KSCH Otto Schenk was born in Vienna in 1930 and experienced a childhood strongly influenced by the horrors of the Nazi regime.
After his education at the Max Reinhardt Seminar, he made his acting debut in Vienna. The first places of appearance in his career were the Theater an der Josefstadt and the Wiener Volkstheater. As of 1953 he also worked as theatre director and as of 1957, as opera director. Very soon his career led him to the world´s most important stages, for example the Wiener Burgtheater, the Münchner Kammerspiele, the New York Met, La Scala in Milan, the ROH Covent Garden, the Bayerische and Hamburgische Staatsoper or the Deutsche Oper Berlin. From 1965 to 1990 he was leading stage director at the Wiener Staatsoper, between 1986 and 1988 he was member of the Board of the Salzburger Festspiele, between 1988 and 1997 director of the Theater in der Josefstadt. Furthermore, he appeared in numerous television plays. He has staged about 30 different operas at the Wiener Staatsoper and furthermore performed as Frosch here.
Adam Fischer was born in Budapest in 1949 and studied composition and conducting first in Budapest and then later in a class by Hans Swarowsky in Vienna. His first engagement led him to the Opernhaus Graz as répétiteur. After that he soon became first capellmeister at the opera house in Helsinki, at the Staatstheater Karlsruhe and at the Bayerische Staatsoper. Between 1981 and 1983 he was GMD in Freiburg, 1987 to1992 in Kassel, 2000 to 2005 in Mannheim. Between 2007 and 2010 he was artistic director of the Hungarian State Opera.
He regularly conducts at the great opera houses in Europe and the USA, for example at the New York Met, La Scala, at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, in Bayreuth. In 1987 he was co-initiator of the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt. Since 1998 he is also chief conductor of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra. As concert conductor he appears at the world´s most important music centres. He made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 1980 with Otello and has conducted a large number of performances here, for example Rosenkavalier, Fledermaus, Der Ring des Nibelungen, Fidelio, Cavalleria rusticana, Mozart/Da Ponte-
After having completed his studies in history, German studies, musicology and philosophy, German baritone THOMAS JOHANNES MAYER studied vocal arts at the Cologne music academy with Liselotte Hammes and Kurt Moll. After first engagements in Regensburg, Darmstadt and Karlsruhe he changed to the Hamburgische Staatsoper. His international career began in 2007/2008 as Wozzeck at La Scala in Milan. Since then he has guested at opera houses such as the Hamburgische Staatsoper, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, at the Paris Opera, in Valencia, at the New National Theatre Tokyo, at the Opernhaus Zürich, the Aalto Theater in Essen, in Leipzig, Berlin as well as at the Salzburger Festspiele, in Bregenz and in Bayreuth. Amongst his parts are Wotan/Wanderer (Der Ring des Nibelungen), Posa (Don Carlo), Scarpia (Tosca), leading role in Mathis der Maler, vier Bösewichter (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Mandryka (Arabella), Kaspar (Der Freischütz), Jochanaan (Salome), title role in Rigoletto, Barak (Die Frau ohne Schatten), leading role in Der fliegende Holländer.
The German soprano Anne Schwanewilms is among the most renowned Strauss and Wagner interpreters of our time. Famous conductors and orchestras have accompanied her both on opera and concert stages. She for example collaborated with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Leipziger Gewandhausorchester, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France. As a renowned lied singer, she closely works together with leading pianists, with whom she has performed on international concert podiums, for example at the Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona, Strasbourgh, Madrid, Amsterdam, London (Wigmore Hall) or Washington (Kennedy Center).
Three solo CDs – with the WDR Sinfonie Orchester, the Guerzenich Orchester and Das himmlische Leben with pianist Charles Spencer – were published in 2012. Anne Schwanewilms´ exceptional artistry was appreciated when she was elected singer of the year in a survey of the magazine Opernwelt in 2002. At the Wiener Staatsoper she sang roles like Elisabeth, Chrysothemis and Arabella.
Roles at the Wiener Staatoper 2014/2015: Arabella, Chrysothemis.
