Walter Berry (bass-baritone)

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Walter Berry (8 April 1929 – 27 October 2000) was an Austrian 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.

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