Despite his untimely departure of Hermann Prey, his legacy endures, and he is remembered as one of the finest baritones of his generation, leaving behind a rich musical heritage for future performers to admire and aspire to.
In today’s article, we take a look into his life as we find out more on his cause of death.
Hermann Prey’s Biography
Hermann Prey was a celebrated German lyric baritone who left an indelible mark on the Lied, operatic, and concert repertoire.
He was born in Berlin on July 11, 1929, and from a young age, he showed a natural flair for singing. Prey, who lived through the upheaval of World War II, developed into a remarkable musician throughout his early years and went on to become one of Germany’s most adored baritones.
Prey’s career in the musical world began when he enrolled in the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin to study voice. His winning the top award in the Hessischer Rundfunk’s Frankfurt competition in 1952 was a crucial turning point in his early career.
The following year, he performed in Eugen d’Albert’s Tiefland as Moruccio with the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden in Bad Salzschlirf.
Prey then joined the resident company at the Hamburg State Opera, where he improved his performance and established himself as a rising star.
He also performed as a special guest at a number of prominent locations while he was living in Hamburg, including the Salzburg Festival. International audiences were instantly captivated by his talent and engaging presentations.
Prey made his American recital debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1956. From 1960 through 1970, he regularly performed at the Metropolitan Opera.
He gained fame in the United States and made a name for himself as a notable performer thanks to his mesmerising voice and dominating onstage presence. In addition, he made his Bayreuth debut in 1965 as Wolfram in Tannhäuser, and he frequently performed at the esteemed festival.
Prey was a versatile musician, but he was particularly interested in the music of composers like Schubert, Schumann, Richard Strauss, and Gustav Mahler.
Particularly praised were his performances of Schwanengesang and Schubert’s song cycles Die schöne Müllerin and Die Winterreise. Additionally, he excelled in soloist roles in Brahms’ A German Requiem and Bach’s Passions.
Beyond the opera stage, Prey had other talents. He was equally skilled at acting in operettas, and his comic timing and unmatched acting abilities pleased German television viewers.
His numerous collaborations with fellow accomplished baritone Fritz Wunderlich resulted in a dynamic duo that won them both a lot of praise.
Prey planned the first Schubertiade Vorarlberg, a celebration of Franz Schubert’s life and works, at Hohenems, Austria, in 1976. Prey’s dedication to the composer’s music and desire to spread it to others may be seen in this project.
Prey was in high demand for his musical expertise and aesthetic views throughout his career. He began teaching at Hamburg’s Hochschule für Musik und Theatre in 1982, where he was able to impart his vast knowledge to young musicians.
A insight into his life as an opera singer and performer is provided in his book, “First Night Fever: The Memoirs of Hermann Prey,” which he also wrote.
Prey gained a following in the classical music community thanks to his extraordinary vocal range and endearing stage persona. His distinct voice, which was compared to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s but with a darker and deeper character, set him apart.
He demonstrated his expertise of the genre in his recordings, which included a multi-volume series on the history of the lied.
Hermann Prey’s Cause Of Death
Hermann Prey passed away from a heart attack on July 22, 1998, in Krailling, Bavaria, at the age of 69.