Death of a dominant German soprano, 72

Death of a dominant German soprano, 72


norman lebrecht

June 20, 2023

One of the world’s leading Brünnhildes, Elektras and Turandots, Gabriele Schnaut has died suddenly at the age of 72.

Originally a mezzo, Gabriele upgraded to dramatic soprano in 1985. She sang at Bayreuth from 1977 to 2000, appearing first as Second Norn in the Patrice Chéreau centennial Ring.

She was a member successively of Staatstheater Darmstadt, Nationaltheater Mannheim, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, Hamburg Staatsoper and, from 2013, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich. She appeared at the Met, La Scala and most other major stages.

She is survived by her husband, Walter Knirim.


  • A.L. says:

    Oh mein Gott! I am so profoundly sorry to hear this news! May G. Schnaut rest in eternal peace.

  • Singeril says:

    Even better than her singing…she was a wonderful colleague.

  • Don Ciccio says:

    She also participated in Bach’s cantata series under Helmuth Rilling.


  • NorCalMichael says:

    RIP Gabriele Schnaut! One of the most massive voices I’ve ever encountered in the theater.