Obituary: Countertenor Max Riebl Dies at 30

By Francisco Salazar

Australian countertenor Max Riebl died at the age of 30.

The news comes four days after the singer took to Facebook to notify his fans that he has incurable cancer. He said, ” Hundreds of solo shows around the world. Orchestras, Operas, Renaissance ensembles, Evensong, cabaret and theatre. Spectacular venues. Thousands of hours of practice, radio interviews, photoshoots, extraordinary musicians. Hundreds of hours of travel, uncountable pieces learned and sung. Dozens of competitions. Thunderous applause. Silence and contemplation. Recording sessions. Sleepless nights. Hotel rooms. Loneliness. Laughter. After parties. Tension. Freedom. Bach, Monteverdi, Vivaldi and all things contemporary. Airports. Sacrifice. Sets, costumes, suits worn to a thread and stained with sweat. Difficult to quantify. Difficult to comprehend. An intense, unbearable and mesmeric series of experiences and memories. Some of the greatest and most honorable people I have known. You know who you are and I’ll never forget you.”

He continued, “To those unaware, I have been diagnosed with an incurable cancer. The fight has been brutal and relentless and current symptoms make performing and touring impossible at this time. Nothing is set in stone, miracles happen, but for now, thank you for your support, your kindness and appreciation. May the music go on and may the musicians of Australia continue in their brave pursuits, against the odds. With Love. Max”

Riebl was born on June 26, 1991, in Melbourne, Australia, into a musical family. As a child, he played trumpet and made his performance debut with The Cat Empire at age 10, on stage at the Prince Wales Hotel in St Kilda, Melbourne. He showed ability as a vocalist and actor at an early age and sang with the Melbourne Grammar School Chapel Choir under Philip Carmody and played The Youth in Mendelssohn’s oratorio “Elijah.”

In 2004, he moved to Vienna where he attended the Musikgymnasium and sang as a soloist in the Musikverein and Schubertsaal. He went on to perform with the Clemencic Consort and the Hofburg Chapel Choir. Later he studied voice with Silvia Purcar and Dermot Tutty in Melbourne. In Switzerland, he studied Baroque performance at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.

He went on to win competitions at the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Arias and Chicago’s Classical Singer Competition. That led him to perform at with Vienna Concert House, Musikverein, the Royal Albert Hall, Pinchgut Opera, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Opera, La Cetra Baroque Orchestra, London Handel Orchestra, The Song Company, Adelaide Baroque and Orchestra Victoria. Other venues included the Melbourne Recital Centre, Hamer Hall at Arts Centre Melbourne, the Athenaeum Theatre, and Sydney’s City Recital Hall.