Markus Schäfer studied singing and church music in Karlsruhe and in Düsseldorf. His first contracts were received from the Zürich Opernhaus (1985-86) and from the Rheinoper Düsseldorf (1987-93)
As a guest he appeared at the Salzburg Festival, the Rossini Festival (Pesaro), the Teatro La Fenice (Venice), the Liceu (Barcelona), the Opéra de Lyon, the Bayerische Staatsper (München), the Semperoper (Dresden) and the Staatsoper Unter den Linden (Berlin). Schäfer?s repertoire focuses on Mozart’s great tenor rôles and Barque operas by Monteverdi, Scarlatti, Handel, Hasse and more. He successfully performed works by Mozart and Haydn, and Bach’s Matthäus-Passion under Nikolaus Hanoncourt at the Wiener Musikverein. In Bach’s Cantatas Markus Schäfer is much in demand as an Evangelist. He also sung at the Ansbacher Bach Festival. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Windsbacher Choir (directed by Karl Friedrich Beringer) was telecast by the Bayerischer Rundfunk.
As a renowned Lieder interpreter, Markus Schäfer performed at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, at the Hugo-Wolf-Gesellschaft in Stuttgart and at the New York Lincoln Center (Songs by Schubert, Schumann and Wolf). The TELDEC recording of Matthäus-Passion under Harnoncourt (with Schäfer as the Evangelist) was awarded a Grammy; Dittersdorf’s Oratorio Hiob for CPO label conducted by Hermann Max received the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenritik.
Markus Schäfer appears currently in both tenor rôles of Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and Oronte (Alcina) at the Norvegian Bergen Festival. He sings Andres (Wozzek) at the Komische Oper Berlin, Alfred (Die Fledermaus) at Netherland’s Nationale Reisoperaand and Belmonte (Die Entfürung aus dem Serail) in Bremen. Further engagements as Evangelist (Johannes-Passion) will take place with the Münchner Philharmoniker conducted by Franz Brüggen, with the RIAS Kammerchor and at Halle’s Handel Festival. At the 2005 Ansbach-Festival he performed various Bach Cantatas and at the Leipzig Gewandhaus he will sing for the first time Mozart’s arrangement of Händel’s Messiah under Reinhard Göbel. At the Musikverein he will be heard as Monsieur Vogelsang (Mozart’s Schauspieldirektor) and at the Styriarte (Graz) in Haydn’s Orlando Paladino (including its CD recording), both conducted by Harnoncourt.
The recently produced Naxos recording of Bach’s Mass in B minor with the Kölner Kammerorchester (conducted by Helmut Müller-Brühl) received entusiastic reviews. For the same label, Schäfer will record Bach’s solo Cantatas and a further Mattäus-Passion. Composer Wolfgang Rihm’s Mörike-Zyklus (dedicated to Markus Schäfer) will soon be issued on CD. Further recordings will feature songs by Siegfried Karg-Elert (with pianist Ernst Breidenbach). Johann Hovens Heine song cyle Die Heimkehr (on 3 CDs) and Schubert’s settings of Schlegel’s Die Abendröte (both with pianist Christian de Bruyn) shows Markus Schäfer’s in non-mainstream programs. The number of recorded works by this great artist is quite remarkable.