Soprano Chen Reiss was trained in New York and was ensemble member of the Bayerische Staatsoper, where she sang roles such as Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), Oscar (Un ballo in maschera), Servilia (La clemenza di Tito) and Gilda (Rigolett). Soon debuts at the Semperoper Dresden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Hamburgische Staatsoper, the Oper Frankfurt and the Philadelphia Opera followed.
In 2010 she interpreted Nannetta (Falstaff) at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees under the direction of Daniele Gatti. At the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, under the direction of Zubin Mehta, she sang Blonde (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) and debuted in the Philharmonie Köln as Adele (Die Fledermaus). In 2011 she sang Gilda at the Wiener Festwochen. She sang concerts at the Festivals in Salzburg, Ludwigsburg, Luzern or Rheingau. In her new solo album Liaisons, which was recently awarded the Diapason d’Or, Chen Reiss for example sings arias of Mozart and Haydn. A DVD live recording of Faure´s Requiem under the direction of Paavo Järvi has just been released. She made her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2009 as Sophie and has since sung roles such as Pamina, Elvira, Waldvogel, Adina, Servilia, Xenia here.
CLEMENS UNTERREINER was born in Vienna. In 1998 he began his vocal art studies with Hilde Rössel-Majdan, Gottfried Hornik, Helena Lazarska and Wicus Slabbert. Numerous national and international opera and operetta productions as well as lied evenings, oratories and church concerts. Guest soloist in the Große Saal of the Wiener Musikverein, at the Wiener Konzerthaus, Palau de la Musica and other international concert halls. Member of the ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper since 2005, where Clemens Unterreiner for example sang Sharpless, Faninal, Donner, Harlekin, Melot, Brétigny, Schtschelkalow, Oberpriester des Apollon(Alceste), Happy (La fanciulla del West), Musiklehrer (Ariadne auf Naxos),Schaunard. Also as guest soloist at the Volksoper Wien he very successfully performed as Papageno or Sharpless. Further engagements led him to the New York Carnegie Hall, the Royal Opera House Copenhagen, to the Strasbourgh Opera, the Salzburger Festspiele, Opera de Nice, Linzer Landestheater, the Oper Chur, the Sommerfestspiele Heidenheim as well as to the Richard Wagner Festival Budapest.
KS WOLFGANG BANKL comes from Vienna, received training in Violin and studied singing, Lied and Oratorium as well as opera at the Conservatoire of Vienna. He received initial engagements at the Vienna Kammeroper, the Opera House Kiel and the Tiroler Landestheater. Guest performances led him, among others, to Zurich, Hamburg, Cologne, Barcelona, Salzburg, Strasbourg, the Milan Scala, to the Vienna Festwochen, Bregenz, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Rome and Paris. He recently gave his debut as Baron Ochs auf Lerchenau in Dresden under the direction of Christian Thielemann. Together with Norbert Pfafflmeyer, Harald Kollegger and Schmerzhel v. Solchgemut, he established the travelling Kleinfestival Giro d’Arte. Since 1993, he is an ensemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper and has since then sung here among others: Papageno, Alberich (Rheingold), Doktor (Wozzeck), Klingsor, Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Harašta (Schlaues Füchslein), Frank, Graf Waldner, Bartolo (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Hauptmann (Boris Godunow), Ochs, Geisterbote (Die Frau ohne Schatten), Tierbändiger/Athlet (Lulu), Ringender (Die Jakobsleiter), Zirkusdirektor (Der Riese vom Steinfeld), La Roche, Leporello, Dreieinigkeitsmoses (Mahagonny), Swallow (Peter Grimes). He has been awarded the title "Österreichischer Kammersänger".
