La Scena Musicale

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Peter Hofmann : In Memoriam

German tenor Peter Hofmann (b. 22 Aug 1944 - d. 29 Nov. 2010)

The celebrated German heldentenor Peter Hofmann died of pneumonia in the early hours of Tuesday, in a hospital in Upper Franconia in Germany. Hofmann was born in Marienbad on the German-Czech border in 1944. He made his debut as Tamino in Lubeck, but soon switched from lyric tenor to the Wagnerian repertoire. His most celebrated work was as Siegmund in the legendary 1976 Bayreuth Centennial Ring directed by Patrice Chereau. His Act 1 Die Walkure scene with American soprano Jeannine Altmeyer is still considered unsurpassed by many, for its vocalism but also for the sexual energy and chemistry between the two artists. It was captured four years later on video. Hofmann sang and played guitar in a rock band as a young man, before he started studying to become an operatic tenor. He had a parallel career singing pop and soft rock throughout the 80's. His 1982 album, "Rock Classics" released on the CBS label, went platinum on the charts. In addition to Siegmund, he was a celebrated Tristan, Parsifal, Lohengrin, and Walter von Stolzing in Bayreuth, Met, San Francisco. His career was cut short in the early 1990's when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's. He ended his career in musical theatre, singing the title role in Phantom of the Opera 300 times. Although he developed Parkinson's as early as 1994, he made it public in 1999 and officially announced his retirement from singing in 2004. He is survived by two sons from his first marriage to soprano Deborah Sasson, and a daughter from his second marriage, as well as his brother Fritz.

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