The Canadian-German lyric tenor, Michael Schade, was born to Hans and Liesel Schade of Gelsenkirchin, in Germany's Ruhr Valley. Hans was an engineer, working in Geneva during the time that their three children, Johannes (Hans), Michael, and Isabelle, were born. Hans joined the European office of Inco, the Canada-based nickel-mining concern. In 1977 the company offered Hans an opportunity to move to its headquarters in Toronto. Both parents were musical: Both sang in church and semi-professional choruses. All three children were given sound training while growing up; Hans and Michael were enrolled in the St. Michael's Choir School in Toronto. Michael entered the pre-med program at the University of Western Ontario. At his parents' urging he joined the university choir. When the director assigned solos to him it became obvious to him that he had talent. Guest Professor Roma Ridelle heard him sing an aria from Carmen, and started a campaign to get him to join the music school. When he was offered a full scholarship, he decided. "I felt that if I didn't try it, I'd never know what could have been," he explains.
After graduating in 1988, Michael Schade entered the Master's program at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. This led to his being invited to join the Merola Program, a company for the development of the most promising student opera singers run by the San Francisco Opera. In 1988 he was invited to sing the part of Jacquino in L.v. Beethoven's Fidelio by Pacific Opera Victoria (Canada). In 1990, still a student at Curtis, he won the New York oratorio Competition, leading to his singing in George Frideric Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall. This, in turn, led the giant management firm Columbia Artists to take on his representation.
Michael Schade began appearing frequently in oratorio in Canada and singing opera in Pesaro, Bologna, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. The early-music specialist conductor Helmuth Rilling engaged him to join his 1991 European tour singing the Evangelist in J.S. Bach's St. John Passion (BWV 245). In 1992 the Canadian Government awarded him the Virginia P. Moore Prize, $27,000 to enable him to get professional coaching and to take an audition tour. In 1992 this took him to Vienna, where he auditioned for the Vienna State Opera. A few days later, the general manager called him with an emergency request to fill in for a tenor in The Barber of Seville the next day. Practically overnight he became a full member of the company, and has sung over eleven different roles. In 1990 a Canadian performance of Romeo et Juliette, in which he sang Tybalt, also included Calgary-born mezzo-soprano Noreen Burgess in the cast, as Stephano. This made Schade a Capulet and Burgess a Montague. They were married for several years.
Michael Schade is equally at home in Europeís and Americaís foremost opera houses. His passion for his artform embraces recitals, operas, concerts and recordings. In the 1990's, in a short period of time, he became a highly regarded newcomer on the international opera and recital scene, and one of the most popular singers of the young generation. He has already performed at the Vienna State Opera, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (debut in 1993 in Fidelio), Milan's La Scala, the San Francisco Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, the the Hamburg Staatsoper, Paris Opera, and the Salzburg Festival. His repertoire includes works of Mozart, Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Wagner, Rossini, and L.v. Beethoven. In Vienna he sang Die Zauberflöte, Arabella, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, The Meistersinger of Nürnberg, The Flying Dutchman and he made his debut at the Los Angeles Opera in 1996; other major engagements took him to the Opéra de Bastille in 1997, to the Salzburg Festival and to the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1999.
In addition to his opera career, Michael Schade performs extensively in concert and recital. He gave evidence of his immense concert repertoire, ranging from J.S. Bachís Passions to Gustav Mahlerís Lied von der Erde. He has performed under such renowned conductors as Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph von Dohnányi, Valery Gergiev, Daniel Harding, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Mariss Jansons, Sir Charles Mackerras, Riccardo Muti, Helmuth Rilling, Christian Thielemann and Franz Welser-Möst, under Carlo Maria Giulini in Vienna, performances in Florence, Minnesota and with John Eliot Gardiner in London, New York and Salzburg. He has participated in numerous performances with major orchestras, such as the Wiener Philharmoniker, Berliner Philharmoniker, Philadelphia Orchestra (under Helmuth Rilling), Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (under Esa-Pekka Salonen), New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra. In 2003-2004 season, he sang with the Wiener Philharmoniker under Riccardo Muti in Vienna, Milan, Dresden and Leipzig; with Claudio Abbado and Berliner Philharmoniker; and earlier in 2004 toured with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas. Upcoming concert projects include B. Britten's War Requiem with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Berliozí Requiem with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Kent Nagano as well as Mozartís Requiem with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under James Levine.
Michael Schade has been working continuously with Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker and Concentus Musicus Wien. Many of these concerts have been recorded and released on CD for SonyBMG. Under his baton he sang a program with arias by Mozart and Haydn at the Vienna Musikverein, in Brussels and Berne as well as J.S. Bachís St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) at the Vienna Musikverein and in Lucerne. Michael Schade co-operate closely also with Helmuth Rilling, with whom he has recorded the St John Passion (BWV 245) and the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244), The Creat and Felix Mendelssohnís oratorios Elias and Paulus and most recently Franz Lisztís Christus.
