Otto Schenk

Otto Schenk began studying law at the University of Vienna before training at Vienna's Max Reinhardt Seminar. He began his theatre career as an actor at the Vienna Volkstheater. From 1955 he was a director and actor at the Theater in der Josefstadt. He subsequently directed at the Munich Kammerspiele, the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg and the Vienna Burgtheater. Productions he directed at the Salzburg Festival included Shakespeare's "Was ihr wollt" (1973) and "Wie es euch gefällt" (1980, with Schenk as Probstein), Johann Nestroy's "Der Talisman" (1976) and "Der Zerrissene" (1982, with Helmuth Lohner in the title role and Schenk as Gluthammer). Otto Schenk staged his first opera, Mozart's "The Magic Flute", at the Salzburg Landestheater in 1957. Shortly afterwards, he succeeded in rising to the international top class of opera directors. He had resounding success with Alban Berg's "Lulu" at the Vienna State Opera (1962), where he worked as a permanent director for a long time and some productions are still on the repertoire. This was followed by productions at the National Theatre, the Hamburg Opera and the Deutsche Oper Berlin, as well as the world premieres of Friedrich Cerha's "Baal" at the Salzburg Festival in 1981 and Carl Maria v. Weber's "Der Freischütz" at the Bregenz Festival in 1983. He also worked on numerous productions at the Metropolitan Opera New York, including Beethoven's "Fidelio" (1970), "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss (1984), Wagner's "Tannhäuser" (1978) and "Der Ring der Nibelungen" (1986/87). From 1986 to 1997 Otto Schenk was artistic director of the Josefstadt Theatre. After that he continued to be a successful actor in numerous productions. From 1990 to 2009, for example, he played 470 performances of the long-running hit "Othello darf nicht platzen" at the Kammerspiele. At the end of 2020 he said goodbye to the theatre stage as Fir's servant (Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard") at the Theater in der Josefstadt/Vienna. At the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, his production of Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier" can be seen.