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Walter Berry (1929 - 2000)


Walter Berry studied engineering before enrolling as a singing student at the Vienna Academy of Music, where he worked with Hermann Gallos as well as with Endre Koréh, Hans Duhan and Josef Witt. While still at the Academy he made his stage début singing Simone/Gianni Schicchi, Falstaff/Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor (Nicolai) and van Bett/Zar und Zimmermann (Lortzing), and joined the Vienna State Opera in 1950.

Here Berry made his début in Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher and initially undertook small rôles such as Silvano/Un ballo in maschera. Soon however he graduated to Masetto/Don Giovanni, and then to Papageno/Die Zauberflöte and Figaro/Le nozze di Figaro. This was his first major success in Vienna (1954) and the rôle that became his calling-card in other houses. A staunch member of the Viennese ensemble throughout his long career (appearing as Baron Ochs/Der Rosenkavalier for the first time there in 1968), Berry sang a total of seventy-seven rôles, thirty-seven of them major parts, for the company. He was especially noted as an interpreter of the Mozart operas both in Vienna and at the Salzburg Festival.

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