He made his début in 1857 in Graz in Boieldieu's Jean de Paris. After that he filled various engagements in Pressburg, Stettin, and Brunswick. From 1863 to 1870, he was director of the opera at Danzig.
From 1875 to 1880, Fischer sang in Rotterdam, and from 1880-85 in Dresden. The period from 1885 to 1891 at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, marks the culmination of his artistic triumphs. Lilli Lehmann, Max Alvary, and Marianne Brandt performed there with him. He not only created the bass rôles in Wagner's later music dramas, as far as America is concerned, but also firmly established his reputation as a Wagner interpreter surpassed by none and equaled by very few. During 1895-1897, he performed in American cities as a member of Mr. Damrosch's German Damrosch Opera Company. He appeared once more, and for the last time, at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1907.