Baritone | Performing Artist | Opera | Classical | Musician | Teacher
"The love of music makes one a better person in all respects, not just musical. Respect, commitment, understanding, sensitivity, community -these are but a few of the lessons one learns through devotion to the art, and everything I do in life is influenced one way or another by my commitment to these ideals."
Even though he has pursued other avenues in his life- most notably as a lawyer and as a teacher- Ralph Schatzki has always been a singer. First as a member of various school choirs, Ralph soon came to love learning and performing all sorts of vocal repertoire, from songs to oratorio to opera. An ardent believer that in whatever one does one must strive to make a difference, he continues to bring everything he has to offer to whomever he encounters along his life's journey.
"...the Bangkok-based American baritone Ralph Schatzki['s] Scarpia was full of sly menace and self-sustaining authority."Marc Rochester - Andante, Classical Music Magazine, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
"As Don Giovanni, Ralph Schatzki cut a dashing figure.... He has been the key player in almost all of Bangkok Opera's productions.... He was in excellent voice." - Flo S. Tan - Bangkok Post, Bangkok, Thailand.
"Magical Night.... Ralph Schatzki was a great Don Giovanni ...Schatzki's voice was crisp and clear, the words projected with the easiest arrogance you ever heard" - Jonathan Richmond - The Nation, Bangkok,Thailand.
"Ralph Schatzki was Amonasro... [His] singing was clear, biting, engaged and alarmingly penetrating. Schatzki’s presence was a powerful one as he gave Aida a vocal flogging to make her not a woman freed from Egyptian slavery, but serf enslaved to her father’s will. Fantastic! Bravo! - Jonathan Richmond - The Nation, Bangkok,Thailand.
Ralph Schatzki has always loved to sing and to perform. A music major at Oberlin College, he later attended law school at Indiana University (Bloomington) and became a member of the Connecticut Bar. He then enrolled in graduate music studies at the Hartt School of Music and thereafter participated in apprentice programs with opera companies in Miami, Sarasota and Chautauqua, where he was awarded the Richard F. Gold Career Grant for singers. He then moved with his family to Bangkok, Thailand, his wife's home, and began his third career as a teacher, working at an international school as an instructor in high school mathematics. He returned to the United States in 2005 and works as a full-time teacher. He has continued to sing throughout this time and has appeared in many operas, concerts, recitals and oratorios. Following the inception of the Bangkok Opera in 2001, Ralph became a key figure with the company and performed several leading roles, as well as three roles in two world premieres. He also performed the role of Scarpia (Tosca) with the opera companies in Malaysia and Singapore. Since his return to America, he has been featured in the productions of several companies, including: Taconic Opera, Chelsea Opera, Concert Opera Philadelphia, Center City Opera, New Jersey State Opera, Empire Opera, Garden State Opera, Center Stage Opera, Capitol Heights Lyric Opera, and Espresso Opera.
The first time- but by no means the last- I faced the choice of committing myself fully to music was when I was at college. I was afraid to follow my passion, and I decided to leave other opportunities open and continued my work toward an academic degree. Still, I managed to forge a compromise by majoring in music.
Following college, I enrolled in law school. Yet I still took private voice lessons during my final two years there, and I even missed my law school graduation in order to take part in a music festival in San Antonio. It was clear to me I still had to figure out how important music was to me and how much time and energy I would devote to it. When I moved to Connecticut and was accepted into the graduate music program at the Hartt School of Music, I had my answer: For the first time in my life, singing was my primary focus, and I was happy. Opera apprenticeships at Chautauqua, Miami and Sarasota followed, and I felt I was making headway in the operatic world.
Yet I had other responsibilities, and the arrival of our first child made the pursuit of an operatic career that much more difficult. My wife and I made the decision to move to Thailand, her native home. There were many good reasons for this relocation, and while it meant putting my operatic career plans on the back burner, I felt that being in Thailand would still enable me to find an alternative musical route to satisfy me. Initially, this was not the case, however, though I did have an enjoyable job, and I was teaching singing privately, as well. Eventually, of course, I found occasional venues and situations at which to perform, and I met virtually all the classical musicians in Bangkok and did many shows with them. Our family was burgeoning as well- we had three more children- and I was content. Then, in 2000 the Bangkok Opera was formed, and I became one of its regular principal artists, performing several leading roles over the next few years, as well as operas in Malaysia and Singapore.
We finally decided to return to the USA a few years later, and I have continued to sing and to teach- and been lucky to have met and worked with many wonderful artists. Singing is part of who I am: I cannot deny that part of myself. I am happy and I love what I’m doing, and I always hope to.