Winler was born on March 3 1924 in Duisburg and studied at theHannover conservatory.
There he made his debut in 1949 and was under contract until 1955.
From 1954 to 1958, Winkler was a member of the Stadttheater in Bielefeld.
He was a member of the Zürich Stadttheater during 1958-1959. During 1959-61 and 1964-64, he sang small parts,
such Augustin Moser and the young seaman, in Bayreuth.
During 1964-6, he sang in Bayreuth Heinrich den Schreiber and in 1965 derSteuermann.
From 1972, Winkler was a regular guest at the Münchner Opernfestspielen, especially singing Mozart's roles:
Don Ottavio and Idomeneo.
During 1976-7, he sang Parsifal in Bayreuth and in 1976 Don Ottavio at the Salzburger Festspielen.
Winkler made his debut in the US in Chicago as Don Ottavio in 1980. He was a guest also as Ottavio at the
Deutsche Oper in Berlin in 1981. In 1981, he took part at the world premiere of Baal by Friedrich Cerha at the
In 1985, Winkler sang the Kaiser in Die Frau ohne Schatten in Zürich.
In 1987, he sang at La Scala Herodes, Loge Bologna, and Ägisth for the RAI.
During 1987-88, Winkler sang at the Teatro Real in Madrid in Wozzeck und Lulu.
in 1989, Winkler sang Peter Grimes in Zürich, and in Nice the Tambourmajor.
In 1989, he was in Marseille singing Ägisth and in 1991, he sang Palestrina
the Staatstheater Hannover.
Winkler, besides opera, was a successful Lied and Oratorio singer. He was an active participant
in building up the Operastudio in Hamburg to promote young singers. He took part among
others in the recordings of Arabella, Elektra, Massimilla Doni, Mozart's Krönungsmesse, Idomeneo,Wozzeck and Mathis der Maler.
In 1999, he took part in his last appearance on stage at the Prinzregententheater in a concert of Tristan und Isolde conducted by
On January 21. Januar, 2009, Winkler dies after a short painful sickness at a clinic in Gauting.