Michael Renier

born 4 September 1945 Mthatha (South Africa)

Picture of  Michael Renier as Otello

Michael Renier sings Turandot: Nessun dorma
In RA format

Renier grew up in a Boer family in rural South Africa. His first contacts with opera were through Jan Peerce on the radio, and Mario Lanza in his film The great Caruso. Renier decided that his dream was to become an opera singer. When he was 10 years old, his family moved to Pretoria. After military service (where his voice was noticed), he trained to become an optometrist, then he switched to studying medicine. When his fellow students discovered his voice, they carried him to a voice teacher. He took lessons for two years, then he moved to England for three years of further studies at the London Opera Centre.

After graduation, he was offered a joint contract for small roles at the English National Opera, Covent Garden and the Glyndebourne Festival, but the British actors' trade union frustrated it: employing citizens of racist South Africa was considered unacceptable, and so Renier got his first contract in Ulm in 1978.

Until 2012, he pursued a career at low-class theaters in South Africa, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the UK (where he lived), Japan, Switzerland and the Netherlands, in places like Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Durban, Stralsund, and particularly in Liberec, with excursions to Brno and the National Theater in Prague (Calaf, Max, Chénier, Otello and Einstein in Andreas Pflüger's Die Physiker). His most-performed role was Rodolfo.

Reference 1: Renier's website (defunct), reference 2, reference 3, reference 4, reference 5, reference 6, reference 7

I wish to thank André Wium for the recording.

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