MICHAEL LAURENZ comes from Halle an der Saale in Germany and started his career in music as a trumpeter, playing e.g. with Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and later on as first trumpet with Berliner Symphoniker. In 2006 he turned his focus towards singing. After some time as a member of Opernstudio Zurich, he became an ensemble member in the same city in 2010. The same year, he made his debut at Bregenz Festival, where he returned in 2014. Since 2010 he has been performing regularly at Opéra national de Paris, and in 2012 he debuted at Salzburg Festival. He has also sung at Bayerische Staatsoper, Musikfest Stuttgart, Staatsoper Unter den Linden and Vlaamse Opera. In 2015 he performed in Amsterdam, Milan and at Theater an der Wien, among others. His concert repertoire reaches from Bach all the way to the 20th century. He is scheduled to sing at Brecht festival Augsburg/Kurt Weill-Fest Dessau, in Glyndebourne, Lyon, Zurich, Antwerp and at Teatro alla Scala. He joined the Vienna State Opera ensemble at the beginning of the 2018 season.
Don Pizarro, the governor of a Spanish state prison, has instituted a reign of terror in his establishment. Innocent citizens aree often the political victims of his brutal nature. Florestan of Seville determines to put an end to this despotism., but in the process falls into the hands of this man of violence. For over two years he has languished in solitary confinement under inhuman conditions. His friends believe him dead, and only his ife Leonore has not given him up for lost since his disappearance. Suspecting that Florestan has been imprisoned, she enters into service as a warder with the gaoler Rocco. She carries out her heavy work in men´s clothing under the name of Fidelio, gaining he confidence of her superior and even winning the love of his daughter Marzelline. Act I In vain the gatekeeper Jacquino vies fort he affection of Marzelline. She, however, has been indifferent to his approaches ever since Fidelio has been working there. Fidelio/Leonore returns from Seville where she has been attending to some business. Rocco is once again very pleased with his new assistant´s cleverness and sense of duty very soon Fidelio and Marzelline will be united as one. Marzelline and Rocco dream of a happy future, Jacquino sees his prospects vanishing, and Fidelio / Leonore dreads the uncertainty. Then Don Pizarro appears on the scene. From a confidential letter he learns that the minister has got wind of his abuse of office, and hopes to catch Don Pizarro out with a surprise vsit. Pizarro reacts promptly tot he situation: a warder is sent to watch the main road and signal the minister´s arrival with a trumpet signal. Florestan, the most prominent victim, must be eliminated as fast as possible. As Rocco refuses to commit a murder, the gvernor determines to carry out the deed himself. However, first the gaoler must dig him a grave in the dungeon. Marzelline and Fidelio / Leonore ask Rocco to allow the petty criminals out for a while. Full of joy, the prisoners enjoy the warm spring sun – in vain Fidelio / Leonore watches for a familiar face. To her dismay she learns of Rocco´s latest task, and asks to share his heavy work in the dungeon with him. Will she have to help dig her own husband´s grave? Furious, Pizarro notices the prisoners´walking about, and will accept no excuses. Only his pressing plan to murder Florestan prevents terrible consequences. Act II In the dungeon the weakened Florestan ponders his fate. His situation seems hopeless, and he is consoled only by the knowledge that he has done his duty. In an estatic vision he imagines that he is transported to heavenly freedom by an angel with the countenance of Leonore. Rocco and Fidelio / Leonore laboriously open up a cistern. Florestan finally learns who the governor of this prison is, and wants to send word to his wife in Seville. Fidelio / Leonore now knows for certain sho the man before her is. It would seem that a light meal of bread and wine ist o be Florestan´s last earthly pleasure, when Pizarro is heard approaching. As he draws back to deal the fatal blow, Fidelio / Leonore jumps in front oft he prisoner crying „First kill his wife!“ As she points a pistol at Pizarro, the trumpet signal is heard. The arrival oft he minister promises a different turn of events: release fort he oppressed, punishment fort he oppressor. Pizarro rushes out of the dungeon, Rocco dissociates himself from his former master, and Leonore and Florestan rush delighted into one another´s arms. _ Eagerly the people and the prisoners welcome the minister Don Fernando on the parade ground in front oft he palace. In the name oft he king, the minister pronounces a general amnesty and the end of political despotism. He recognizes Florestan as his old friend long supposed dead. Leonore is allowed to release the chains oft he man who has been humiliated for so long, and Pizarro is arrested. The jubilant crown applauds the reunited couple, raising their voices in praise of true love: „Never can one extol too highly the woman who saves her own husband!“