Wolfgang Schöne, a highly successful concert singer early in his career, seamlessly made the transition to opera, building a reputation as one of the finest German baritones of his day. His choice of repertory in both realms has been broad, from the cantatas of J.S. Bach to Schoenberg's Moses und Aron; and from the operas of Monteverdi and Mozart to those of Pfitzner (Palestrina) and Henze (The English Cat). He has also sung and recorded Mendelssohn's Elijah, Mahler's Symphony No. 8, Schubert songs, Wagner's Parsifal (Amfortas), and countless roles in operas by Verdi, Richard Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Zemlinsky, Penderecki, and others. But Schöne's repertory is not only broad, it is vast: he has performed and recorded more than 80Bach cantatas, 40 operatic roles, and numerous songs and concert works. Schöne's voice is lyrical and warm and he has consistently received high praise for his dramatic skills. He has appeared at many of the major opera houses and concert halls in Europe and the U.S. and has worked with such conductors as Jochum, Karajan, Mehta, Muti, Sinopoli, and Rattle. He has made countless recordings for a spate of labels, including Supraphon, Hänssler Classics, Bayer Records, Naïve, Naxos, and EuroArts.
Schöne was born in Bad Gandersheim, Germany, on February 9, 1940. His vocal studies were at the music conservatories in Hanover and Hamburg. After establishing himself as a concert singer, he launched his career in opera in 1970. From about that time and into the 1980s Schöne was busy recording many of the Bach cantatas, under conductor Helmuth Rilling, for the Hänssler Classics label
In 1973 Schöne became a member of the Stuttgart Opera, and, from 1974, began appearing at the major opera houses in Europe. Though Schöne sang many standards, he was unafraid of tackling the contemporary: in 1983 he sang Tom in the premiere of Henze's The English Cat.
Schöne continued to take on new operatic roles -- the Count from Richard Strauss' Capriccio at the 1985 Salzburg Festival, Dr. Schön in Berg's Lulu at the Théâtre du Châtelet in 1991, and many others. Schöne has remained busy in the new century in both the recording studio and on the operatic stage. Indeed, but what is perhaps most remarkable about him is his longevity: he has remained active well into his sixties, singing challenging roles like Lodovico Nardi in Schreker's Die Gezeichneten to acclaim at the 2005 Salzburg Festival.