|Born||29 July 1935|
|Died||25 December 2019 84) (aged|
Peter Schreier (29 July 1935 – 25 December 2019)was a German tenor in opera, concert and lied, and a conductor. He was regarded as one of the leading lyric tenors of the 20th century.
Schreier was a member of the Dresdner Kreuzchor conducted by Rudolf Mauersberger, performing as an alto soloist. He became a tenor, focused on concert and lieder singing, well known internationally for the Evangelist parts in Bach's Christmas Oratorio and Passion. A member of the Berlin State Opera from 1963, he appeared in Mozart roles such as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte , and in the title role of Pfitzner's Palestrina , among others. He appeared at the Vienna State Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, among others, as one of few singers from the German Democratic Republic to perform internationally.
Schreier made many recordings, especially of Bach's works as both a singer and a conductor, even simultaneously. He recorded many lieder including the song cycles by Schubert and Schumann. He was known for intelligent understanding of texts and their musical expression with intensity. Schreier received awards including the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, Léonie Sonning Music Prize.
Schreier was born in Meissen, Saxony, and grew up in the village of Gauernitz, near Meissen, where his father was a teacher, cantor and organist. In June 1945, when Schreier was almost ten years old, and just a few months after the destruction of Dresden, he entered the boarding school of the Dresdner Kreuzchor boys' choir. Its conductor Rudolf Mauersberger recognized his talent. He let him sing many solo alto parts and created compositions with his voice in mind. Solo recordings from the time (1948–1951) were reissued on compact disc.
Schreier was 16 years old when his voice broke, and he became a tenor, as he had passionately wished, because of the several Evangelists – all tenors – in J.S. Bach's Passions and in his Christmas Oratorio . After he had decided to become a professional singer he took voice lessons, privately from 1954 to 1956,then at the Musikhochschule Dresden, where he also studied conducting.
Peter Schreier made his professional debut at the Dresdner Staatsoper in 1957, as the First Prisoner in Beethoven's Fidelio .His breakthrough came in 1962 as Belmonte in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail , and he also appeared as Tamino in The Magic Flute . In 1963, he became a member of the Berlin State Opera. Starting in 1966, he was for many years an annual guest of the Vienna State Opera. That same year he made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival as the young seaman in Tristan und Isolde with Karl Böhm as conductor. For 25 years, beginning in 1967, he took part in the program of the annual Salzburg Festival. In 1969, he starred as The Witch in Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel , in a CD recording that featured the Staatskapelle Dresden. He performed more than 60 operatic roles. It was important to him to sing the title role of Palestrina , the opera by Hans Pfitzner, not only in Munich but also in East Berlin — a controversial issue at the time in East Germany.
Schreier was one of few singers from the German Democratic Republic to perform internationally, including at the Metropolitan Opera.He appeared regularly at the Vienna State Opera, where he sang 200 performances, beginning as Tamino in 1967, also as Belmonte, Don Ottavio in Mozart's Don Giovanni, the title role of Idomeneo , Flamand in Capriccio by Richard Strauss, Lenski in Tchaikovsky's Eugen Onegin , Count Almaviva in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia and Loge in Wagner's Das Rheingold . His Wagner roles also included Mime in Siegfried .
He recorded Bach cantatas regularly with the Thomanerchor and the Gewandhaus Orchestra conducted by Erhard Mauersberger, with soloists including Adele Stolte, Annelies Burmeister and Theo Adam, such as the cantata for Pentecost Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! BWV 172, in 1970.He was the Evangelist in Bach's St Matthew Passion in recordings conducted by both Rudolf and Erhard Mauersberger, Karl Richter, Claudio Abbado and Herbert von Karajan. He recorded Bach's St John Passion and Christmas Oratorio with Helmuth Rilling.
In June 2000, Schreier left the opera stage.His last role at the Berlin State Opera was Tamino; he argued that he could no longer pretend to be a young prince. He ended his singing career on 22 December 2005, combining the functions of Evangelist and conductor in a performance of Bach's Christmas Oratorio in Prague. He kept singing lieder, a genre he had pursued throughout his career, including the song cycles by Schubert and Schumann.
