Rudolf Schock

4 September 1915 Duisburg – 13 November 1986 Düren-Gürzenich

Picture of Rudolf Schock

Rudolf Schock sings Die tote Stadt: O Freund, ich werde sie nicht wiedersehn

Rudolf Schock sings Die große Sünderin: Das Leben des Schrenk
The utmost top may not be really easy; nonetheless, certainly a more than decent recording of this extremely difficult piece – and the only aria in all of operetta literature that can really compare with operatic tenor challenges like Arnold, Raoul or Sobinin (the final note is a D flat).

Rudolf Schock sings Il trovatore: Di quella pira

Rudolf Schock sings Il trovatore: Lodern zum Himmel 1
In RA format

Rudolf Schock sings Il trovatore: Lodern zum Himmel 2
In RA format

Rudolf Schock sings Turandot: Nessun dorma
In RA format

Schock was born into a bitterly poor family, and that his father died early didn't ease the situation. He had no shoes until about 14 years old. He trained as a hairdresser; singing was his sparetime passion.

That his mother worked at the Duisburg theater as a wardrobe lady made it possible that Schock, at age 19, was accepted into the opera choir. Only now, he took voice lessons (with Laurenz Hofer, among others). In 1936, he got to sing his first solo parts in Duisburg, and was accepted into the Bayreuth Festival choir. The following year, he got a solo contract in Braunschweig. There he stayed until being drafted in 1940; he had to fight the rest of WWII, although he could take the occasional leave to sing opera.

After the war, he worked as a farm hand for a short while before being called to the Hannover theater, and soon to the Berlin Staatsoper (1946–50). From 1947, he was also a member of the Hamburg opera (until 1961, with a short interruption), 1950–53 Komische Oper Berlin, 1952–60 Vienna Staatsoper.

In the 1960s, he gradually reduced his stage activity – he was already one of Germany's most popular singers, a radio, TV, record and film celebrity, and a regular in the society columns. His career continued into the late 1970s.

His remarkable stage career notwithstanding, he seems to have shined more on the radio and on record. The microphone obviously loved his voice, which a senior opera expert, who saw him multiple times in Vienna, described to me as small and unimpressive in the theater. This is surprising, judging from his recordings; while many of them (Schock was one of the most prolific recording artists of all times) are plain ugly, there is also a great number of excellent recordings by him, both in the lyrical and the dramatic repertory. Among the above soundfiles, you have three examples of rather ungainly singing because of Historical Tenors' obsession with collecting all available Di quella pira versions; that aria was clearly not Schock's forte. The other three recordings, however, explain Schock's success.

If you want to know everything about Rudolf Schock, visit this unusually detailed website about him.

Repertory (only operas sung on stage)

