Norbert Ernst was born in Vienna and studied singing and the teaching of singing with Gerd Fussi at the Josef Matthias Hauer Conservatory in Wiener Neustadt and lieder and oratorio singing with Robert Holl at Vienna’s University for Music and the Performing Arts. He was also much influenced by masterclasses given by Kurt Equiluz and Walter Berry. His first professional engagement was in 2002, when he joined the Deutsche Oper am Rhein and made his acclaimed role début as David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. He repeated the role at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland, again to considerable acclaim. Guest appearances have taken this young Austrian tenor to the Vienna Volksoper, the Klagenfurt Municipal Theatre, the Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin and the Montreux Opera Festival, where he was heard as Telemaco in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse. In November 2003 he made his Paris Opéra début as Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos. But the undoubted high point of his career to date was his brilliant début at the Vienna State Opera in January 2008, when he took over at short notice as David in a revival of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, a début enthusiastically acclaimed by public and press alike. As a concert singer, Norbert Ernst has performed in Austria, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands in a repertory encompassing all the great oratorios and choral works from Bach and Handel to Mozart, Haydn and Puccini. Another important focus of Norbert Ernst’s work is his intense interest in the lieder of Franz Schubert, most notably his cycle Die schöne Müllerin.
He made his Bayreuth Festival début in 2004 as the Third Esquire in Parsifal, adding the Steersman in Der fliegende Holländer in 2005 and David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in 2007. He also sings David at the 2009 Bayreuth Festival.