He was a lighting technician at the Essen theater. One evening, when he thought nobody was around, he sat down at a
piano in the theater and sang for himself; he was wrong, someone heard him, and as a result, he studied voice in Essen.
He had his first contract at the Kammeroper in Cologne (1968–71), then he was in Dortmund for four years, and in
Kaiserslautern for one year. From 1976, he was a member of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf and Duisburg, where he
stayed until 1988.
By then, he had already become an international star: at the Bayreuth Festival, where he had been a chorister from 1970 to 1973,
he became the leading tenor from 1977 to 1998 (singing both Siegfrieds in the Chéreau Ring, plus Loge, Parsifal, and
later Mime in Siegfried), and he performed most everywhere: Karlsruhe, Munich, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart,
Cologne, Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera (regularly from 1980 to 1985), Chicago, Montreal, Vienna, Zürich, Basel, Paris,
Brussels, Warsaw, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome... Theater managements loved him because he was so reliable: he never cancelled, not
even when he was less than well-disposed.
In Dortmund, he sang roles like Ernesto, Tamino or Jeník; in his Kaiserslautern year, he added José,
Éléazar (as a guest in Jerusalem, in Hebrew!) and Max. In his heldentenor period, he sang, other than the roles
already mentioned, Siegmund, Stolzing, Tannhäuser, Tristan, German and Florestan. In the 1990s, he focused on comprimario
parts. Of course, his voice didn't have the necessary weight for the roles he sang, he had a wobble, and a limited top; the
world career that he made proves how the heldentenor market was, already at his time, stuck in the deep crisis into which the
whole operatic business has plunged meanwhile.
reference 2 and picture source; reference 3: Kutsch & Riemens