Fidelio (Erster Gefangener) – Duisburg, 1934
Die Zauberflöte (Erster Priester) – Duisburg, spring 1936
Il trovatore (Messaggero) – Duisburg, spring 1936
Die lustige Witwe (Rosillon) – Duisburg, spring 1936
Aida (Messaggero) – Duisburg, spring 1936
Die Zauberflöte (Tamino) – Duisburg, 28 September 1936
Der Barbier von Bagdad (Nureddin) – Duisburg, 1 October 1936
Das Rheingold (Froh) – Duisburg, 16 October 1936
Fidelio (Jaquino) – Duisburg, 20 October 1936
Die Tatarin (Kavalier) – Duisburg, 25 October 1936 (composer: Stauch)
Ariadne auf Naxos (Bacchus) – Duisburg, 1 December 1936
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Vogelsang) – Duisburg 30 January 1937
La traviata (Alfredo) – Duisburg, 27 February 1937
Boris Godunov (Grigorij) – Duisburg, 27 April 1937
Die beiden Schützen (Gustav) – Braunschweig, 12 October 1937 (composer: Lortzing)
Die Landstreicher (Roland) – Braunschweig, 1937 (composer: Ziehrer)
Der Rosenkavalier (Sänger) – Braunschweig, 1937
Schwarzer Peter (Roderich) – Braunschweig, 25 December 1937 (composer: Schultze)
Der Bettelstudent (Jan Janicki) – Braunschweig, 31 December 1937
Così fan tutte (Ferrando) – Braunschweig, 14 March 1938
Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor (Fenton) – Braunschweig, 9 July 1938
Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton) – Braunschweig, 1938
Rigoletto (Duca) – Braunschweig, 1938
Das Land des Lächelns (Sou-Chong) – Braunschweig, 1938
Zar und Zimmermann (Châteauneuf) – Braunschweig, 1938
Faust (Siebel) – Braunschweig, 1938
Její pastorkyňa (Laca) – Braunschweig, 1938
Der fliegende Holländer (Steuermann) – Braunschweig, 1938/9
Il barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva) – Braunschweig, 27 June 1939
Don Pasquale (Ernesto) – Braunschweig, 1939
Eine Nacht in Venedig (probably Caramello) – Berlin, Theater am Nollendorfplatz, 1944
Martha (Lyonel) – Hannover, 1 September 1945
Prodaná nevěsta (Jeník) – Hannover, 1945
Carmen (José) – Hannover, 11 May 1946
Il trovatore (Manrico) – Hannover, 14 May 1946
Salome (Narraboth) – Hannover, 23 May 1946
Der Wildschütz (Kronthal) – Berlin, Staatsoper, 29 June 1946
Arlecchino (Leandro) – Berlin, Staatsoper, 3 September 1946 (composer: Busoni)
Die Entfürung aus dem Serail (Belmonte) – Berlin, Staatsoper, 4 October 1946
Sadko (Indian guest) – Berlin, Staatsoper, 10 April 1947
Les contes d'Hoffmann (Hoffmann) – Berlin, Staatsoper, 16 July 1947
Evgenij Onegin (Lenskij) – Berlin, Staatsoper, 12 October 1947
Tosca (Cavaradossi) – Hamburg, 27 November 1947
Manon (des Grieux) – Berlin, Staatsoper, 27 January 1948
Don Giovanni (Don Ottavio) – Berlin, Staatsoper, 20 June 1948
L'elisir d'amore (Nemorino) – Berlin, Staatsoper, 30 June 1948
La bohème (Rodolfo) – London, 15 October 1948
La forza del destino (Alvaro) – Hamburg, 22 March 1950
Fra Diavolo (Marquis) – Hamburg, 3 May 1951
Idomeneo (Idomeneo) – Salzburg, 27 July 1951
The Rake's progress (Tom Rakewell) – Hamburg, 14 October 1951
Cavalleria rusticana (Turiddu) – Berlin, Staatsoper, 8 December 1951
Don Carlo (Don Carlo) – Hamburg, 23 February 1952
Tristan und Isolde (Junger Seemann) – Berlin, Staatsoper, 15 June 1952
Penelope (Ercole) – Salzburg, 17 April 1954 (world premiere, composer: Liebermann)
Manon Lescaut (des Grieux) – Hamburg, 5 October 1954
Lohengrin (Lohengrin) – Braunschweig, 1 September 1957
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Walther von Stolzing) – Bayreuth, 24 July 1959
Si j'étais roi (Zéphoris) – Berlin, Deutsche Oper, 17 March 1960
I vespri siciliani (Arrigo) – Berlin, Deutsche Oper, 28 April 1960
Lulu (Alwa) – Wien, Theater an der Wien, 9 June 1962
Pagliacci (Canio) – Saarbrücken, 8 July 1962
Eine Nacht in Venedig (Guido) – Wien, Volksoper, 21 July 1963
Un ballo in maschera (Riccardo) – Saarbrücken, 25 April 1964
Der Zigeunerbaron (Barinkay) – Wien, Volksoper, 24 May 1965
Tiefland (Pedro) – Wien, Volksoper, 26 January 1966
Der Evangelimann (Matthias) – Wien 30 May 1972

Schock as a baritone
For the repertory: reference 1, reference 2.
I wish to thank Helge K. Saebo for one DQP recording.
I wish to thank André Wium for the Turandot recording.

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