ENO’s Viennese conductor has died, aged 80

Through the 1980s, the light-music specialist Herbert Prikopa, who died on December 8, was a regular at the Coliseum, conducting Fledermaus, Night in Venice, Merry Widow and Bartered Bride among other ENO shows.

Before taking up the baton, he had sung character roles for several decades at the Vienna Volksoper. He was a popular personality on film and TV, an authentic voice of Alt-Wien.

herbert prikopa

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  • He also had a TV programme in the 70s and 80s on Austrian TV where he sought to make classic silent movies by e.g Buster Keaton better known and more popular. He also had a concert series where he would explain and conduct concerts that were equally enlightening for kids and the accompanying parents. He also did comedy. I remember a radio game show broadcast where he went to the piano and illustrated how the main melody in Schubert’s “Unfinished”, Tchaikowsky’s “Swan Lake” and Wagner’s “Nie sollst Du mich befragen” had been stolen from an ancient (minor key) version of the popular children’s song “Alle meine Entlein”. Obviously he had made it all up, and he completely brought the house down with it.

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