The Austrian baritone, Bernd Weikl, was educated in Mainz and at the Hannover Musikhochschule. In Mainz he studied economic science and canto at the Music Academy. In 1968 he was awarded the First Prize at the International Contest in Berlin.
Following his studies, Bernd Weikl made his stage debut at the Opernhaus Hannover in 1968, singing Ottokar in Weber's Der Freischütz. He joined the company of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf in 1970, remaining with that theater for three years. During that period, he was engaged by Herbert von Karajan for Melot at the 1971 Salzburg Festival. In 1972 he participated at the Salzburg Festival in the new production Tristan and Isolde conducted by Herbert von Karajan and made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival as Wolfram in Tannhäuser. His first-season success led to further engagements. He performed there with great success in Parsifa as Amfortas and in Tannhäuser as Wolfram, in Lohengrin as Herald and also in The flying Dutchman. In Bayreuth his greatest success was as Hans Sachs in Meistersingern, a role in which he has no competitor. Hae has participated in more than 160 performances at the Bayreuth Festival.
Since 1973 Bernd Weikl co-operated with the Staatsoper in Hamburg and Munich and since 1974 he also became a member of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. There he made a successful appearance in Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky. For his debut at Covent Garden in London, Rossini's Figaro was the role - an interpretation noted as boisterous, but somewhat Germanic. Later he sang there Giordano's Gerard and Strauss's Mandryka. In 1976 he appeared at the Wiener Staatsoper, for the premiere of Von Einem's Kabale und Liebe. His Metropolitan Opera debut in New York on December 2, 1977, found him singing Wolfram once more, enjoying another success with the part. Subsequently, he has returned to the Metropolitan as Orest, Jokanaan in Salome, L.v. Beethoven's Don Fernando, Amfortas, Mandryka, and Hans Sachs.
Other theaters throughout Europe were likewise as quick to engage Bernd Weikl; he became a celebrated singer in his native Vienna as well as in Munich, Berlin, and Hamburg. Industrious in adding new parts, the singer can now boast more than 120 characters in his inventory. Beyond the Continent, he is best-known for his Wagner and Strauss roles, but in Austria and Germany he has just as often sung the Italian, Russian, and French repertories; these include such figures as Verdi's Posa, Count di Luna, Ford and Simon Boccanegra, W.A. Mozart's Don Giovanni (recorded with Georg Solti), Count Almaviva, Guglielmo, Tchaikovsky's Evgeny Onegin (also recorded with Georg Solti), Tomsky, Morone in Pfitzner's Palestrina, and Goloud. Although his primary focus has remained on opera, Weikl is also a positive presence on the concert stage, both as a soloist in choral works and as a recitalist. These activities have largely been centered in Europe.
In 1983 Bernd Weikl sang at the Metropolitan Opera the part of Mandryka in Arabella by R. Strauss and had also concerts in Chicago. In 1986 he sung also in Florence the part of Hans Sachs. He received special appreciation from the critics for his appearances as Jokanaan (in Salome), in Falstaff (Verdi) and in Scarpia. He has performed in operas conducted by the best conductors and staged by the best known artistic directors of the present time. Guest engagements have taken him to La Scala in Milan, the Bavarian State Opera, Hamburg State Opera and the Salzburg Festival; Further appearances as Hans Sachs under Wolfgang Sawallisch at La Scala and under Christoph von Dohnányi at Covent Garden in 1990. He sang Iago at Stuttgart in 1990, Boccanegra at Hamburg in 1991, and Dutchman at Bayreuth in 1990.
Bernd Weikl is one of the best known and multilateral opera and concert- singers of our time. His career trajectory has taken him from lyric to dramatic baritone, and he has established himself as a strong and reliable artist. At his first appearance in Bayreuth as Wolfram, Weikl revealed a linear, compact instrument with a quick vibrato. While by no means a bass baritone, his lower voice has gained in amplitude over the years, allowing him to fill out the deeper reaches of such roles as Wagner's Dutchman and Hans Sachs, and Strauss' Barak and Mandryka. Indeed, his handsome, burly appearance is now matched by the sound and texture of his expanded voice. By no means a penetrating actor, Weikl still brings earnest intent and solid craft to his stage performances. In addition to the heavier German repertoire, Weikl has shown consistent interest in Italian roles, at one point recording an accomplished Rigoletto.
Bernd Weikl has recorded a great number of works, TV- shows, opera films, works and oratorio concerts demonstrating the fact that he is such a gifted and accomplished artist. Television appearances include Johannes Brahms's Elijah, from Israel, 1983. Of his many recordings, several deserve special attention. His Hans Sachs, recorded with Cheryl Studer, Ben Heppner, and Kurt Moll under the mature and understanding direction of Wolfgang Sawallisch is worth searching out. His Dutchman with Giuseppe Sinopoli has much of the requisite torment and is firmly sung. His Eugene Onegin, recorded with a good cast and lovingly led by Georg Solti is worth pursuing, as is his Cardinal Morone in Rafael Kubelík's recording of Palestrina, captured in excellent sound. Other complete opera recordings include L'Elisir d'Amore, Tristan und Isolde, Der Freischutz, Tiefland, Samson et Dalila, Don Giovanni, Alceste, Lohengrin; as well as solo in Ein Deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms.