The American tenor (and conductor), Herbert Handt, was a cousin of the conductor Otto Ackermann (1909-1960) and received his training at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, then in the Vienna Academy of Music.
Herbert Handt made his operatic debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1949. He appeared with success as lyric tenor in the 1950’s in important European opera houses. He appeared on German, Italian and French stages and made guest appearances in Belgium and in Holland. In 1957 he sang at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence in the premiere of Venere Prigioniera by Gian-Francesco Malipiero. In the course of the Brussels World Exhibition he participated in August 1958 in the premiere of the opera Maria Golovin by G.C. Menotti. He performed parts in the works of modern composers, such as Gian-Francesco Malipiero, Alban Berg, Ferruccio Busoni, Hans Werner Henze and Benjamin Britten. He had a great career also in the concert, whereby he could be characterised particularly as oratorio soloist. In 1966 he participated in Zurich in the premiere of the oratorio Jeremia by E. Hess. On the stage the high points of his repertoire were the lyric roles in operas of W.A. Mozart and in the Belcanto operas of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti. Special emphasise should be given to his Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, his Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice by J. Haydn and his Otello in the opera of the same name by Rossini.
Herbert Handt, who had his residence for a long time in Rome, appeared actually also as a conductor, starting in 1960. In 1960 he created his own vocal and instrumental in Rome, with which he undertook extended concert tours. With his ensemble he performed old and rarely-heard Italian scores, for which he prepared performing editions (including operas of Boccherini, Geminiani and Rossini). Later he lived in Lucca, where during the summer months he organised the Associazione Musicale Lucchese Opera Festival. He was also the founder-creator of the Lucca Chamber Orchestra and the Marlia International Festival.
Recordings: RCA (recording of the opera Maria Golovin, on the occasion of the 1958 premiere in Brussels), Nixa (Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Orfeo ed Euridice by Haydn, Idomeneo by W.A. Mozart), Edition Schwann (Giuseppe, figlio di Giacobbe by Luigi Rossi), EJS (Otello by Rossini), Voce (Temistocle by Johann Christian Bach, Viva la Mamma by Donizetti), Vox (Sesto in Giulio Cesare by George Frideric Handel), Vanguard (Saul by G.F. Handel), Fonit Cetra.