Hermann Prey

Biography

Born: July 11, 1929; Berlin, Germany   Died: July 23, 1998; Krailling vor München  
Growing up during the regime of the the National Socialist Party, Hermann Prey was scheduled to be drafted at the age of 15 when the end of World War II brought peace and a chance for him to study voice with Gunther Baum and Jaro Prohaska at the Hochschule fur Musik in Berlin. He sang his first lieder recital in 1952 and the following year he made his operatic debut as Monuccio in d'Albert's Tiefland at Wiesbaden. He was then engaged by the Read more Hamburg State Opera (1953-1960) where besides singing most of the standard baritone roles he was also highly acclaimed for his work in modern operas by Liebermann, Dallapiccola, and Henze. During the next several years, Prey sang at the Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and at Cologne. His Bayreuth debut came in 1956 as Wolfram in Tannhäuser. After 1959, Munich became his operatic home although he continued to sing at all of the important opera houses in the world including London, New York, Paris, Milan, Chicago, San Francisco, and Amsterdam. He was also a regular visitor to the festivals at Salzburg and Edinburgh. He was internationally recognized for his Mozart interpretations including Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva, Guglielmo, and Papageno, but achieved fame with his Figaro in Barbiere di Siviglia, the elder Germont in La Traviata, the Barber in Die Schweigsame Frau by Richard Strauss, Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss. He also sang in many contemporary operas, including Pallas Athene by Krenek and Prinz von Homburg by Henze. Late in his career, he was a very successful Beckmesser in Die Meistersinger.

For all of his fame as an opera star, to many musicians, Hermann Prey is best remembered for his recitals. He gave his first American recital in 1956 and was a regular visitor until the end of his career. He was also a great favorite in Japan. He was especially well known for his interpretations of the songs of Schubert, but he was equally at home with the requirements of many other German and Austrian composers. He was less successful in the few times he moved outside of the German repertoire. On the concert stage, Prey was well known for his singing of the Bach Passions and more especially the Brahms Deutsches Requiem.

