PETER HOFMANN, Geschichten aus einem bewegten Saengerleben

By Fritz Hofmann

ISBN 978-3-935719-83-4

183 pp Amberg 2012

Buch & Kunstverlag Oberpfalz, click here for the publisher

Click here to order the book


Way back in the early eighties I managed to hear Peter Hofmann, for the first and last time as Siegmund in the first act of Walkure in Antwerp. His fame had just rocketed to the skies and his rockstar looks took the media by storm. I had heard him on German TV in Don José's flower song and wanted to hear if he was the real thing or just a short-lived media hyped 'star' based on good looks. I'm happy to say he was the real thing and scored a big success. Therefore and judging his career and recordings it's fair to say he was the most important post-war German Wagnerian tenor until the arrival of Jonas Kaufmann. Mind you the excellent Peter Seiffert wasn't chopped liver either but he never reached that star status Hofmann had achieved thanks to the Chereau Ring and his succesful outings in the pop/rock world.



Most of us are aware of his sad last years destroyed by Parkinson and dementia. His younger brother Fritz acted as his manager for about two decades and decided to write the book Peter never managed to finish. It's not a biography and therefore lots of the story remains untold. The author focusses on the happier side of Hofmann's life. The narrative consists of 26 chapters dealing with mostly happy memories and anecdotes from the tenor's life and career. Fans or non-fans will have fun reading it whether it is Karajan commenting on Pink Floyd's "The Wall" :"Gefallt mir, wer ist das?" or how he became the owner of Del Monaco's Bentley. (note: when his first vocal problems arose Peter Hofmann went to study for a while with Del Monaco) One can read about his friendship with soccer legend and opera fan Franz Beckenbauer, Mick Jagger commenting on Mozart and Wagner, and Wolfgang Wagner's human side. Several unique photos are included. Recommended for a quiet Sunday afternoon read.

(Fritz Hofmann putting up a painting of his brother)

There is a permanent exhibition -designed by Fritz - in the local library in Kemnath. During the Bayreuth Festival people can drive the 30 km to Kemnath and visit this "Room of Memory" for Peter Hofmann.