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Singer and entertainer Gunther Emmerlich dies

His sonorous bass was present in concert, opera and TV. Age has not kept Kammersänger Gunther Emmerlich from the stage or screen - now his audience has to say goodbye forever.

Gunther Emmerlich, singer, comes to the "Goldene Henne" award ceremony. Photo.aussiedlerbote.de
Gunther Emmerlich, singer, comes to the "Goldene Henne" award ceremony. Photo.aussiedlerbote.de

Music - Singer and entertainer Gunther Emmerlich dies

The singer and entertainer Gunther Emmerlich is dead. He died unexpectedly on Tuesday at the age of 79 in a home in Dresden from heart failure, as his manager Gunter Grebler told the German Press Agency on Wednesday. The MDR had first reported.

Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer and Minister of Culture Barbara Klepsch (both CDU) were saddened by the news and paid tribute to Emmerlich as a "great artist". The actor and cabaret artist Wolfgang Stumph also reacted with dismay. "It breaks my heart, it's unbelievable," the 77-year-old told the German Press Agency. "I am losing a great friend, a great support on my path, a role model." Emmerlich only saw his high artistic standards fulfilled "when he was credible, authentic and publicly convincing with his very personal manner".

Singing, directing, presenting, a foray into acting and, most recently, audio books - Emmerlich's trump card was diversity. He wrote three books about his life. Born in Eisenberg (Thuringia) in 1944, the bass wanted to become a pilot or go to sea as a boy, but then studied opera singing at the Franz Liszt University of Music in Weimar after training as a civil engineer.

In 1972, he was hired by the young talent studio of the Dresden Opera - shortly afterwards he joined the ensemble. The banjo player and jazz singer also founded the Semper House Band in 1985 with like-minded musicians from the Staatskapelle. From 1987, Emmerlich then conquered the TV screen in the GDR and with "Showkolade" - a mix of glitter, contemporary criticism and cabaret - even rivaled Thomas Gottschalk's "Wetten, dass...? " in the West.

In 1992, he terminated his contract with the Semperoper in order to work freelance. With shows such as "Nimm Dir Zeit", "Gunther und drüber" and "Zauberhafte Heimat", he then became a favorite of German television viewers in East and West. In 2008, he made his successful debut with opera singer Deborah Sasson at New York's Carnegie Hall. His musical repertoire ranges from church music to song cycles, arias and duets to Dixieland and swing. In 2015, he made his debut in an operetta at the Bad Hersfeld Festival.

Since then, he has made regular guest appearances with his own program in eastern Germany and appeared on television. According to a close friend, he was still at the recording of a Christmas concert on Sunday. On Wednesday evening, "we can all watch his last recorded program together on MDR and say goodbye to him," wrote his manager.

"Very sad news just before Christmas," said Minister President Kretschmer, according to a statement from the State Chancellery. In him, "we are losing a great entertainer and gifted opera singer. He embodied the Saxon joie de vivre and brought it closer to people throughout Germany." He touched and inspired people with his voice, wit and charm. And he was "a unique artist" who was always committed to helping others, "encouraging others and giving them hope" in charity concerts and performances. Culture Minister Klepsch was "deeply moved", paid tribute to Emmerlich as a great artist, opera singer and popular figure in Saxony and also recalled his social commitment.

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Source: www.stern.de

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