From the early 1970s, Schreier was also a conductor with a special interest in the works of Mozart, Bach, and Haydn.He conducted orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic.
Schreier was married and lived in Dresden from 1945 until his death, in the district of Loschwitz.He died in Dresden on Christmas Day, 25 December 2019, after a long illness. He was survived by his wife, Renate, and two sons, Torsten and Ralf. The funeral service took place at the Kreuzkirche, Dresden on 8 January 2020.
Schreier was an extremely intelligent singer, with sympathetic feeling for the text. eine der eindrucksvollsten Stimmen unseres Landes"), who represented Germany in the opera houses of the world as a nation of culture ("für die Kulturnation Deutschland gestanden"), remembered as the Evangelist in Bach's Passions, and having written music history in a career of four decades.Monika Grütters, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, summarised after his death that he was one of the most impressive voices from Germany ("
The German National Library holds recordings by Schreier, including:
Helen Jeanette Donath is an American soprano with a career spanning fifty years.
Edith Mathis is a Swiss soprano and a leading exponent of the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart worldwide. She is known for parts in Mozart operas, but also took part in premieres of operas such as Henze's Der junge Lord.
The Dresdner Kreuzchor is the boys' choir of the Kreuzkirche in Dresden, Germany. It has a seven-century history and a world-wide reputation. Today, the choir has about 150 members between the ages of 9 and 19, from Dresden and the surrounding region. The boys attend the Kreuzschule in Dresden. They are also called "Kruzianer".
Klaus Mertens is a German bass and bass-baritone singer who is known especially for his interpretation of the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach for bass voice.
Christoph Genz is a German tenor in opera and concert.
Erhard Mauersberger was a German choral conductor who conducted the Thomanerchor as the 14th Thomaskantor since Johann Sebastian Bach. He was also an academic teacher and composer.
Adele Stolte was a German soprano singer in concert and Lieder, and an academic voice teacher.
Jan Kobow is a German classical tenor in concert, Lied, and Baroque opera.
Andreas Schmidt is a German classical bass-baritone in opera and concert.
Marcus Ullmann is a German classical tenor.
Werner Güra is a German classical tenor in opera, concert and Lied, also an academic teacher in Zurich.
Thomas Thomaschke is a German bass singer in opera and concert. He has appeared in parts such as Hunding in Wagner's Die Walküre and Sarastro in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte in major opera houses in Europe and international festivals. He has also performed and recorded oratorios and cantatas.
Carola Nossek is a German operatic soprano and academic voice teacher. A member of the Staatsoper Berlin for two decades, she was awarded the title Kammersängerin. She appeared in world premieres and made several recordings in opera and concert settings.
Horst Laubenthal, real name Horst Neumaier, is a German operatic tenor and academic voice teacher. He is known internationally, both as an opera singer especially in Mozart roles such as Belmonte, Don Ottavio and Tamino, and as a concert and recital singer, with a focus on works by Johann Sebastian Bach. He has appeared at major opera houses and festivals, including the Glyndebourne Festival and the Salzburg Festival, and made many recordings, including rarely performed works such as Korngold's Violanta.
Celestina Casapietra is an Italian operatic soprano who was a member of the Berlin State Opera for decades. She made an international career, and recorded several operas and concerts.
Eberhard Büchner is a German operatic and concert tenor. He made his debut in 1964 as Tamino in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Mecklenburg State Theatre.
Benedikt Kristjánsson is an Icelandic operatic and concert tenor who is based in Germany and has appeared internationally. He focuses on Baroque music, especially by Johann Sebastian Bach, but has also performed and recorded Romantic lieder and contemporary music. He has performed Bach's St John Passion in an arrangement for one singer, keyboard and percussion, notably in a live broadcast from Bach's resting place at the Thomaskirche on Good Friday 2020.
Rolf Apreck was a German operatic tenor.
Benjamin-Helge Bruns is a German operatic tenor.
Gerda Schriever was a German contralto in oratorio and recital, and an academic teacher. She appeared for decades with the Thomanerchor in Leipzig, also recording and for broadcast. She appeared at international festivals. Schriever was an academic voice teacher at the University of Music and Theatre Leipzig.