Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hildegard Behrens 1937-2009

I came out of my not-blogging cave to sadly announce the death of one of the great Wagnerians sopranos, Hildegard Behrens. I was introduced to her work, however, not through Wagner, but through the perfection that is the 1985 Zefferelli Tosca. When I delicately dipped into the world of the Wagner cult, the Otto Schenk Ring cycle with her as Brunhilde was the only one I could watch. She always stunned me with her emotional and dramatic power on the stage, not to mention the force of her beautiful voice.

The soprano died on August 16th in Japan, reportedly of an aneurysm, at the age of 72. Ms Behrens was in Japan for a festival where she would perform and give master classes. She will be remembered fondly as the best Brunhilde in the post-Nilsson era.