Other recent highlights include Haydnís Creation with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Sir Simon Rattle at the Salzburg Easter Festival, concerts with Mariss Jansons in Rome, with the Wiener Virtuosen at the Vienna Musikverein and with the Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio under Daniel Harding in Munich and Bad Kissingen among many others.
As a recitalist Michael Schade has been singing in the most important concert halls including the Scala di Milano, the Vienna Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, New York Alice Tully Hall and the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg. He further appeared in Brussels, Paris, Cologne, Stuttgart, London, Barcelona, Lisbon, New York and Toronto. He can frequently be heard in duo-recitals together with the German-Canadian baritone Russell Braun and in the current season he appears with Thomas Quasthoff in Luxembourg and Cologne. In addition he will perform Johannes Brahmsí Liebesliederwalzer together with Genia Kühmeier, Bernarda Fink and Thomas Quasthoff, which will be recorded for Deutsche Grammophon.
Summer 2008 featured Michael Schadeís 15th consecutive year at the Salzburg Festival, where he took on the new role of Co-Director of the new Salzburg Young Artists Project alongside Barbara Bonney. In recent years he appeared in Salzburg in new productions of Mozartís La Clemenza di Tito, Purcellís King Arthur, Mozartís DIE Zauberflöte and Haydnís Armida. The 2006 Mozart anniversary season held special meaning for Michael Schade. Not only has he performed many of his signature Mozart roles, but he conceived and developed a special program inspired by Mozartís arias and letters, which he performed and presented together with the actor Tobias Moretti at the Salzburg Festival. This project, translated into English, was also taken to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and in French to the Montreal Symphony with actors Colm Feore and Luke Pascal. In past Salzburg Festival appearances he has been heard as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte under Christoph von Dohnányi, in Cherubiniís Médée under Sir Charles Mackerras, in Gustav Mahlerís Lied von der Erde under Pierre Boulez, under Dennis Russell Davies in the world premiere of Philip Glassís 5th Symphony, in Don Giovanni and in La clemenza di Tito under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, performing the title role.
Michael Schadeís close collaboration with the Vienna Staatsoper continues in the 2008-2009 season when he returns to Vienna in Capriccio, Don Giovanni (on the occasion of the companyís 140th anniversary), Die Schweigsame Frau and Così Fan Tutte on tour in Japan. In Vienna he has performed all important Mozart roles as well as Rossini and Belcanto repertoire and has been heard in a wide range of roles including Leukippos in Daphne, Matteo in Arabella as well as the title part of Idomeneo in a production of the Vienna Staatsoper at the Theater an der Wien. With these parts he regularly triumps in many of the worldís leading opera houses. Opera reclaims him in new productions of Thaïs at the Metropolitan Opera, Rusalka at the COC in Toronto and as Aschenbach in Benjamin Brittenís Death in Venice in Hamburg.
Future engagements include several projects with the Wiener Philharmoniker, among them The Dream of Gerontius under Sir Simon Rattle, Das Buch mit Sieben Siegeln under Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Mozartís Requiem under Yannick Nézet-Séguin; furthermore he will appear in L.v. Beethovenís Missa Solemnis with the Dresden Staatskapelle under Christian Thielemann and in Mozartís Il Sogno di Scipione under Nikolaus Harnoncourt. At the Metropolitan Opera Michael Schade will sing Maler in Lulu and Des Grieux in Ottawa in a concert version of Manon. In recital he will appear in Berkeley, Tokyo, Graz, Frankfurt and at Viennaís Musikverein (as part of his own cycle during the 2009-2010 season).
A prolific recording artist, Michael Schadeís discography covers a wide range of Oratorios and Passions with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, such as J.S. Bachís St. Johnís Passion (BWV 245) (Grammy award 2002 for best choral recording), G.F. Handelís Messiah, Verdiís Requiem, Haydnís Orlando Paladino and Mozartís Zaide. His recording of Daphne (Decca) with Renée Fleming was nominated for a Grammy in 2005; other recordings include G. Mahlerís Lied von der Erde with the Wiener Philharmoniker under Pierre Boulez, Mozartís Requiem with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Claudio Abbado and several Lied recordings with Russell Braun among many others. Most recently, a recording of Die Schöne Müllerin with Malcolm Martineau has been released (CBC Records) and he took part in a Mozart Gala alongside Daniel Harding, Anna Netrebko, Thomas Hampson, Patricia Petibon etc., which has been released by Deutsche Grammophon. He has also made recordings with John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Colin Davis, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Myung-Whun Chung and Trevor Pinnock. Michael Schade has frequently recorded on such labels as CBC Records and Hyperion. His CBC disc French opera arias and duets won the Juno Award, Canada's equivalent of the Grammys.
In January 2007, Michael Schade was named a Kammersänger by the Austrian government, the first Canadian to receive this honour. He makes his home in both Toronto and in Vienna with his four children, four step-children and partner Deanne. The many violins and cellos travel well too!