Walter Berry (bass-baritone)

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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 1970s 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 appeared in London in the role with which he perhaps became most closely linked, Papageno, despite an operatic career that spanned more than 40 years.

Berry lent his talents to many highly regarded recordings, including the classic Otto Klemperer recordings of The Magic Flute (as Papageno) and Fidelio (as Don Pizarro), both for EMI.

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 Ludwig, James King, and Josef Greindl.

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