Prey, Hermann , outstanding German baritone; b. Berlin, July 11, 1929; d. Munich, July 22, 1998. He studied with Günther Baum and Harry Gottschalk at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik. He won 1st prize in a vocal competition organized by the U.S. Army (1952), and that same year made his operatic debut as the second prisoner in Fidelio in Wiesbaden. After appearing in the U.S., he joined the Hamburg State Opera (1953); also sang in Vienna (from 1956), Berlin (from 1956), and in Salzburg (from 1959). In 1959 he became a principal member of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich; made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Wolfram (Dec. 16, 1960); appeared for the first time in England at the Edinburgh Festival (1965), and later sang regularly at London’s Covent Garden (from 1973). He also appeared as a soloist with the major orchs. and as a recitalist; likewise starred in his own Munich television show. In 1982 he became a prof. at the Hamburg Hochschule für Musik. His autobiography was publ. as Premierenfieber (1981; Eng. trv 1986, as First Night Fever: The Memoirs of Hermann Prey). Among his finest operatic roles were Count Almaviva, Papageno, Guglielmo, and Rossini’s Figaro; he also sang a number of contemporary roles. As a lieder artist, he distinguished himself in Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire