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Baritone Dietrich Henschel captivates audiences as a regular guest at major opera houses, an esteemed interpreter of lieder and oratorios as well as with his multimedia projects. His repertoire stretches from Monteverdi to the avant-garde. Born in Berlin and having grown up in Nuremberg, he made his debut in 1990 at the Munich Biennale for New Music and first became known internationally from 1997, following a period as an ensemble member of the Opera Kiel. At the Deutsche Oper Berlin he took the title role in Hans Werner Henze’s Prinz von Homburg, staged by Götz Friedrich, and gave an outstanding lead performance in Busoni’s Doktor Faust at the Opéra de Lyon and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, for which he won a Grammy.
The singer’s major roles include Rossini’s Figaro, Wolfram in Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Monteverdi’s Ulisse and Orfeo, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Beckmesser in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Alban Berg’s Wozzeck and Dr. Schön in Lulu, Golaud in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande and Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, with which he makes regular appearances at the major European opera houses. Contemporary composers such as Péter Eötvös, Detlev Glanert, Manfred Trojahn, Unsuk Chin, Peter Ruzicka and José-Maria Sanchez-Verdu have all dedicated leading roles in their operas to the baritone.
In addition to his operatic work, Dietrich Henschel is committed to the performance of lieder and concert works for voice. In orchestral concerts he has worked with conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Kent Nagano, Cornelius Meister, Sylvain Cambreling and Semyon Bychkov. His collaborations with John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Colin Davis are documented on numerous oratorio recordings. Dietrich Henschel is particularly interested in theatrical and multimedia presentations of vocal music. He has performed staged versions of Schubert lieder cycles at La Monnaie, Theater an der Wien, Den Norske Opera Oslo and the Komische Oper Berlin, among others. In the project IRRSAL – Triptychon einer verbotenen Liebe, featuring the orchestral songs of Hugo Wolf, he combined film and live concert; his project featuring songs by Gustav Mahler, WUNDERHORN, was a collaboration with director Clara Pons, and was developed as a co-production between several European partners including De Doelen, La Monnaie and the BBC Symphony Orchestra London.
Last season, Dietrich Henschel presented a varied repertoire: in addition to taking on the lead male role in Chaya Czernowin’s world premiere Heart Chamber at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, he toured Japan with the Sapporo Symphony in promotion of his new recording of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin, he performed at the Schubert Festival with the Orchester Symphonique Montréal in Canada, and he also premiered his new Christmas project X-mas Contemporary, created in collaboration with Vladimir Jurowski and the ensemble United, and featuring songs written for him in the spirit of the Christmas season, in the Konzerthaus Berlin and in Düsseldorf. His performances as Faninal in Michieletto’s new production of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier at La Monnaie/De Munt in Brussels, planned for June 2020, were unfortunately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To kick off the 2020-21 season, Henschel is producing and performing in Così.20, a re-envisioned, contact-free and pandemic-friendly version of Mozart’s Così fan tutte as the premiere of his new opera company, Art House Opera, which he founded with Thomas Höft and their mutual artist collective during this time. The first performances took place in Lockenhaus, Austria, in the beginning of August. Throughout the rest of the year, audiences can look forward to hearing him singing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the New Orchestra Basel as part of the reopening of the Stadtcasino Basel, Schubert’s 3rd Mass with the Orquesta Sinfónica y Coro de Radio Televisión Espanola, a Liederabend at Tonhalle Zurich.