Tenor Gerard Schneider Raises Funds At Oper Frankfurt to Support Australia Fire Victims

By Dejan Vukosavljevic
(Credit: Cory Weaver)

Opera lovers in Frankfurt were excited about the opening night of Verdi’s “Rigoletto” at the Oper Frankfurt on January 24, 2020.

Christopher Maltman was in the title role, and joined Bianca Tognocchi as Gilda with Pier Giorgio Morandi conducting. The cast also included bass Barnaby Rea and mezzo-soprano Tanja Ariane Baumgartner, among others. Also making his debut was tenor Gerard Schneider, who was debuting in the role of Duca di Mantua.

The performance was well-received, but what really lifted it up happened at the very end of the evening. After the curtain call, to the surprise of his colleagues onstage, Schneider took the microphone. He wanted to share something with the audience.

“For a brief moment this evening I would like to speak about my other home… Australia,” he said.

Schneider’s home country suffered a horrible fire season where horrific bushfires caused the death of over one billion animals, including koalas and other rare species. There has also been 2,500 homes burned to the ground. Thirty-four people also lost their lives, the tenor added.

“I have received the permission, in the name of the Australian Red Cross, to take a collection following the performance and hope from the bottom of my heart that you are able to donate,” the tenor added.

He further explained that he and his colleagues would be standing in the theatre with the hats and looking forward to donations.

The audiences promptly responded with people happily donating.

Schneider repeated his speech after the second performance of “Rigoletto” at the Oper Frankfurt on January 26 and would ultimately secure a total of 6,120.70 euros toward helping those affected by the Australian fires.