"Lejos de todo 'divismo', ella irradiaba serenidad y calidez.
La música era para ella un ejercicio de progresiva purificación espiritual
de quien la cultiva y veía la muerte sin temor,
como un ir 'hacia energías más y más altas'" - El Mercurio (Chile)

"Una artista completa, dotada de una voz poderosa,
quente e penetrante, associada a um physique-du-rôle ideal,
Hildegard foi uma intérprete de enorme inteligência e sensibilidade. "
- JBOnline (Brazil)

REST OF THE WORLD

CHILE

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ACTIVIDAD CULTURAL
Jueves 20 de Agosto de 2009

A los 72 años falleció en Tokio:
Adiós a Hildegard Behrens, la gran voz de Wagner y Strauss

Maureen Lennon Zaninovic

La soprano alemana cantó en el Teatro Municipal, por única vez, en 1996.

“La tarea del individuo es purificarse más y más, para ser capaz de refinar su materia en forma creciente y ascender”.

Son palabras de la legendaria soprano alemana Hildegard Behrens (1937-2009) en una entrevista exclusiva que ofreció a “El Mercurio” en 1996, con ocasión de las únicas presentaciones que dio en el Teatro Municipal.

“Ese año el diario nos encomendó a David Gallagher y a mí entrevistarla. Lejos de todo ‘divismo’, ella irradiaba serenidad y calidez. La música era para ella un ejercicio de progresiva purificación espiritual de quien la cultiva y veía la muerte sin temor, como un ir ‘hacia energías más y más altas'”, rememora Francisco José Folch.

La artista actuó junto a la Orquesta Filarmónica. Foto:EL MERCURIO
La artista actuó junto a la Orquesta Filarmónica.
Foto:EL MERCURIO
Este martes, y a raíz de un aneurisma, esta gran soprano dramática finalmente comenzó su “camino hacia energías más altas”. Su deceso ocurrió en Tokio, ya que la habían invitado al festival de la Kusatsu Academy.

Juan Antonio Muñoz, crítico de “El Mercurio”, recuerda su paso por Santiago: “El público la aplaudió en el estreno en Chile de ‘Sigfrido’ de Wagner, pero el 2 de junio también ofreció un recital memorable, junto a la Orquesta Filarmónica dirigida por Gabor Ötvös. Una noche magnífica”.

Andrés Rodríguez, director del Teatro Municipal, puntualiza: “Durante muchos años pasó a ser la mejor cantante en su cuerda en Richard Wagner y Strauss. Inolvidable como Brunilda, Isolda, Salomé, Elektra y Katerina”.

 

http://diario.elmercurio.cl/detalle/index.asp?id={5e47367c-4149-40b3-a8d0-3f093496d23f}

English Translation:

CULTURAL ACTIVITY
Thursday August 20, 2009

Dead in Tokyo at age 72: Farewell to Hildegard Behrens, the great voice of Wagner and Strauss

Maureen Lennon Zaninovic

The German soprano sang at the Teatro Municipal only once, in 1996.

“The task of the individual is to continually purify himself, so that he can refine his nature and advance to a higher state of being.

These words were spoken by the legendary German soprano Hildegard Behrens (1937-2009) in an exclusive interview she gave to “El Mercurio” in 1996 on the occasion of her only performance ever at the Teatro Municipal.

“That year the newspaper assigned David Gallagher and I to interview her. So unlike a diva, she radiated serenity and warmth. For her, music was an exercise in progressive spiritual purification, preparing one to view death without fear, as an ascent “‘to higher and higher energies,'” recalls Francis Joseph Folch.

On Tuesday, felled by an aneurysm, this great dramatic soprano finally began her “journey to higher energies”. Her death occurred in Tokyo where she had been invited to participate in the Kusatsu Music Festival and Academy.

Juan Antonio Muñoz, a critic of “El Mercurio” recalls of that time in Santiago: “The audience applauded the premiere in Chile of Wagner’ s Siegfried. But it was also on June 2 that she gave a memorable concert with the Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Gabor Ötvö. A magnificent evening.

Andrés Rodríguez, director of the Teatro Municipal, points out: “For many years she was the greatest singer of works by Wagner and Strauss, unforgettable as Brünnhilde, Isolde, Salome, Elektra and Katerina.

 

EDITORIAL
Viernes 28 de Agosto de 2009
David Gallagher

Con cuerpo y voz

La soprano-abogada que yo quería entrevistar fue ampliamente superada por la soprano-mujer, la mujer de carne y hueso que sabe lo que es ser hija y lo que es ser amante.

