Otto Schenk

Otto Schenk

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Otto Schenk

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Otto Schenk (born June 12, 1930 in Vienna) is an Austrian actor, and theater and opera director.

Life and career

Schenk was born to Catholic parents. His father, a lawyer, had Jewish roots and therefore lost his job after the Anschluss in 1938. Schenk studied acting at the Max Reinhardt Seminar, and started his acting career at the Theater in der Josefstadt and the Wiener Volkstheater, and as a comedian at Vienna's Simpl cabaret theater. His directing career began in 1953 at small Viennese venues, later leading him to renowned stages like the Burgtheater, the Munich Kammerspiele or the Salzburg Festival, staging plays by William Shakespeare, Arthur Schnitzler, Ödön von Horváth, Anton Chekhov. In 1957, Schenk directed his first opera, Mozart's The Magic Flute for the Salzburg Landestheater. His breakthrough as an opera director came in 1962 with Alban Berg's Lulu at the Theater an der Wien. This production was later moved to the Vienna State Opera, where Schenk debuted in 1964 with Leos Janacek's Jenufa. He was contracted by the State Opera as a permanent producer for several seasons, while continuing his free-lance career as an actor, comedian and director in Austria and Germany, working for theaters, opera houses and television productions. During the 1970s and 1980s, Schenk was hired by La Scala, the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, and German opera houses such as the Berlin State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera and the Hamburg State Opera. Schenk's operatic...
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