Son of a Graz organ-builder, Josef Hopferwieser at first ran a car-spraying business, turning to vocal studies in 1960. In 1964 he began his career at the Brunswick State Theatre, making his début as Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia. From 1967 to 1969 he was at the Essen Opera and from 1969 to 1973 at the opera in Frankfurt am Main, where his rôles included those of Alva in Lulu, Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress, Verdi’s Don Carlos, Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera and Don José in Carmen. In 1973 he moved to the Vienna State Opera, where his rôles included in 1990 that of Walther von Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, with further Heldentenor rôles in Wagner repertoire. In 1988 he sang Erik in Der fliegende Holländer, Froh in Das Rheingold in 1987 in Munich, and Herod in Salome in Vienna in 1994. He has made guest appearances in Stuttgart, Hamburg and Graz, and particularly at the Vienna Volksoper. He took part in the 1986 première of Aribert Reimann’s Troades in Munich.