The German Heldentenor in Opera Australia’s Ring talks stamina, directorial decisions and the joys of being dead.
What was your first experience of the RingCycle?
The first time I came across it was singing the role of Siegmund, which was in 1999, so quite a long time ago now. This was a big experience for me because at the time I was brand new in this fach. At Mannheim that year I had several role debuts and Siegmund was just one of them. I started out with Erik, Siegmund, Lohengrin, Florestan and Parsifal, and this was my first year in the ensemble! Yes, quite challenging. Siegmund, of course, was a big thing, and I remember people saying “well, he’s on his way to becoming a Heldentenor”. This was quite a job because I had to replace Robert Dean Smith, who had pulled out after he started his international career at Bayreuth. And so for a young, brand new person coming, it was a deal of hard work! Of course, for me, age 30-something, this was too early to think about singing Siegfried.
So when was the first time someone said to you “how about singing Siegfried”?
This was after I had...