Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, prolific baritone, 86

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Mr. Fischer-Dieskau with pianist Gerald Moore in 1959.

BERLIN - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, the renowned German baritone who performed for more than five decades on stages in Berlin, Vienna, London, and New York, died Friday at 86.

The art songs and opera singer died at his home in the southern German city of Starnberg, Berlin’s Deutsche Oper said.

“He has deeply moved countless people around the world for more than half a century through hundreds of concerts and recordings,’’ said Bernd Neumann, Germany’s culture minister.


Neumann said Mr. Fischer-Dieskau’s recordings of works by composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, and Richard Strauss have set benchmarks for generations of singers to come, especially his famous representation of Schubert’s “Winter Journey.’’

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Mr. Fischer-Dieskau, who was born in Berlin, started performing in the 1940s and quickly rose to prominence after World War II. The former Wehrmacht soldier, who had been a US prisoner of war for nearly two years, soon became a regular fixture at European opera houses.

He also performed at Germany’s annual Wagner opera festival in Bayreuth, and appeared 123 times at Austria’s Salzburg opera festival. Mr. Fischer-Dieskau ended his long career, during which he also worked as conductor and writer, with a farewell concert in Munich in 1992.

“His voice was without parallel, his presence and charisma . . . remain unrivaled until today,’’ Deutsche Oper said.