Thursday, August 05, 2010

Opera and The Law

Hildegard Behrens (9 February 1937 in Varel, Germany – 18 August 2009 in Tokyo, Japan) was a German soprano with a wide repertory including Wagner, Weber, Mozart, Richard Strauss, and Alban Berg roles.

Hildegard Behrens was born in Varel, Germany, on 9 February 1937. She graduated from the University of Freiburg as a junior barrister before becoming serious about her talents as a singer, studying at first with Ines Leuwen at the Freiburg Academy Of Music.

Her debut was as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro in Freiburg in 1971 and the following year she became a member of the Deutsche Oper. On 15 October 1976 she made her American debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New Yorkas Giorgetta in Il tabarro.

Ms. Behrens was not an artist who looked back at decisions with regret, including her early choice of law school.  She found helpful connections between law and opera.

“You go step by step in law,” she said in an Opera News interview, “and that’s what you do in opera too — finding motivations, reasons, cause and effect, emotions, guilt, responsibility. The intellectual training and discipline that it takes to solve a juridical case are very good for the approaches to a role.”

The following YouTube video features Hildegard Behrens singing the Liebestod from a concert performance of Tristan und Isolde, conducted by Leonard Bernstein.  Incidentally, Wagner completed Tristan on the afternoon of August 6, 1859 -- 151 years ago, tomorrow.