“¿Viste esto?”, me pregunta, en un correo, Francisco José Folch. Abro el adjunto, y me encuentro con una noticia de Reuters. “Murió destacada soprano alemana Hildegard Behrens”. Murió de repente en Tokio, a los 72 años.

Folch sabía que la noticia me iba a conmover. Él y yo habíamos entrevistado a Behrens para Artes y Letras en 1996, cuando ella vino a Chile para cantar el papel de Brünnhilde en el Municipal.

Fuimos a esperarla en el salón del segundo piso del Hotel Carrera, donde estaba alojada. Alta, atractiva a sus entonces 59 años, apareció en “una suerte de túnica aterciopelada”. Es lo que decimos en la entrevista. La verdad es que de la túnica no me acuerdo nada, pero sí tengo grabada en la memoria la simpatía con que se acomodó en nuestra mesa a conversar, en torno a un café.

Antes de empezar a cantar, Behrens estudió derecho en Alemania. Yo había sugerido entrevistarla no sólo porque era la mejor Brünnhilde de su época, sino también porque pensé que ella tendría una visión fascinante sobre el conflicto que hay, en la tetralogía de Wagner, entre la desbordante voluntad de un dios y las leyes restrictivas que él mismo establece. ¿Puede un dios vulnerar sus propias leyes, o es el esclavo de ellas?

Behrens nos demostró que había pensado mucho en el significado de la obra, pero como actriz y soprano, obligada a encarnar, con cuerpo y voz, a una heroína, ella no padecía de mi vicio de querer conceptualizar todo, de pretender reducir la obra a elevados conflictos metafísicos. Su visión, para mí aleccionadora, era menos de abogada o filósofa que de mujer y actriz. Para ella Brünnhilde es, primero, una hija con un padre difícil, un padre que ella idealiza hasta que descubre sus fatales defectos. Wotan, según Behrens, “incurre en negociaciones turbias. Engaña. Queda enredado en sus propias redes”. Frente a un padre así, la hija no puede sino desilusionarse, y por mucho que lo siga queriendo, no puede sino desobedecerlo. Brünnhilde será una diosa y Wotan un dios, pero la relación entre los dos es la de incontables padres e hijos. Después, cuando Siegfried la despierta, Brünnhilde se da cuenta que “ya no es una diosa, sino una mujer vulnerable” y siente, según Behrens, “el terror que, probablemente, le ocurre en algún momento a toda mujer frente a un hombre”.

No hace falta decir que la soprano-abogada que yo quería entrevistar fue ampliamente superada por la soprano-mujer, la mujer de carne y hueso que sabe lo que es ser hija y lo que es ser amante.

Behrens nos habló después de su voz. De lo difícil que es en Wagner sobreponerse a la orquesta. De su preferencia por contar con una amplia zona de reserva. De joven, a escondidas de su profesora de canto, ensayaba el difícil Fa agudo de la Reina de la Noche, en la Flauta Mágica de Mozart: para “saber que la tenía”, por si acaso.

Con mucha pena, nos despedimos Folch y yo de la soprano, y yo me fui al campo, para disfrutar del fin de semana largo del 21 de mayo. Folch se quedó con la grabación. Un par de días después, me llamó desesperado. La grabación no se oía bien. Necesitaba ayuda. Pero yo, desde Chépica, no podía hacer nada. “No te preocupes”, dijo Folch, resignado. Todavía recuerdo el alivio, canallesco, que sentí en ese momento.

Releyendo ahora la admirablemente bien editada entrevista, me quedo pensando. Una gran obra de arte es, me digo, una que nos induce a conceptualizar, como hacía yo con la tetralogía, pero que siempre se escapa de las conceptualizaciones que intentamos. Una que nos tienta con incontables claves que parecen indicar que es reducible a algún orden, pero que finalmente no cabe en ninguno.

http://diario.elmercurio.cl/detalle/index.asp?id={4d531d8d-97a1-4e63-a76a-8364f527afe6}

English Translation:

EDITORIAL
Friday August 28, 2009
David Gallagher

With body and voice

The lawyer in the soprano I wished to interview was totally surpassed by the woman she was – a woman in the flesh who knew what it is to be a daughter and to be a lover.

“Have you seen this?” Francisco José Folch asks in an email. I open the attachment, and I come across a Reuters report. “Leading German soprano Hildegard Behrens had died. She died suddenly in Tokyo at age 72.

Folch knew that the news would move me. He and I had interviewed Behrens for Arts and Letters in 1996 when she came to Chile to sing the role of Brünnhilde in the Teatro Municipal.

