Obituary: German Tenor Reiner Goldberg Dies at 83

By Francisco Salazar
(Photo: (c) Bernhard Hansky)

On Oct. 7, 2023, German tenor Reiner Goldberg died at the age of 83 in Berlin.

Born on Oct. 17, 1939, in Crostau, Lusatia, Goldberg studied at the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber in Dresden. In 1966 he made his debut at the Sächsische Landesbühne in Radebeul and in 1973, he began performing at the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden.

In 1981, the tenor became a Berlin State Opera ensemble member.

He became a leading Wagner singer when he started singing the composer’s works at the beginning of the 1980s. In 1983 he began his relationship with Bayreuth when he was contracted to sing both Siegfried roles in the new production of the Ring cycle conducted by Georg Solti and directed by Peter Hall.

However, he could not learn the roles in time to the satisfaction of Solti and Hall, so he was replaced shortly before the first performances.

Goldberg returned to Bayreuth to perform “Tannhäuser” in 1986 and Walther in “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” in 1987. In 1988 he finally performed Siegfried in “Götterdämmerung” and in 1989 he appeared as Siegfried both in “Siegfried” and “Götterdämmerung.” His final performance with the festival was as Erik in “Der Fliegende Holländer” in 1994.

Outside of Bayreuth, he went on to perform in Paris, New York, London, Milan, Florence, Rome, Zurich, Salzburg, Barcelona, Tokyo, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, and Dresden.

After retiring from the stage he became a sought-after singing teacher.

Goldberg left a number of recordings including The Ring Cycle under James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera, “Daphne,” “Salome,” “Fidelio” with Jessye Norman, and “Parsifal,” among others.