Hermann Prey


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 121 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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  ... 
    CD: $33.99
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  • 2.
    111 Classics for Christmas
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002179902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Leroy Anderson,  Leopold Mozart,  Johnny Marks,  John Frederic Coots  ... 
    Performer:  Helen Donath,  Anna Reynolds,  Christa Ludwig,  Maria Teresa Garatti  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler,  Karl Richter,  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
    CD: $35.99
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  • 3.
    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  ... 
    CD: $138.99
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  • 4.
    Wolf: Morike Lieder; Pfitzner: Eichen / Hermann Prey, Gerald Moore
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002178502 Release Date: 10/14/2014  
    Composer:  Hans Pfitzner,  Hugo Wolf,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Hermann Prey,  Gerald Moore
    CD: $12.99
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  • 5.
    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
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  • 6.
    Mozart: Cosi fan Tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Idomeneo, Don Giovanni
    Label: Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog: 9918 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Gundula Janowitz,  Reri Grist,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm,  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Colin Davis,  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Opera Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $30.99
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  • 7.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $175.98
    CD: $161.49
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  • 8.
    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: $113.99
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  • 9.
    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  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 10.
    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: $91.49
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  • 11.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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  ... 
    CD: $31.99
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    60 Jahre Munchner Rundfunkorchester: Great Singers Live
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900309 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Lucia Popp,  Hermann Prey  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ghiaurov,  Kurt Eichhorn,  Georges Prêtre,  Alfredo Antonini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
    CD: $58.99
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  • 16.
    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  ... 
    CD: $62.99
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  • 17.
    Beethoven: Complete Songs For Voice & Piano / Prey, Coburn, Hokanson
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5140 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Leonard Hokanson,  Hermann Prey,  Pamela Coburn
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Matkowitz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Heinrich Schütz Choir
    CD: $24.99
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  • 18.
    Schubert: Lieder On Record (1898-2012) [17-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 27575 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Peter Schreier,  Steven Zehr,  Thomas Hampson,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
    CD: $75.49
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  • 19.
    Great Voices Of The Century / Bartoli, Prey, Schock, Domingo, Wunderlich, Callas
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 9056 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Lucia Aliberti,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Piero Cappuccilli,  Rudolf Schock  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 20.
    Rossini: Operas / Claudio Abbado [9-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001676502 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Luigi Roni,  Stefania Malagú,  Renato Cesari,  Enzo Dara  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $49.98
    CD: $41.99
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  • 21.
    Hermann Prey: Liederabend 1963
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93713 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Cornelius,  Hans Pfitzner,  Wolfgang Fortner,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Hermann Prey,  Günther Weissenborn
    CD: $18.99
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  • 22.
    Bach: St Matthew Passion / Guttenberg, Prey, Baldin, Van Nes, Marshall
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4568 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Hermann Prey,  Claes-hakan Ahnsjo,  Margaret Marshall,  Jard Van Nes  ... 
    Conductor:  Enoch zu Guttenberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Collegium
    On sale! $29.99
    DVD: $26.99
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  • 23.
    Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem; Mozart: Serenata Notturna / Klemperer
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5002 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer,  Hermann Prey
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Cologne Radio Chorus
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    Mozart: Die Hochzeit des Figaro / Prey, Gueden, Rothenberger, Suitner
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300116 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Anneliese Rothenberger,  Hilde Gueden,  Hermann Prey,  Edith Mathis  ... 
    Conductor:  Otmar Suitner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden State Opera Chorus
    CD: $29.99
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  • 25.
    Icon - Fritz Wunderlich
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 29525 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Heinrich Finck,  Heinrich Isaac,  Adam Krieger,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Herbert Naumann,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Otto Steinkopf,  Gerhard Kastner  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Forster,  Hans Müller-Kray,  Berislav Klobucar,  Robert Heger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin St. Hedwig Cathedral Choir,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $57.49
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