Albert Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, (May 28, 1925 – May 18, 2012), opera singer, conductor

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was one of the most celebrated singers of the 20th Century. He was renowned for his clear baritone voice in countless recordings of art songs, operas, and oratorios. He was born in Berlin. During World War II, he was drafted into the German army. He was captured by Allied forces and spent two years in an American POW camp. Upon his release and return to Germany, he launched his professional singing career.

Fischer-Dieskau’s baritone voice had the lightness and lyric quality of an Italian tenor. He was perhaps the most recorded singer in history. His musical repertoire was also one of the most extensive in history ranging from the music of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, to more recent composers, including Mahler, Strauss, Bartók, Barber, and Berg. He performed the title characters of two of Hindemith’s operas: Cardillac and Mathis der Maler. Benjamin Britten wrote the baritone part of his War Requiem for him and he gave the premiere performance and recording of this monumental work. He was especially regarded for his recitals and recordings of art songs, particularly those of Schubert, Schumann, and Wolf. His technique was flawless and he equally adept in German, Italian, English, French, and even Russian and Hungarian. He retired from singing in 1992, but continued to perform as a reciter, narrator, and conductor. Fischer-Dieskau died at his home in Bavaria just 10 days before his 87th birthday. He is survived by his third wife, opera singer Júlia Várady, with whom he had often recorded.

Visit the official Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau website here.