Franz Schalk

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Franz Schalk (27 May 1863 &ndash; 3 September 1931) was an Austrian conductor. From 1918 to 1929 he was director of the Vienna State Opera, a post he held jointly with Richard Strauss from 1919 to 1924. Later, Schalk was involved in the establishment of the Salzburg Festival.


Schalk was born in Vienna, Austria, where he later studied under composer Anton Bruckner. From 1900 he was first kapellmeister of the Vienna Court Opera. Between 1904 and 1921 he was head of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Vienna. In 1918 he became director of the Vienna State Opera; however from 1919 he was co-director with Richard Strauss, and the well-known composer was "blatantly (though unofficially) the 'greater equal' of the pair".

Schalk's most famous quote is "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

Today Schalk is most famous for his work popularizing and revising the symphonies of his teacher Bruckner. He gave the premiere of Bruckner's Symphony No. 5 in 1894, but in a version much affected by cuts and changes, most of which are thought to have been made without Bruckner's approval. The ailing composer was too sick to attend...
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