Saturday, December 13, 2014

Reader submission: Simon Schnorr in sexy operetta

Simon Schnorr in Don Giovanni
A reader in Germany alerted us to a very sexy production of Benatzky's Im Weissen Rössl at the Salzburger Landestheater. They described the production as filled with "Verlockende Männer" (seductive men) and a "sexy Bariton" named Simon Schnorr, who was playing Dr. Otto Siedler.

Well, that caught our attention. 

The Tyrolean set operetta isn't normally known for being particularly sexy, although it may appeal to a few lederhosen fetishists. However, this production serves up a good number of men wearing only white lederhosen, scenes with men in one-piece swimwear, shirtless dancers and a scene involving some dropped trousers. Sometimes German regie theatre has its benefits.

Two scenes from Benatzky's Im Weissen Rössl
Munich native Simon Schnorr was a member of the famed Tölzer Knabenchor in his youth, allowing him to perform as a chorister and alto soloist in many of the major European opera houses and concert halls. He pursued his vocal training with scholarships from the MIGROS-Kulturstiftung in Zürich and from the Richard Wagner Association in Karlsruhe. He went on to win the International Schubert Song Competition in Osaka, the Franz-Völker prize in Neu-Isenburg and the Gustav-Scheck price in Freiburg.

In 2008, Schnorr made his debut at the Staatstheater Karlsruhe playing the role of Morales in Bizet's Carmen and subsequently became a full time member of their Opera Studio. During that time he performed Ping in Puccini's Turandot, Donner in Wagner's Rheingold, the Sergeant in Puccini's Manon Lescaut, Dumas in Giordano's Andrea Chenier and Viconte Valvert in Alfano's Cyrano de Bergerac. To great acclaim, he took over the role the Traveler in Benjamin Britten's Death in Venice on short notice.

Since the 2009-2010 season Simon Schnorr has been a permanent member of the Salzburger Landestheater where he debuted as Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. Other roles with the company include Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva, Guglielmo, Eisenstein, Dandini, Belcore, Eugene Onegin and roles in Gluck's La Rencontre imprevue and Krenek's Jonny spielt auf.

Two scenes from Benatzky's Im Weissen Rössl
In 2012, he performed Giacomo II alongside the famed actor John Malkovich in the music theater project "The Giacomo Variations" and toured Canada with the show in 2013. The piece is based on the memoirs of Giacomo Casanova and features arias from Mozart's operas. He was also hailed by the press for his interpretation of the baritone part in Frank Martin's In terra pax at the Europäischen Kulturtagen (European Culture Days).

Performances of Benatzky's Im Weissen Rössl run through April 9 and tickets are available online. Schnorr will also appear with tenor Franz Supper at the Salzburger Landestheatre's New Year's Eve concert where they'll perform music by Johann Strauss and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

If you can't make it to Austria, you can watch him on the Salzburg Festival's DVD of Alban Berg's Lulu

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