Festival d’Aix en Provence - Mahagonny - summer 2019 - it was HOT, HOT, HOT! One of my favorite roles and a new favorite conductor - Esa-Pekka Salonen - a magician!
I don’t like facebook posts about colleagues, friends or family members that passed away. But this moment was something special. Yes, la divina Montserrat Caballé has left us and to sing her requiem was not only moving to tears it reminded me also that staying humble as a singer is of utmost importance for me.
Of course it was a big pleasure to sing finally at the Salzburg Festival. When I studied at the Mozarteum I attended so many wonderful rehearsals there like for example Solti conducting “Die Frau ohne Schatten” and I always dreamt to be one day part of the game.
Tiefland is unfortunately rarely done, even in Germany. So Bravo to the Capitole de Toulouse to put it on the schedule. It’s a wonderful, breathtaking drama and with “Pedro” I have a new favorite role.
To sing Mahagonny at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires and in the wonderful production of Marcelo Lombardero was really something! And it’s true: the acoustics at the Colon is marvelous.
A dream come true – my first Eléazar in Lyon. One of the most rewarding experiences ever - now I can understand why it was one of Caruso’s favourite roles.
Recording of Otello for Pentatone, Flying Dutchman in Seattle and my debut in South America with Mahagonny in Santiago de Chile.
Carmen at the Liceu and two wonderful operetta recordings: “Der Zigeunerbaron” (The Gipsy-Baron) with Pentatone and “Die Polnische Hochzeit” (Polish Wedding) with cpo (see discography).
After Carmen in Hamburg and Oedipus Rex in Paris, my first Lohengrin in Amsterdam.
I was supposed to sing Parsifal at the Easter Festival in Salzburg but with the change of conductor it became Carmen at the Met. Not a bad exchange at all !
Definitely a good year : Parsifal in Washington with Christoph Eschenbach and Thomas Hampson as a stunning Amfortas.
My first Siegmund on stage in Valencia under the baton of Zubin Mehta.
Then along came Florestan in Lyon and Cavaradossi in Cologne.
Another Carmen, my second in Paris, this time at the Bastille.
Gurrelieder with Zubin Mehta at the Musikverein in Vienna and a wonderful production of Parsifal in Lyon by François Girard.
First Bacchus in Valencia, first Loge in Montreal and Mahler 8th with Christoph Eschenbach on tour, with Antonio Pappano in Rome and with Daniele Gatti in Paris.
Return to my homeland: first collaboration with Robert Carsen for the Turn of the Screw at the Theater an der Wien.
Carmen at the Baden-Baden Festival and first collaboration with Lawrence Foster also for Carmen in Hamburg. Mahagonny in Toulouse. Norma at the Châtelet.
Another dream come true: my recitals with Christoph Eschenbach at the piano. “Dichterliebe” among others - time stood still in the postlude of “Hör’ ich das Liedchen klingen”...
Debut at the Teatro Real in Madrid with Steva in Jenufa. As often in Madrid there were two casts. Can you imagine that we had both Deborah Polaski AND Anja Silja as Kostelnicka?!
Back to Munich for my first Erik in the Flying Dutchman with Bryn Terfel and Matti Salminen and a crazy production by Harry Kupfer of the Merry Widow in Hamburg.
Bassarids by Henze in Munich, Freischütz in Geneva and my first Gurrelieder – one of my favourite pieces – in Barcelona. (see discography)
Big step for my career : my first Parsifal in Munich. Placido Domingo had pulled out of the production and I was the lucky guy to replace HIM, the one and only. In the following years I returned to Munich for this role.
My first Carmen in Paris, the city that has become my home.
“Heavy stuff”: 1 st act of Walküre in Berlin with Marek Janowsky, Hérodiade with Agnes Baltsa for the Bayrische Rundfunk and above all the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with Christoph Eschenbach – Siegfried in Götterdämmerung at the Châtelet in Paris.
My first Don José (at the Opéra de Lausanne). A role that would accompany my career and which became my lucky charm.
Big changes in my career. I decided to go freelance, sacked my old agent and sang at the operetta festival in Mörbisch. It was one of those moments when everything comes together. Fortunately they made DVD and the TV broadcast led to great new opportunities. (see discography)
Tough start for my Nuremberg years: cancer-treatment. But the chemotherapy fortunately did a good job and I immediately went back on stage. In these years I had the chance to sing some lighter roles like Don Ottavio, Ferrando, Nemorino or Fenton and I learned a lot about singing in these years.
Capriccio and Traviata in Sydney during the Olympics or “Lympics”, as they said. The conductor of both pieces was Philippe Auguin and he invited me then to join the opera company of Nuremberg.
Alfredo was the role I sang the most in the first years of my career. Here at the Scottish Opera.
My debut on stage: Alfredo (La Traviata). This was the beginning of my 9 “years in the galleys” as a permanent member with German opera companies. Gelsenkirchen, Mannheim and Nuremberg. Hard times – a lot to learn – but rewarding. And good company on the galley benches: two of my most illustrious colleagues of these years were Anja Harteros and Diana Damrau.
Studies at the “Mozarteum” in Salzburg, where I finally found the right teacher for me, Boris Bakow, whom I also owe the success in changing from baritone to tenor. I was rewarded the Lilli-Lehman- Medal and won the prize for the best Austrian singer at my very first competition (Ferruccio Tagliavini).
I was always fascinated by technology and everything that meant being creative with one’s hands. I grew up in a scientists’ household and so it was clear that I would study technology but besides, I was continuing with my musical education until the urge to sing and to become an opera-singer was so strong that I left everything behind to follow my dream.
I learned to play the recorder and after having tortured my family with my violin for two years, I started at the age of about 15 to play the piano and saxophone.
7 years old, my first stage appearance - singing a traditional folk-song.
I was born in Graz/Austria in 1969. A perfect year to be born. I grew up in the countryside. Since my sister was nearly 6 years older than me, I used to play alone most of the time and to avoid boredom I entertained myself with…singing. My parents say that I had a beautiful and clear soprano voice. They thought about sending me to boarding school with the “Vienna Boys’ Choir” – I’m glad they didn’t.