Walter Berry

~ Person


Walter Berry (8 April 1929 – 27 October 2000) was an Austrian lyric bass-baritone who enjoyed a prominent career in opera.

Walter Berry was born in Vienna. He studied voice at the Vienna Music Academy and made his stage debut with the Vienna State Opera in 1947. He became a permanent member of the company in 1950, remaining with that ensemble for his entire career, although he undertook frequent guest appearances elsewhere in Europe and in the UK.

He made many memorable appearances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City during the 1960s and '70s in such roles as Barak in Die Frau ohne Schatten, Telramund in Lohengrin, Wotan in Die Walküre, Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier, Don Pizarro in Fidelio, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, the Music Master in Ariadne auf Naxos and Leporello in Don Giovanni. He sang his last Barak on 18 November 1984.

Berry's other signature roles were Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Figaro and Bluebeard. He was also a noted interpreter of lieder (accompanied often at recitals by the German pianist Sebastian Peschko). Berry appeared, too, in choral works. Performing in light-hearted operettas, particularly Die Fledermaus, was one of his pleasures. Astonishingly, Berry never played on stage in London the role with which he perhaps became most closely linked, Papageno, despite a career on stage that spanned more than 40 years.

Berry lent his talents to many highly regarded recordings, including the EMI Classics versions of The Magic Flute (as Papageno) and Beethoven's Fidelio (as Don Pizarro).

He married the leading mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig in 1957; they divorced in 1970. He died in 2000, aged 71, in Vienna.

He can be seen on DVD as Don Pizarro, opposite Christa Ludwig, James King, and Josef Greindl.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1965 Duke Bluebeard's Castle Bartók; Christa Ludwig, Walter Berry, London Symphony Orchestra, István Kertész 4
1965 Requiem, K. 626 Mozart; Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Singverein, Wilma Lipp, Hilde Rössel-Majdan, Anton Dermota, Walter Berry, Herbert von Karajan 5
1987 Matthäus-Passion Johann Sebastian Bach; Gundula Janowitz, Christa Ludwig, Peter Schreier, Horst Laubenthal, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Walter Berry, Anton Diakov, Wiener Singverein, Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan 5 1
1988 Tristan und Isolde Richard Wagner; Berliner Philharmoniker, Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Herbert von Karajan, Vickers, Dernesch, Ludwig, Berry, Ridderbusch 1
1989 Fidelio Beethoven; Christa Ludwig, Jon Vickers, Gottlob Frick, Walter Berry, Gerhard Unger, Franz Crass, Ingeborg Hallstein, Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus, Otto Klemperer 5
1994 Symphonie no. 9 Beethoven; Jessye Norman, Brigitte Fassbaender, Plácido Domingo, Walter Berry, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Wiener Philharmoniker, Karl Böhm 2
1998 Die Zauberflöte Mozart; Gueden, Lipp, Simoneau, Berry, Wiener Philharmoniker, Karl Böhm 1
2000 Cosi Fan Tutte (Böhm, Philharmonia, 1963) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Karl Böhm, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Christa Ludwig, Hanny SteffekAlfredo Kraus, Giuseppe Taddei, Walter Berry, Philharmonia Orchestra, Philharmonia Chorus 2
2001 Matthäus-Passion Johann Sebastian Bach; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Eugen Jochum, Niederländischer Rundfunkchor, Giebel, Höffgen, Haefliger, Berry, Van Kesteren, Crass 1
2009 Wozzeck Alban Berg; Pierre Boulez, Orchestre de l'Opéra de Paris, Chœur de l’Opéra de Paris, Walter Berry, Isabel Strauss, Fritz Uhl, Carl Doench 1
2009 Der Rosenkavalier Strauss; Wiener Philharmoniker, Leonard Bernstein, Christa Ludwig, Gwyneth Jones, Lucia Popp, Walter Berry, Plácido Domingo 1
Die Zauberflöte: Highlights (1964 studio cast) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Nicolai Gedda, Gundula Janowitz, Walter Berry, Gottlob Frick, Lucia Popp, Philharmonia Orchestra, Philharmonia Chorus, Otto Klemperer 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1981 Symphonie No. 9 / Symphonie No. 6 "Pastorale" Beethoven; Wiener Philharmoniker, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Jessye Norman, Brigitte Fassbaender, Plácido Domingo, Walter Berry, Karl Böhm 1
1991 A Portrait: Lieder Gustav Mahler; Christa Ludwig, Walter Berry, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Leonard Bernstein 1

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