Hermann Prey is a German baritone. A great admirer of Schubert’s vocal repertoire, he is one of the most brilliant Lieder vocalists. He is also known for his performances of Mozart and Wagner’s repertoire.
Hermann Prey was born on July 11, 1929 in Berlin. From the age of 10, he was part of the Mozart Choir in Berlin and at age 19, he started studying music at the Music Academy in Berlin with Harry Gottschalk and Günther Baum. In 1951, he gave his first lieder recital. During the following year, he was awarded the first prize of the “Meistersinger” vocal competition in Nuremberg. In 1953, he joined the Hamburg State Opera, for which he will perform many different roles. He became very well known at an international level for his interpretation of Figaro in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at the Vienna State Opera. After a memorable performance at the Salzburg Festival, he was invited to participate in several international music festivals and in prestigious venues, such as La Scala in Milan, Covent Garden, the Met and Bayreuth. At the age of 33, he was appointed Kammersänger (honorific title for distinguished singers of opera) at the Munich Opera.
Passionate about lieder, Hermann Prey dedicated a lot of his time to singing Schubert’s musical works. As a man of great musical curiosity and culture, and he covered a large repertoire, thus focusing on different styles, spanning from the classical opera to the German operetta, also including recitals and contemporary works. He allowed the public to rediscover forgotten composers such as Pfitzner and Loewe.
Very interested in music transmission, he created the Hohenems' “Schubert Festival” in 1976, as well as the “Schubertiade” in Vienna, events celebrating Schubert's repertoire. He devoted much of his career to pedagogy and taught interpretation at the University of music in Hamburg. He died on the 22nd of July, 1998 at the age of 69, in Krailling, Bavaria.
Six landmark dates in the life of Hermann Prey
1952: Travelled to the United States after winning first prize at the "Meistersinger" competition
1953: Joined the Hamburg State Opera
1962: Joined the Munich Opera and is appointed Kammersänger (honorific title for distinguished singers of opera)
1965: from this year, he played the role of Wolfram in Tannhäuser by Wagner in Bayreuth for several years
1981: Publication of his book Premierenfieber (First Night Fever)
1983: Became a vocals teacher in Hamburg