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April 2001 - Nr. 4


The Editor
Glaubt es kaum
Hier O.K. Berlin!
Michael Schade
Deutsches Theater
Views & Reviews
Down On The Town
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Total Health
Toronto Operetta
100th Dietrich
Wagner Festival
Andreas Gursky
In Brief
Reading Era
Auto City
English: No
Exiled Writer
Trojan Horse
USable Ideas

Michael Schade - A Tenor For Our Times

by Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

All sorts of complimentary things are being said about Michael Schade, no matter where one goes. Many of the great musical houses in Europe cannot imagine a season without Michael Schade. Especially Vienna, his home away from home, has gotten used to his presence. From there he travels to perform in Berlin, Dresden and Hanover (February 2001), Frankfurt (May11), Bonn (June 11), Graz (June20), Hamburg (June 30), Steensgard (July 7), Stuttgart (August24), and he accommodated New York in February and March to rave reviews, to return there in August of this year mostly for the Mozart Festival and the recording of the Mozart Requiem. This takes care of just a bit more than half the year.

Michael Schade during a break at rehearsalThe rest of the world is vying for what is left over in a busy schedule that brings him to Canada, his home, very rarely these days. In the year 2001 he will only perform in Toronto for the Canadian Opera Company in April (7-22) in Mozart’s Idomineo and a solo recital on April26 (Aldeburgh Connection). On the news release Richard Bradshaw, the COC’s General Director, uses the words "A hero’s homecoming", and we are not quite sure if he means it as a reference to the homecoming of Idomineo, a story as tragic as that of Odysseus, perhaps even more so, or if he is in fact referring to Michael Shade’s homecoming to Toronto and the COC. Here we do no longer speak of stellar engagements, we refer to solar ones, and justly so. Reviewers and critics are running out of attributes to praise the young tenor’s voice and stage presence. His expressiveness and impeccable sense of style did not only make him a favourite at the Canadian Opera Company and at the Vienna Staatsoper but also makes him popular at the Met, L’Opera de Paris, La Scala and San Francisco Opera.

Some time this summer will be reserved for traditional family life, as traditional as it can be when both parents are immersed in the world of classical music. It is a universe with very specific demands, needs and requirements, and, like in all forms of work when travel is a necessity, the planning of family life is very important.

Michael Schade is as sincere as a father as he is about being a singer, a tenor. He and his wife Noreen, also a singer, a vibrant alto with an electrifying energy, agree that their daughter Sophie should grow up with a good appreciation of music and have as much as is possible a stable life. That does not mean that father goes to work and only takes occasional time out to be with the family, no, the togetherness is meticulously planned and jealously guarded. Family life is approached with a professional attitude, much like everything else in Michael’s life. He can shut out any disturbing element while working and never looses control of what he is doing right there and right then. This form of control even becomes apparent while talking with him. While he is terribly relaxed about talking on any subject coming up, he never looses control of the conversation. He regulates the flow and direction masterfully, and the other person feels like a partner in the conversation, even though he calls the stops and goes; and no one seems to mind. He is simply very certain of himself and comes across as a highly intelligent, well meaning charmer, rather than a domineering arrogant. He never minces words, says what he means, and is not afraid to have an opinion.

His view on life was recently much tested, when both his parents fell sick and recovery was not that swift. Especially his mother still needs to go on with life-saving therapies. Instead of despairing he uses all he has learned from his parents and the stage as therapy for himself. "Life feeds art, and art feeds life," he says. " On stage I can rage, murder, have an affair, all those things that are not an option in real life." He thinks that one has to know some things to interpret them in song. "It would be like singing ‘Die schöne Müllerin’ without knowing what heartache is."

When we caught up with him by phone he was busy trying to sell his beautiful town home in Oakville, Ontario, getting ready to welcome the parents back from vacation down south and preparing to go to rehearsal. The next day he made himself available for a quick photo session. Just observing him for a few minutes at work, the way he deals with his colleagues, confirms what we have known all along: Michael Schade is not just the worldwide acclaimed great Mozart tenor of his generation but a well balanced individual, a great sun, husband, father, and friend and colleague. Being in the public eye so much, we do not know if he is aware that he is setting an example to others; he probably does, but no one has the impression that he lives his life the way he does because of it. He attributes his level character to his upbringing by his parents and the opportunities they afforded him, as he told us in a previous interview.

Sybille & Michael SchadeIf you would like to know more about Michael Schade’s professional life you can check out his website at www.mschade.com , there are even some great photos and were he is going to perform, as it is known now, for the next couple of years. More about him and Idomineo after we have seen the opera.

Any information on the Canadian Opera Company can be found under www.coc.ca .

Simple isn’t it? These days information is only as far away as your keyboard.

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