Legendary German Tenor Peter Schreier Dies Aged 84

In this picture from September 24, 2011, German singer and conductor Peter Schreier speaks after he was awarded the Mendelssohn prize in Leipzig, eastern Germany. PETER ENDIG / DPA / AFP

 

 

German singer and conductor Peter Schreier, widely regarded as one of the leading lyric tenors of the 20th century, died on Thursday at the age of 84 after a long illness, his secretary said.

Schreier, one of the few international stars to emerge from former communist East Germany, passed away in his beloved home city of Dresden.

Although Schreier retired from opera at the age of 65 in 2000 because he felt too old to be playing young lovers on stage, he continued to give “Lieder” or song recitals for a few more years and then focussed on teaching and conducting until his health problems became too severe.

Schreier suffered from back and hip problems and had diabetes, according to German media.

In a career that spanned decades and encompassed more than 60 different roles, Schreier performed regularly in some of the world’s most prestigious opera houses and festivals, from Berlin, Vienna and Salzburg to New York and Milan.

He was perhaps most famous for his interpretations of Bach and Mozart, but his repertoire also included Wagner and he even sang at the legendary Bayreuth Festival in 1966.

“A day without music is a wasted day,” DPA news agency quoted him as saying.

Born on July 29, 1935 in the small town of Gauernitz near Dresden in Saxony state, Schreier’s singing talent soon became apparent to his father, a church cantor.

At the age of eight, Schreier joined Dresden’s famous Kreuzchor boys’ choir and went on to study singing and conducting in the city which was heavily destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II.

Mozart breakthrough

Schreier made his operatic debut in the role of First Prisoner in Beethoven’s “Fidelio” at the Dresden State Opera.

But his breakthrough came a little later in two key Mozart roles — Belmonte in “The Abduction from the Seraglio” and Tamino in “The Magic Flute”.

While critics did not always describe his voice as beautiful, they praised the intensity and intelligence of his performances.

A pivotal member of the Berlin State Opera at Unter den Linden in then East Berlin, Schreier enjoyed rare privileges in the tightly-controlled GDR — without being a member of the ruling SED communist party.

In 1972, he took up the baton and went on to conduct some of the world’s leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic.

But Schreier always insisted his heart belonged to Dresden.

“I would be missing something if I couldn’t live in Dresden,” he used to say.

He finally took his leave from the concert stage in 2005 at a performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Prague, when he both conducted and also sang the role of the Evangelist.

That same year, he told German media he was looking forward to relaxing at his countryside villa on the outskirts of Dresden and cooking for his wife Renate.

“I’ve really sung enough and would just like to enjoy a few more peaceful years now,” he said.

Son Of Former German President Stabbed To Death

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An assailant has stabbed to death the son of former German president Richard von Weizsaecker in attack at a Berlin hospital that left one other person seriously injured, police said Wednesday.

The motive for the attack on Fritz von Weizsaecker, 59, on Tuesday evening was unclear.

Von Weizsaecker, a doctor, had just delivered a lecture on liver diseases at the Schlosspark hospital in the western Berlin neighbourhood of Charlottenburg when he was stabbed, a police spokesman said.

He died at the scene despite efforts to save him.

The suspect was overpowered by other people present, one of whom was severely injured by the attacker.

Police opened an investigation and were expected to release information about the assailant and the possible motive.

Chief of the liberal FDP party, Christian Lindner, voiced his grief about his friend on Twitter, saying that “once again we ask ourselves what sort of world are we living in.”

He was married with four children.

His father, Richard von Weizsaecker, was considered one of Germany’s great post-war political figures.

The elder Weizsaecker was president of West Germany from 1984 to 1990, and then held the same position in the united Germany from 1990 to 1994.

He was previously a deputy in the lower house of parliament for the CDU now led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, and mayor of West Berlin.

He died in 2015.

Two Planes In ‘Minor’ Collision At Frankfurt Airport

A file picture taken on March 21, 2019 shows a passenger aircraft landing at Frankfurt am Main airport, western Germany. Credit: AFP

 

An Air Namibia plane collided with a Korean Air jet after landing at Frankfurt airport on Saturday evening, officials said, adding that no one was injured.

Both aircraft were damaged in what Air Namibia on Sunday called “a minor accident”.

A spokeswoman for Frankfurt airport said the incident happened at around 6:00 pm (1700 GMT) on Saturday. She said no one was injured and the reasons for the crash remain unclear.

“The left wing of an Air Namibia plane collided with the horizontal stabiliser of Korean Air flight KE905 as it was waiting on the taxiway after landing,” Korean Air said in a statement.

The Korean Air plane was carrying 241 passengers and 40 crew at the time, it said.

“We confirm that no passengers and crew were hurt,” Air Namibia added in its own statement.

Korea Air said its Seoul-bound return flight was delayed by 21 hours as a result, adding that affected passengers had been offered accommodation.

A replacement aircraft was set to take off on Sunday afternoon.

Air Namibia said it had likewise offered accommodation to 244 passengers due to travel from Frankfurt to Windhoek, as the airline looked for alternative flights.

Germany’s Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU) has opened an investigation into the cause of the collision.

The damage to the two jets was still being assessed, a BFU spokesman said.