t h e   r o s a   t r o u p e

Anton Schott

Anton Schott

Anton Schott, born in Bavaria on 24 June 1846, was originally a captain in a German cavalry regiment who, after a period of study with the opera singer Agnes Schebert Strauss, commenced as an operatic tenor about 1871 with appearances at Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hanover and other continental houses. His growing reputation eventually prompted Carl Rosa to bring him to London.

He sang eleven performances at Her Majesty’s Theatre during the London season of January and February 1880. He made his debut on 10 January in Rienzi and followed on 7 February with the British premiere of Lohengrin in English. The illustration depicts him as Lohengrin. The reviews were mixed with some critics unhappy with his English and baritonal tendencies. The heldentenor is usually strong at the lower end of the voice but the trouble was probably Rosa’s use of the higher pitch instead of the lower continental one familiar to Schott. However he coped with the aid of probably some strained high notes. Rosa was satisfied with his efforts and Schott returned for the London season of January to March 1882 singing to the lower continental pitch. He repeated Lohengrin and Rienzi and added the British English-language premiere of Tannhäuser on 14 February. His two brief engagements, seemingly his only London appearances, were all Wagner with two significant premieres. Rosa clearly thought that a true heldentenor was required.

Two years later in 1884 he was one of the German contingent recruited for the German seasons of Walter Damrosch at the New York Met. He was with them for the 1884-85 and 1887-87 seasons repeating his Rosa roles and adding Fidelio, Huguenots, Prophète, Masaniello, and Walküre. All were given in German. More opera would have followed elsewhere but details are lacking. There were certainly American concert tours in the 1890’s and he seems to have sought a managerial post at the Met a few years later. However he eventually returned to Germany dying at Stuttgart on 6 January 1913.

© 2017 John Ward

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