Michael Schade © www.lukasbeck.com (Ausschnitt)
Michael Schade is not only an acclaimed opera singer but also an equally passionate Lied performer. If you were asked what is special about Michael Schade's art, you could describe him as a self-confessed lyricist.
Michael Schade made a name for himself as a Mozart tenor and he grew from prince to king in this repertoire. But he also sings a selection of Strauss roles, as well as roles such as Florestan, Max and Fierrabras. And from there, it isn't much of a leap to Wagner. Last May, he made his eagerly-awaited role debut as Stolzing in Glyndebourne, a role he has since sung at La Scala in Milan.
Schade says he was greatly influenced by the long and intensive collaboration with his great mentor, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, whose ideal of «Music as speech» he continues to uphold as manager of the Baroque Festival Stift Melk. The discipline he demands of himself is based on his credo of absolute dedication to the text, which is a prerequisite for the truthfulness of interpretation. His «100-percent commitment to verse» applies particularly to Franz Schubert, in whose Lieder Schade insists naturalness should not be confused with naivety. «It's all about true feelings. Emotions are laid bare.»
Schade will also be making a Schubert debut. While «Die schöne Müllerin» has been part of the tenor's repertoire for more than 15 years, he has never sung «Winterreise» before. Together with his long-standing partner Malcolm Martineau, Schade will embark on this lonely Winter’s Journey for the first time in the Mozart Hall.
Even though he is equally at home in the belcanto and French operatic repertoire, Michael Schade feels especially at home in the German repertoire -- understandable given his personal roots and background which he says informed his «German voice». His parents came from Gelsenkirchen, but Schade himself was born in Geneva. From there, the family emigrated to Canada in 1977, when he was just 12. Even though his boy soprano attracted attention in a choir in Toronto, he never imagined making a career in the arts. He was interested in ornithology. For this reason, he feels Papageno in Mozart’s «Magic Flute» would be a more appropriate role for him than the Prince. «But when I studied the role of Tamino, for the first time, I knew that Mozart must have composed it for a voice like mine.»
Michael Schade rounds off his portrait series with a meticulously assembled evening surrounding Clara and Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, complete with Brahms' rarely-performed cantata, «Rinaldo». And he also pays tribute to his chosen home of Vienna. After taking on the role of Eisenstein for the first time at the end of last year at the Vienna State Opera, he will perform a varied operetta evening with the Janoska Ensemble.