Opera Scotland

Peter Schreier Suggest updates

Born Gauernitz, Meissen, 29 July 1935.

Died Dresden, 25 December 2019.

(East) German tenor, later conductor.

Peter Schreier was one of the greatest lyric tenors of his generation, renowned particularly for his performances of Bach and Mozart.  As a conductor later on, he specialised in the choral works of Bach.

As a child he was a member of the Kreuz-chor in Dresden, and appeared as one of the three boys in The Magic Flute in 1944, shortly before the bombing of the city, when the Semper Oper was destroyed.  He studied in Leipzig and Dresden.

He was a member of the Dresden State Opera, making his professional debut in 1959 as First Prisoner in Fidelio.  He remained with that company to 1963, when he moved to the Berlin State Opera.  He first sang at the New York Met in 1963 and Vienna State Opera in 1967.  He was a frequent performer at the Salzburg Festival, with a repertoire including Mozart (Ferrando, Tamino) and Wagner (David, Loge).  He was renowned as an interpreter of the Evangelist in both of Bach's Passions.

Operatic appearances in Britain were rare - he sang Ferrando when the Hamburg Company visited Sadler's Wells in 1968.  He was booked for a Royal Opera debut in the same part in 1975, but had to wothdraw.  However he did appear frequently in London in lieder recitals at the Wigmore Hall.  He also conducted student  forces in London in Bach choral masterpieces.

His only appearances in Scotland were in the 1981 performances of the St Matthew Passion - perhaps not entirely authenticin style, but wonderfully dramatic nonetheless..

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