Many listeners compare Prey with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as a song interpreter, yet their approach to music making was quite different. Fischer-Dieskau gives each word and phrase an individual importance whereas Prey allowed the whole composition to unfold as an entity. Both approaches are valid and have their adherents. Hermann Prey's voice was a lyric baritone with great warmth and he had complete control of all dynamic variations. He was able to convey a sense of the comic elements of a song without losing the musical sense of the entire piece. He recorded a multi-volume series for Philips to trace the history of German lieder from the Minnesingers to songs by Reutter and Blacher. In 1982, he began teaching at the Musikhochschule Hamburg in order to pass along what he learned about music interpretation. He was also one of the founders of a Schubert Festival in Austria. His son Florian has also made a career as a baritone singing some of the same roles for which his father was most famous. Hermann Prey will always be remembered for the fine musicianship and the beauty of his voice. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 147 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Opera Gold: 100 Great Tracks
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002503602 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Marilyn Horne,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Henry Lewis,  Richard Bonynge,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 2.
    Discover Mozart
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300689 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Hermann Prey,  Evelyn Lear,  Thomas Steward,  Annerose Schmidt  ... 
    Conductor:  Otmar Suitner,  Hartmut Haenchen,  Heinz Fricke,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  C.P.E. Bach Chamber Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 3.
    Discover Opera
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300715 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Ritzmann,  Theo Adam,  Sylvia Geszty,  Ingeborg Springer  ... 
    Conductor:  Manfred Honeck,  Heinz Rögner,  Otmar Suitner,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Chorus  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 4.
    Schubert: Winterreise / Prey, Deutsch
    Label: Swr Music   Catalog: 19012 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Hermann Prey,  Helmut Deutsch
    CD: $18.99
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  • 5.
    Twenty Gems Of Viennese Operetta
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1249 Release Date: 07/24/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Richard Heuberger,  Carl Zeller,  Karl Millöcker  ... 
    Performer:  Hilde Gueden,  Sándor Kónya,  Helga Hildebrand,  Anneliese Rothenberger  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Stolz,  Fried Walter,  Werner Schmidt-Boelcke,  Heinrich Hollreiser  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  FFB Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 6.
    Nicolai Gedda - My Favorite Operetta Heroes
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 550579 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Franz Lehár
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda,  Wolfgang Anheisser,  Kurt Böhme,  Rita Streich  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Allers,  Willy Mattes,  Willi Boskovsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  Graunke Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $34.99
    CD: $28.99
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  • 7.
    Schubert Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94870 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 69
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Suzanne Lautenbacher,  György Pauk,  Peter Frankl,  Walter Hautzig  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt,  Jörg Faerber,  Andreas Weiser,  Romano Gandolfi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra,  Bell'Arte Trio  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $138.99
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  • 8.
    Wolf: Morike Lieder; Pfitzner: Eichen / Hermann Prey, Gerald Moore
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002178502 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Pfitzner,  Hugo Wolf,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Hermann Prey,  Gerald Moore
    CD: $12.99
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  • 9.
    Schubert: Schwanengesang / Hermann Prey
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002109102 Release Date: 08/05/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Hermann Prey,  Walter Klien,  Hermann [Baritone Vocal] Prey,  Karl Engel
    CD: $12.99
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  • 10.
    Richard Strauss: Complete Operas
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002013902 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 33
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Anneliese Rothenberger,  Cäcilie Reich,  Eva Maria Rogner,  Ira Malaniuk  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Keilberth,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Karl Böhm,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $175.98
    CD: $167.49
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  • 11.
    Bernard Haitink: The Symphony Edition [36-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002010702 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 36
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Lucia Popp,  Carolyn Watkinson,  Peter Schreier,  Robert Holl  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Netherlands Radio Chorus,  St. Willibrod Boy's Choir  ... 
    CD: $117.99
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  • 12.
    J. Strauss Jr.: Operettas / Boskovsky, Welser-Most
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 8466429 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.
    Performer:  Elizabeth Magnuson,  Martina Jankova,  Michael Volle,  Alexander Pereira  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst,  Franz Allers,  Willi Boskovsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Opera Chorus,  Zurich Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra  ... 
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    CD: $39.99
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  • 13.
    Strauss: The Great Operas
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 3179923 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 22
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Gerd Nienstedt,  José Van Dam,  Agnes Baltsa,  Horst Nitsche  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Rudolf Kempe,  Marek Janowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $110.98
    CD: $84.49
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  • 14.
    Schubert: Alfonso und Estrella / Schreier, Mathis, Prey, Suitner
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94689 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Theo Adam,  Hermann Prey,  Edith Mathis,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Otmar Suitner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus
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    CD: $17.99
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  • 15.
    Nessler: Der Trompeter Von Sackingen / Froschauer, Prey, Klepper, Spath
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5187 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Viktor Nessler
    Performer:  Reinhard Hagen,  Hermann Prey,  Franz Hawlata,  Alfred Kuhn  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Froschauer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Chorus,  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 16.
    Sacred Music - Bach, Handel, Beethoven / Klemperer
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 935402 Release Date: 08/20/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Franz Crass,  Agnes Giebel,  Nicolai Gedda,  Dame Janet Baker  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  BBC Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $32.98
    CD: $27.49
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  • 17.
    Millocker: Gasparone / Wallberg, Prey, Rothenberger
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 150672 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Karl Millöcker
    Performer:  Gabriele Fuchs,  Hermann Prey,  Anneliese Rothenberger,  Gunter Wewel  ... 
    Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  Munich Radio Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 18.
    Wagner: Die Feen; Das Liebesverbot; Rienzi / Sawallisch, Bavarian State Opera [9-CD Set]
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 688139 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  June Anderson,  Linda Esther-Gray,  Krisztina Láki,  Kari Lövaas  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $118.99
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  • 19.
    Bizet: Carmen (Sung In German) / Ludwig, Prey, Schock, Stein
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 123002 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Melitta Muszely,  Hermann Prey,  Christa Ludwig,  Rudolf Schock
    Conductor:  Horst Stein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Schoneberg Boys Choir,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $24.99
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  • 20.
    Lehar: Die Lustige Witwe / Wallberg, Jerusalem, Donath, Moser, Kusche
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 235312 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Lehár
    Performer:  Hermann Prey,  Benno Kusche,  Helen Donath,  Edda Moser  ... 
    Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Munich Radio Orchestra
    On sale! $16.98
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  • 21.
    60 Jahre Munchner Rundfunkorchester: Great Singers Live
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900309 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Francesco Cilča,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Lucia Popp,  Hermann Prey  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ghiaurov,  Kurt Eichhorn,  Georges Prętre,  Alfredo Antonini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
    Recommendation
    CD: $58.99
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  • 22.
    Legenden der Operette [10-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 166622 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Karl Millöcker,  Leo Fall,  Eduard Künneke  ... 
    Performer:  Fritz Wunderlich,  Lisa Otto,  Rudolf Schock,  Liselotte Schmidt  ... 
    Conductor:  Fried Walter,  Werner Schmidt-Boelcke,  Hans Moltkau,  Carl Michalski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Symphony Orchestra,  Günther Arndt Chorus,  Bavarian State Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $48.49
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  • 23.
    100 Best Operetta
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 972635 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Various,  Franz Lehár,  Carl Zeller,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Mady Mesplé,  Régine Crespin,  Hermann Prey,  Victoria de los Angeles  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 24.
    Solti Conducts The Mozart Operas [15-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001745402 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Tom Krause,  Arthur Davies,  Gabriel Bacquier,  Pilar Lorengar  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  London Opera Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $63.49
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  • 25.
    Essential Carols
    Label: Cct   Catalog: 5162 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  William James Kirkpatrick,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Patrick Hadley  ... 
    Performer:  Francis Grier,  Gareth Morrell,  Ian Hare,  Stephen Varcoe  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Philip Ledger,  Sir David Willcocks,  Richard Hickox,  Eric Ericson  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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