Artist Profile: Peter Hofmann, Heldentenor Turned Popstar

By David Salazar

Tenor Peter Hofmann was a rock star. Literally.

The tenor, born on August 22, 1944, in Marienbad, German Sudetenland, actually started his musical career as the singer in a rock band. It would prove to be prophetic. He would go on to serve in the West German Armed Forces for seven years. Once he was honorably discharged, he went on to study to become an opera singer.

Despite his professional opera debut being in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” in 1972, it would turn out that he was a Wagnerian tenor, a “rock star” in the opera world. He would become part of the famed centennial Ring at Bayreuth under Pierre Boulez, singing the role of Siegmund in “Die Walküre.” From there, his career would take off with the tenor singing all the major Wagner tenor roles.

Despite enjoying a successful opera career, Hofmann also engaged in singing and recording pop music and by the late 1980s, his opera career was no more. In the early 1990s, he actually moved into musical theatre, singing “The Phantom of the Opera” over 300 times.

He would actually die at the age of 66 from pneumonia.

Major Roles

When he was singing opera, Hofmann was a renowned Wagnerian. Siegmund in “Die Walküre” was the role that brought him the greatest prominence and he performed it quite frequently throughout his career at such houses as the Met Opera and the Bayreuth Festival, among others. However, he also performed the roles of “Parsifal,” “Lohengrin,” and Tristan from “Tristan und Isolde” quite notably. In fact, his major recordings feature him in these Wagnerian roles.

Read More on Hofmann

A Look At Other Singers That Have Crossed Over

Watch and Listen 

In this section, we will take a look at the two sides of the singer. First off, his operatic career, singing the role of “Lohengrin,” one of his signatures.

And now a single from his career as a pop singer.


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