Dies the tenor Peter Schreier at the age of 84

The tenor and German conductor Peter Schreier died at the age of 84, on the 25th of December, in the university hospital of Dresden. The news was spread this Th

Dies the tenor Peter Schreier at the age of 84

The tenor and German conductor Peter Schreier died at the age of 84, on the 25th of December, in the university hospital of Dresden. The news was spread this Thursday on the website of the tabloid Bild for the reporter Jürgen Helfricht, a personal friend and author of her only biography (Peter Schreier - Melodien eines Lebens, 2008). The singer had spent the christmas Eve in family, in his country house of Lungkwitz, but his delicate health deteriorated suddenly on the morning of Christmas. A holiday as linked, paradoxically, to his career as a singer.

Schreier was one of the greatest evangelists in the Christmas Oratory, of Bach. Recorded the piece with Karl Richter and filmed with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, but he also made an excellent recording for Philips, in 1987, as a director, and singer. In 2005, he chose this same composition of Bach for his withdrawal as the basis of the scenarios. In addition, his voice is associated with Christmas for other reasons. In 1974 he recorded the album of christmas carols most famous in the former GDR, Peter Schreier singt Weihnachtslieder, with nearly a million and a half copies sold. He also excelled as evangelist in the two passions of Bach, which he recorded also as a singer and director, in the lied romantic and in the operas of Mozart to build up a discography that exceeds the two hundred recordings. We talk about the main and most recognized lyric tenor German, from Fritz Wunderlich until the rise of Jonas Kaufmann.

Precisely, the premature death of Wunderlich in 1966, at the age of 35, catapulted the career opera Schreier. He made his debut the following year at the Salzburg Festival, as Tamino in The magic flute, Mozart. And there was that summer schedule during the next twenty-five years. In fact, his voice had not the beauty of timbre, nor the technique and quality of Wunderlich, but made up for it with an iron discipline and an exquisite musicality. “Mozart is the most musical of all the composers. His style is natural, energetic and nobly lyrical,” acknowledged Schreier, in his book of memories Im Rückspiegel: Erinnerungen und Ansichten (2005). In Salzburg he sang the roles for the tenor of all the major operas of Mozart, from Idamante in Idomeneo to Tito in clemenza di Tito. And recorded in the seventies under the direction of Karl Böhm on Deutsche Grammophon, with the exception of Tamino that he recorded for Philips with Colin Davis; one of them, as Belmonte in the Abduction in the seraglio, it was registered in the nineties with Nikolaus Harnoncourt.


With Verdi, from Bilbao to heaven of All the women of Luciano Pavarotti

Natural Meissen and the son of a choir director, Schreier joined with eight years in the Dresdner Kreuzchor. Its director, Rudolf Mauersberger, discovered your excellent voice of contralto. And recorded, since then, several albums as a solo artist. With that choir had their first stage experience, in 1944, as one of the Three boys in The magic flute. But the young Schreier continued forming, after his change of voice. He entered the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber, in 1956. And debuted, three years later, as the First prisoner in Fidelio, of Beethoven, in the Opera of Dresden. In 1961 he was part of the company. Then he started an ascending career as a tenor mozartian, after making his debut as Belmonte in the State Opera of Berlin, in 1963. The Scala of Milan, the Metropolitan Opera of New York, the Vienna State Opera or the Theater Columbus of Buenos Aires, in addition to Salzburg, enjoyed his incarnations of Tamino and Belmonte or Ferrando in Così fan tutte.

Schreier also made some sporadic foray into Wagner, that allowed him to make his debut at the Bayreuth Festival, in 1966, as a Young sailor in Tristan and Isolde. Later, in the seventies, he recorded David of The master singers and Loge of the gold of The Rhine under the direction of Herbert von Karajan. And it was Max on the legendary recording of The poacher, Weber, under the direction of Carlos Kleiber. He also recorded Jacquino Fidelio and the role of Flamand in Capriccio, Strauss, with Böhm. And met, in 1988, his dream of recording the leading role of Palestrina, Pfitzner, which was his favorite opera.

But this tenor German always considered it central in his career to the music of Bach and lieder of Beethoven, Schubert, and Schumann. In this repertoire not only exhibited the clarity of his diction, but also the simplicity of their line of song and the silver shine of her pianissimo. Apart from the passions and the oratory of christmas of Bach, made recordings unforgettable cycles of Schubert with András Schiff, while perhaps the milestone of his career was the famous Winterreise, which was recorded strictly live, at the rebuilt Semper Opera house in Dresden, in February of 1985, and with Sviatoslav Richter at the piano (Philips). In Spain we were able to enjoy some of your art, although some of you may remember still her magnificent recital in the first edition of the Cycle of the Lieder, in the Teatro de la Zarzuela, in April of 1995.

The normal decline of the voice of Schreier intensified little by little his career as a conductor, he had started in the seventies. Always related to his performances at the podium with his prior experience as a singer. But it is interesting to note the influence, especially in Bach, who exerted on him Nikolaus Harnoncourt; and not so much in relation to the use of period instruments, which never interested him, such as in the joint.

In 2015, the label Berlin Classics released a compilation on eight discs with recordings of little-known Peter Schreier to celebrate his eightieth birthday. Their content illuminates many corners little known of his immense repertoire of both church music (Hasse, Fux, Scarlatti, and Zelenka), as well as lieder of other composers (Mendelssohn, Wolf, Dvorak, and Mahler), operettas (Lehár and Künnecke) and music of the TWENTIETH century (Hindemith, Weill, Shostakovich, Britten and Mittergradnegger). In the libretto Karsten Blüthgen question to Schreier for the hereafter, but also for what I would do if I were to be reborn. The tenor laughs out loud, even if it responds with sincerity: “My faith is more geared towards real people like Bach and Brahms”. And he concludes: “I'm Not sure want to be a singer. I've had a lot of stress, since everyone expected the best of me. I could not avoid the slightest weakness and my body does not always cooperated”. He speaks of the modest man, but in his records we listen to an artist colossal.

Date Of Update: 27 December 2019, 16:00