The Australian opera and music world was in shock when Australian countertenor Max Riebl died of cancer on 30 April, aged just 30. The ethereal-voiced singer took vocal classes in Vienna and Melbourne, and also studied Baroque performance practice in Switzerland. His many credits included performances with Pinchgut Opera, The Song Company and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. In his own witty cabaret shows, he combined rock, pop and classical music, fusing Bach, Handel and Schubert with Garland, Radiohead and Morrissey.

Max Riebl

Max Riebl, working with The Song Company. Photo © Connor Malanos.

Erin Helyard, the Artistic Director of Pinchgut, described Riebl as “a singer of translucent, burnished tone and vivid, athletic coloratura” and “a gentle man who was thoughtful and calm”, while Mitchell Butel, who directed him in Pinchgut’s 2021 production of Cavalli’s The Loves of Apollo & Dafne, said he was “as charming and as gorgeous as any fairytale prince” and “a prince of a human being too. Wise and calm and smart and assured beyond his 30 years.”

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