BR4 Klassik Remembers Peter Hofmann on His Birthday

Peter Hofmann: Opera Singer & Rock Musician

August 22, 2017 BR4 Klassik

Here is the link to the BR4 Klassik article and web site with audio and video clips in tribute to Peter Hofmann on what would have been his 73rd birthday, August 22, 2017.

https://www.br-klassik.de/themen/klassik-entdecken/peter-hofmann-geboren-was-heute-geschah-1944-100.html

Not only classical music fans know him. So do rock and popmusic, music and opera lovers. Peter Hofmann was multi-talented like no other singer. He was world famous as a former decathlon champion and parachute trooper; as Siegmund in the Bayreuth Centennial Ring before he made headlines as the Phantom of the opera.

No wonder Sieglinde took such an athlete and hero to heart. Peter Hofmann played Siegmund, the son of the Wälsungs, more as an athlete than a boyish creature of nature. With his radiant presence and charisma, his moving singing and intelligent handling of the text, the blonde singer fascinated especially the ladies in the audiences of the Bayreuth Festival from 1976- 1989.

An Ideal Wagner Interpreter: Blond Hair, Athletic Stature, Charisma

After his debut as Siegmund in the Centennial Ring directed by Patrice Chéreau, there followed performances as Lohengrin and Parsifal in productions by Götz friedrich. Leonard Bernstein chose the tenor for his Tristan recording with the Bavarian radio Symphony Orchestra. After engagements in Wuppertal and Stuttgart, Peter Hofmann quickly came to grace the major opera stages of the world from London to Vienna, Paris, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

I am always transported by music, especially when someone is singing.

Between Classical and Popular Music

But he also remained an adventurer. In huge concert halls, Peter Hofmann undertook to perform “U-music” (popular, entertaining music); he sang international rock hits, German language songs, and Elvis Presley titles. Similarly, he achieved a huge success in the title role of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, playing more than 300 performances. No one could speak of him as a one-sided performer; Peter Hofmann thought and sang   outside the box!

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The Valley of the Clueless People

Fritz Hofmann tells this story about his and Peter’s visit to Dresden in the days of the DDR.

dresden-a

Peter in Front of the Semper Oper Dresden

During our tour of the DDR, we made a stop in Dresden where the enthusiastic public celebrated Peter’s visit and embraced him heartily. At this time very few artists made appearances in the DDR. On no terms were they to make any political statements; otherwise the concert would eventually be aborted. In those days one was very nervous when visiting the socialist DDR.

Despite this, Peter permitted himself to make a little remark at the beginning of the concert, “Welcome to the valley of the clueless people.” These were the words with which he greeted his public who responded with spontaneous applause. You have to understand that in the divided Germany, people in East Germany liked watching West German television when they could get it by satellite.

Dresden, however, lay in a valley where television reception was not possible, and people here could only watch the rather boring and very one-sided East German programs. [Freedom of the press and speech did not exist at this time.]

When we spoke to people, we found that they were grateful for any new things because they lived almost completely isolated from the outside world. This was true even in as wonderful and beautiful a city as Dresden with its great cultural history.

The Hofmanns on Tenerife in the 1980’s

Fritz Hofmann shared this Hörzu article about the family’s vacation to Tenerife in the 1980’s:

When I Sing, I Must Be in Top Shape!

Star tenor takes a holiday with wife Deborah Sasson on Tenerife, Hörzu’s Chief reporter Karin von Faber visits with him.

Mar Y Sol - Kopie

I meet Peter Hofmann at the swimming pool where a fountain splashes. He gently shakes the splash of warm water from his jeans. At 43, Hofmann says “This is the best time for a Wagner singer.”

Between two Meistersinger performances, he is taking a little holiday in Tenerife at the fitness center, Mar y Sol, deep in the south of the island where the dry air is like no where else and is perfect medicine for the bronchial tubes. Brother Fritz, his manager, and wife Deborah Sasson (33), dancer and singer from Boston, are with him. READ MORE in PRESS.

 

New Fritz Hofmann Story: Peter Hofmann at Capitol Studios in LA

Capitol Studios LA Fritz Hofmann adds a new story to the site about his and Peter’s experiences recording at the famed Capitol Studios in Los Angeles:

 

At the beginning of 1991, Peter’s CD Love Me Tender was recorded in Los Angeles. It was comprised exclusively of Elvis songs. Together with Sony Music Director Jochen Leuschner we decided not to produce this record in chilly Germany, but rather in the warm California sun of LA. Of course, our decision not only had to do with the pleasant environment of the Los Angeles metropolitan area on America’s West coast, but an even more important reason was that the resident studio musicians there were extraordinary. Peter was quickly won over about the state-of-the art conditions, which are absolutely essential for this kind of top production. Read More in BOOKS. (#8)

Exclusive Excerpts from Fritz Hofmann’s Book on Peter Hofmann

Fritz+Peter Hofmann

London- Der Freischütz

 I had just come back from the lovely English harbor town of Ramsgate in West County Kent, where I had undertaken an English language course for several months, and before I was to begin my employment with an artist agency in Paris, Peter invited me to come to London with him for several weeks.  He had been engaged to sing the role of Max in Der Freischütz there at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Read More in PETER HOFMANN TALES OF A  SINGER’S ADVENTURES. (#1, 2, 3 4, 5, 6)