The Full Wiki

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (born 28 May 1925) is a now retired Germanmarker lyric baritone and conductor of classical music, and one of the most famous lieder (art song) performers of the post-war period. At his peak, he was greatly admired for his interpretive insights and the note-perfect control of the tonal qualities and shadings of his voice. He was notable, too, for his exceptional rhythmic sense and incisive diction (sometimes, critics asserted, at the expense of an ideally smooth legato vocal line). Fischer-Dieskau has also performed and recorded many operatic roles.

His singing voice was a high, light, sweet-sounding baritone with lots of head-voice resonance. In spite of this, he performed and recorded (with mixed success) such heroic bass-baritone roles as Wotan, Hans Sachs, Friedrich von Telramund, Amfortas, the Dutchman, Mandryga, Jochanaan, and Orest, and, Verdian bellowing baritone roles like Iago, Renato, MacBeth, Rigoletto, and even Scarpia. His stage-personality was invariably insightful and refined, even when he played stupid, innocent or childish characters such as Papageno, Gunther, Falstaff or Fritz Kothner the baker (in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg).

Early years

Albert Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was born in Berlin to Albert, a school principal, and Dora, a teacher. He started singing as a child and began formal voice lessons at the age of 16. When he was drafted into the Wehrmacht during World War Two, in 1943, Fischer-Dieskau had just completed his secondary school studies and one semester at the Berlin Conservatory. He was captured in Italy in 1945 and spent two years as an American prisoner of war. During that time, he sang lieder in PoW camps to homesick German soldiers.

Singing career

In 1947, he returned to Germany where he launched his professional career as a singer in Badenweilermarker, singing in Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem without any rehearsal. (He was a last-minute substitute for an indisposed singer.) He gave his first lieder recital in Leipzigmarker in the autumn of 1947 and followed it soon afterwards with a highly successful first concert at Berlin's Titania-Palast.

From early in his career he collaborated with famous lyric sopranos Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Irmgard Seefried, and the recording producer Walter Legge, issuing instantly-successful albums of lieder by Schubert and Hugo Wolf.

In the autumn of 1948, Fischer-Dieskau was engaged as principal lyric baritone at the Städtische Oper Berlinmarker (Municipal Opera, West Berlin), making his debut as Posa in Verdi's Don Carlos under Ferenc Fricsay. This company, known after 1961 as the Deutsche Opermarker, would remain his artistic home until his retirement from the operatic stage, in 1978.

Subsequently, Fischer-Dieskau made guest appearances at the opera houses in Viennamarker and Munichmarker. After 1949 he made concert tours in the Netherlands, Switzerland, France and Italy. In 1951, he made his Salzburg Festival concert debut with Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen under Wilhelm Furtwängler. That year, he also made his British debut, at the Royal Albert Hallmarker in Londonmarker during the Festival of Britain. He appeared in Frederick Delius's A Mass of Life, conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham. He made regular opera appearances at the Bayreuth Festivalmarker between 1954 and 1961 and at the Salzburg Festival from 1956 until the early 1970s.

As an opera singer, Fischer-Dieskau performed mainly in Berlin and at the Bavarian State Opera in Munichmarker. He also made guest appearances at the Vienna State Operamarker, at the Royal Opera Housemarker, Covent Gardenmarker in London, at the Hamburg State Operamarker, in Japan, and at the King's Theatre in Edinburghmarker, during the Edinburgh Festival. His first tour in the United States took place in 1955, when he was 29, with his concert debut in Cincinnatimarker on 15 April (J. S. Bach's Kreuzstab cantata) and 16 April (Ein Deutsches Requiem). His American lieder debut, singing Franz Schubert songs, took place in Saint Paul, Minnesotamarker, on 19 April. His New York City debut occurred on 2 May at The Town Hall, where he sang Schubert's song cycle Winterreise without intermission. Both American recitals were accompanied by pianist Gerald Moore.

In 1951, Fischer-Dieskau made his first of many recordings of lieder with Gerald Moore at the EMI Studios, London. They would perform in recitals until Moore retired from public performance in 1967. They continued, however, to record together until 1972, in which year they completed their massive project of recording all of the Schubert lieder appropriate for the male voice. Gerald Moore retired completely in 1972, and died in 1987, aged 87. Their recordings of Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise are highly prized examples of an artistic partnership.

