Aribert Reimann, Masterful German Opera Composer, Is Dead at 88

Aribert Reimann, whose powerful operas based on works by Shakespeare, Kafka, Lorca and others made him one of the most significant opera composers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, died on Wednesday in Berlin. He was 88.

Mr. Reimann’s publisher, Schott Music, announced the death.

A prolific composer with widely performed works, particularly his operas and songs, Mr. Reimann (pronounced RYE-mahn) was revered for his ability to fuse complex and often challenging modern music with lyrical texts. The results were frequently devastating in their emotional impact and sounded like organic expressions of the human voice.

“Like few other composers of his generation, Reimann knew how to tell stories in his operas which directly affected us humans living in the 21st century,” Dietmar Schwarz, the manager of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, said in a statement.

Mr. Reimann enjoyed a close relationship with the opera house. Five of his stage works were performed there, most recently his ninth and final completed opera, “L’Invisible,” which was based on texts by the Belgian Symbolist Maurice Maeterlinck and premiered in 2017.

Another stage work, based on Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” was planned for 2025 but was unfinished.

A performance of Mr. Reimann’s ninth and final opera, “L’Invisible,” at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2017. Five of his works were performed at the theater.Credit…Lieberenz/Ullstein Bild, via Getty Images
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