Every Word Means a Universe
On May 18, just ten days shy of his 87th birthday, the world-renowned baritone died at his home in Bavaria. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who recorded over 400 albums, and whose repertoire included more than 3000 art songs, first entered the opera scene in 1948, performing the role of Marquis Posa in Verdi’s Don Carlos.
The son of two school administrators was quickly ranked among the most notable singers of the 20th century, alongside Maria Callas and Enrico Caruso. He gave his first song recital in 1947 in Leipzig, and made his US debut in 1955 with Schubert’s “Winterreise,” accompanied by the formidable pianist Gerald Moore. During his career he played the foremost opera houses and stages such as London’s Covent Garden, although he considered his musical home to be the Bavarian State Opera Munich and the Berlin State Opera.
His mastery of both vocal technique and interpretation has set standards that have not yet been surpassed. After retiring from the stage he devoted his time to writing, conducting, and, most significantly, to teaching. His colleague, soprano Elizabeth Schwarzkopf once labeled him: ”The born god who has it all.” The music world will not be the same without him. – Nina Wachenfeld