Is there a singer in the house? Tenor saves man’s life at Salzburg

Is there a singer in the house? Tenor saves man’s life at Salzburg


norman lebrecht

August 16, 2021

A member of the Vienna State Opera’s young singers ensemble was watching Elektra at Salzburg when he became aware that the elderly man in the seat next to him was seriously unwell.

‘He rolled his eyes and gasped for air,’ says Angelo Pollak, who leaped from his seat and ran for the exit. ‘I thought he was dying. I’ve never run so fast in my life… yelled at the ushers to get a doctor right away.’ Paramedics were instantly on the scene and the suffering man was rushed to hospital. Pollak was congratulated and given a schnapps.

Last month, Pollak stepped in to the same Elektra production in Vienna after another tenor fell sick.



  • Andreas B. says:

    well done, Angelo!

    incidentally, he even featured before on SD:

    • Marfisa says:

      Thank you for that link. Reading through it, I reflect on the terrible deterioration of standards, both of the initial reporting, and of the comments, on this site since 2018. Is there any hope of returning to civilized discourse about disputed matters?

  • bal-de-vis says:

    Elektra has the same effect on me.

  • Petros LInardos says:

    The headline of an older article on Mr. Pollak is “Der Mann der vielen Talente” (The multitalented man). We now know his gifts include quick reflexes and compassion.

    • Claudia Wegender says:

      I had the pleasure to listen to mister pollak two times.
      The first time he sang Lyonel in Martha at Regensburg. His voice reminded me of a mixture of Gedda and Wunderlich. (Newspapers mentioned that also) A great musicality. You can find videos on YouTube where he plays piano and the cello when he was a child. What a talent. He studied with Heinrich Schiff.

      Second time I attended a concert from Sir Andras Schiff in Italy where he sang Schubert songs with the maestro. Outstanding.
      Waiting for his international break through.

  • Anonymous Bosch says:

    Uh, not “… the same Elektra production in Vienna …” Not by a long shot.

    Angelo Pollak sang the junger Diener at Wiener Staatsoper on 25 June 2021. The Harry Kupfer co-production with the Salzburger Festspiele was unveiled (for the first time) in Vienna on 19 June 1989, and then shown for three performances at Salzburg in August 1989.

    Dominique Meyer replaced it with a new production by Uwe Eric Laufenberg on 29 March 2015.

    In an ongoing plan to rid Staatsoper of some of it awful and/or old productions, Bogdan Roščić tossed the Laufenberg production in the trash and brought back the Kupfer production for its second premiere in the first week of his Intendanz on 08 September 2020.

    In his first season, Roščić also cancelled a miserable “Le nozze di Figaro” created under Meyer and brought back the old (1977) Ponnelle production, and erased Meyer’s stabs at “La traviata”, “Parsifal” and “Macbeth” and brought in some long-overdue productions to replace, for instance, the 1957 (not a typo) production of “Madama Butterfly”.

    The “Elektra” currently on view at Salzburg premiered last summer in the highly-truncated 2020 festival and is by Krzysztof Warlikowski.

  • Was it 20 or 30 years ago at the Albert Hall that a Tenor in the Crowd came to the rescue when a Singer on stage fell ill in the wings before going on…saving the production.