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Didn't Zeffirelli refuse to direct "Tosca" after doing it for Callas - until Behrens came along?

And James Levine once said that many other sopranos sang Brunnhilde better than Behrens, but that none of them made him care for the Valkyries' troubles more than she did.

She's one of the very few singers I regret not seeing live. By the time she was ending her Met career I was not yet the Wagner fan I am now, so I didn't go. I've always kicked myself for that! Even on records, though, I love listening to Behrens. (But not Callas.) So thank you Hildegard, and goodbye.


People sometimes referred to Behrens as 'the German Callas' since they both has unconventional voices but were able to communicate so much of whatever character they were singing.

One of my favorite Hildegard highlights is a brief interview she gave from Bayreuth when the Met were celebrating their 100th anniversary. Because of other commitments in October, Hilde could not appear at the Met Gala but her message of greeting and her assertion that 'music makes the soul swing' are so lovely. In a way she was sort of a 'flower child', a throw-back to an earlier era.

Behrens was to have opened the Levine 25th anniversary gala singing
'Dich teure halle' but she was replaced by Deborah Voigt who at that time was the large, luminous-voiced singer we all liked so much.

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