Fischer-Dieskau also performed many works of contemporary music, including Benjamin Britten, Samuel Barber, Hans Werner Henze, Karl Amadeus Hartmann (who wrote his Gesangsszene for him), Ernst Krenek, Witold Lutosławski, Siegfried Matthus, Winfried Zillig, Gottfried von Einem and Aribert Reimann.

Beyond his recordings of lieder and the German opera repertoire, Fischer-Dieskau also recorded performances in the Italian operatic field. His recordings of Verdi's Rigoletto (alongside Renata Scotto and Carlo Bergonzi) and Rodrigo in Verdi's Don Carlos, are probably the most respected of these ventures. Others, such as the title role in Verdi's Macbeth (with Elena Souliotis), Giorgio Germont in Verdi's La traviata, and Scarpia in Giacomo Puccini's Tosca (with Birgit Nilsson), are not delivered by him with the same degree of effectiveness. They display his characteristic perceptiveness and intelligence but lack idiomatic Mediterranean vocal colour and temperament - perhaps, in short, seeming too Germanic. However, as with the operatic interpretations of Schwarzkopf and Maria Callas, Fisher-Dieskau's performances on disc always seem thought out and are often true to the score. Fischer-Dieskau retired from opera in 1978, the year he recorded his final opera, Aribert Reimann's "Lear."

He retired from the concert hall in 1992 and dedicated himself to conducting, teaching (especially the interpretation of lieder), painting and writing books. He is also an honorary member of the Robert Schumann Society.

Personal life

In 1949, Fischer-Dieskau married the cellist Irmgard Poppen. Together they had three sons: Mathias (stage designer), Martin (conductor), and Manuel (cellist). Irmgard died in 1963 of complications following childbirth. Afterwards, Fischer-Dieskau was married to the actress Ruth Leuwerik, from 1965 to 1967, and Christina Pugel-Schule, from 1968 to 1975. Since 1977 he has been married to the soprano Julia Varady.

Partial discography

As singer

Fischer Dieskau recorded mainly on the labels EMI, DG and ORFEO.

On video

  • Schubert, "Winterreise", recorded July 1990, with Murray Perahia (piano), from Sony Classical.
  • Schubert, "Winterreise", recorded January 1979, with Alfred Brendel (piano), Sender Freies Berlin (SFB), from TDK 2005.
  • Mozart, Don Giovanni, Deutsche Oper Berlin, with Ferenc Fricsay, live performance in German, recorded September 24, 1961. Cast includes Pilar Lorengar, Elisabeth Grümmer, Walther Berry, Erika Koth, Donald Grobe, and Josef Greindl.
  • Strauss (Richard), Mahler, and Schubert: "Schwarzkopf, Seefried, and Fischer-Dieskau", a DVD from EMI Classics. Includes Schwarzkopf playing the Marschallin and Fischer-Dieskau singing "Der Erlkönig".

As conductor


  1. Liner notes to Portrait of Dietriech [sic] Fischer-Dieskau, HMV, released by World Record Club


  • The Fischer-Dieskau Book of Lieder: The Original Texts of over 750 Songs, translated by Richard Stokes and George Bird. Random House, 1977. (ISBN 0-394-49435-0)
  • Reverberations: The Memoirs of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, translated by Ruth Hein. Fromm International, 1989. (ISBN 0-88064-137-1)
  • Robert Schumann Words and Music: The Vocal Compositions, translated by Reinhard G. Pauly. Hal Leonard, 1992. (ISBN 0-931340-06-3)
  • Schubert's Songs: A Biographical Study. Alfred A. Knopf, 1977. (ISBN 0-394-48048-1)
  • Wagner and Nietzsche, translated by Joachim Neugroschel. Continuum International, 1976.

Further reading

  • Neunzig, Hans A. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau Trans. Kenneth S Whitton. Gerald Duckworth & Co, 1998. (ISBN 0-7156-2818-6)
  • Whitton, Kenneth S. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: Mastersinger Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1981. (ISBN 0-8419-0728-5)

External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address