Mankind can be compassionate after all. In 1992, the 29-year-old Max Raabe resorted to pleading for attention in his musical lament “No One Ever Calls Me.” The plea of the no-longer-unknown Raabe was eventually heard. Today he not only entertains audiences in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, but also in New York, Rome, Moscow, Paris, Montreux, Monte Carlo, Amsterdam, and Los Angeles. So now and again people do call him.
Raabe, originally from Lünen, took his first musical steps in church choirs. At the age of 18 he fled from the influence of the local diocese and moved to the city that, although then surrounded by the Wall, was still liberal minded and would later become the cradle of his fame: Berlin.
It proved fortunate to have founded the Palast Orchester in 1986. Two years after making this investment in his musical future, Raabe began his studies of opera at the University of the Arts in Berlin, a seven-year endeavor, which, upon completion, certified him as a baritone.
The 1990s were important for Max Raabe. He had a super hit with the song about the non-ringing phone and also gathered experience in film. In Peter Zadeck’s The Blue Angel he played a pupil; two years later he played Dr. Siedler in the Berlin cult production of Im weißen Rössl. Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester made appearances in Sönke Wortmann’s film Der bewegte Mann, which was soon followed by Raabe’s role as an anti-alcoholic drunk for the TV production of Charley’s Aunt. And finally there was Werner Herzog: in The Invincible, Raabe, once again appearing with the Palast Orchester, plays a master of ceremonies in the 1930s.
Raabe has no difficulties entertaining his audience for the evening, accompanied solely by his longtime pianist, Christoph Israel. They offer a mixture of well-known cabaret songs from the ’20s and ’30s and Raabe’s increasing number of original compositions. In any event, Raabe’s studies of serious classical high culture did not make him follow that direction exclusively, which doesn’t mean that he isn’t serious about what he’s doing.
Most important, however, in Raabe’s musical career is of course his work with the Palast Orchester. Aside from the world-renowned “Heart, Which Greets Its Great Love,” and the pieces from the ’20s and ’30s, the Palast Orchester has branched out into both classical and pop music. At the end of 2000, they released the CD Charming Weill, which won the Klassik Echo Award, with pieces by Kurt Weill, and the album Superhits, followed by Superhits 2 in 2002.
In August 2003, Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester celebrated the premiere of their first own major production—the Palast Revue—at the Hamburg Thalia Theater. After their opening night, acclaimed by both music critics and audience alike, multiple-week engagements in Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne, and Bremen followed. Entirely sold-out shows totaling 18 weeks and enthusiastic media reports lay the ground for the release on both double CD and double DVD. For further information, please visit palastorchester.de.
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