Gunther Emmerlich

German bass, banjo player and TV presenter Gunther Emmerlich was born in Eisenberg on 18 September 1944. He studied civil engineering in Erfurt then began to study singing in Weimar at the Franz Liszt Academy.

He worked for the Dresden State Opera Company (1967-1972), with roles including Osmin in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Sarastro in The Magic Flute and Falstaff in Nicolai's The Merry Wives of Windsor. He also appeared in Mikis Theodorakis' oratorio Axion Esti.

In the 1980s he developed a parallel career as a TV presenter with the German Democratic Republic's state broadcaster Deutscher Fernsehfunk, and after German reunification, became popular on TV both sides of the old border. From 2004 he hosted a well-known folk music prize gala, and, from 2006 until 2015, the Dresden Opera Ball.

Gunther Emmerlich died in Dresden on 19 December 2023, aged seventy-nine.