett was born and educated in Germany. She studied voice and literature in Munich. In New York, she started her career teaching and coaching at Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music and the Juilliard School. She is proud to be still on the faculty of Juilliard despite her commitment to the Metropolitan Opera, where she began as Diction Coach in 2008. Since 2013 she has coached almost every German opera at the Met, from Rosenkavalier, 2013, through Wagner’s Ring, 2019, to Wozzeck, 2020. She coaches at the Santa Fe Opera in the summer, and occasionally accepts invitations to other US opera houses. At Ravinia and other renowned summer programs, she helps gifted young singers from all over the world to connect German poetry with music.
Her guiding principle is the same when working with established singers on the Met stage and aspiring young singers of the Lindemann Program: “Diction is not just a matter of pronunciation but of understanding the melody of the language.” Brian Zeger, artistic director of Vocal Arts at Juilliard, writes of their work on a 2019 Alice Tully Hall student recital of Winterreise, Marianne Barrett’s “passion for music and poetry sets a standard for us all.” This passion has informed her career at the Met.
In a New York Times review of Der Rosenkavalier, 2013,
da Fonseca-Wollheim writes, “Nuances of speech are crucial to the wit and the pathos of the opera. That every word came through clearly is surely due in part to the production’s German coach, Marianne Barrett."