We waited in the lounge on the second floor of the Hotel Carrera where she was staying. Tall and attractive for her then 59 years, she appeared in a sort of velvety tunic. That was what we said in our interview. The truth is of the tunic I don’t remember anything, but what is engraved in my memory is the sympathetic way she made us feel comfortable as we settled around our table to chat over coffee.

Before she started singing, Behrens studied law in Germany. I had suggested the interview not only because she was the best Brünnhilde of her time, but also because I thought she would have a fascinating view of the conflict in Wagner’s tetralogy, between the overwhelming will of a god and the restrictive laws that he himself creates. Can a god violate his own laws, or is he their slave?

Behrens showed us that she had given much thought to the meaning of the work, but as an actress and soprano obliged to portray, with body and voice, a heroine, she was not burdened by my habit of wanting to conceptualize everything, seeking to reduce the work to a set of lofty metaphysical conflicts. Her exemplary view was less that of a lawyer or philosopher than that of a woman and actress. For her Brünnhilde was, first a daughter with a difficult father, one she idealizes until he discovers his fatal flaws. Wotan, according to Behrens, “engages in shady dealings. A deceiver entangled in his own web.” Confronted with that kind of father, a daughter,can not but be disappointed, and however much she still wants to please him, can only disobey him. Brünnhilde is a goddess and Wotan a god, but the relationship between the two is like that of countless parents and children. Then, when Siegfried awakens her, Brünnhilde realizes that “she is no longer a goddess but a vulnerable woman,” and feels, according to Behrens, “the terror that probably happens at some point with every woman confronted by a man” .

It goes without saying that the lawyer in the soprano that I had wished to interview was totally surpassed by the woman she was, a woman in the flesh who knew what it is to be a daughter and to be a lover.

Later Behrens talked to us about the voice. Of the difficulty in Wagner of going over the orchestra. Of her preference for keeping ample vocal reserves. Of how as a young singer, unbeknownst to her voice teacher, she was rehearsing the difficult F sharp of the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute to “know that she had it” – just in case.

With much sadness, Folch and I said goodbye to the soprano. I went to the countryside to enjoy the long weekend of May 21. Folch kept the recording. A couple of days later he called me, desperate. The recording was not very audible. He needed help. But as I was in Chépica, I could not do anything. “Don’t worry,” Folch said, resigned. I still remember being relieved, rotten though I felt at that moment.

Today, on rereading the well-edited interview, I’m still thinking. A great work of art is, I tell myself, is one that induces us to conceptualize–as I did with the tetralogy, but always escapes from the attempted conceptualizations. One that tempts us with countless clues suggesting that it is reducible to some order, but ultimately fits in none.

 

BRAZIL

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MEMÓRIA HILDEGARD BEHRENS (1937-2009)

A grande soprano alemã Hildegard Behrens, uma das intérpretes mais intensas dos papéis dramáticos das óperas de Wagner e Richard Strauss, morreu aos 72 anos, por um aneurisma de aorta, em Tóquio, Japão, onde participaria do Festival de Verão de Kusatsu.

Uma artista completa, dotada de uma voz poderosa, quente e penetrante, associada a um physi que-du-rôle ideal, Hildegard foi uma intérprete de enorme inteligência e sensibilidade. Suas performances eram sempre notáveis por sua imensa capacidade de adaptação e resposta às necessidades da música e da cena, engendrando momentos de altíssima voltagem e intensidade dramática.

Nascida em Varel, Alemanha, em 1937, Behrens somente iniciou seus estudos vocais em Freiburg aos 26 anos, quando graduou-se em direito. Após sua estreia tardia nos palcos operísticos, aos 34 anos, como a Condessa das Bodas de Fígaro, de Mozart, Hildegard teve uma ascensão fulgurante, abraçando rapidamente os papéis dramáticos de Wagner e Strauss.

Das protagonistas wagnerianas, Behrens fez sua especialidade maior, destacando-se como a Brünhilde da Tetralogia O anel do Nibelungo, a Senta de Der fliegende holländer e uma extraordinária Isolde, que imortalizou em gravação com Leonard Bernstein. Sua estreia como Brünhilde foi em 1983, no prestigioso Festival de Bayreuth, na Alemanha, regida por Sir Georg Solti. De suas gravações como a valquíria wagneriana, fez história a sua participação na produção de Otto Schenk para o Metropolitan Opera de Nova York, regida por James Levine e registrada em CD e DVD.

Em Richard Strauss, a voz ampla, resistente e o talento dramático de Hildegard se encontraram à perfeição nos exigentes papéis de Salome e Elektra. Sua performance, ao mesmo tempo feminina, frágil, determinada e imperiosa de Salome marcou a sua estreia no Festival de Salzburg, com o maestro Herbert von Karajan, em 1997, ovacionada por público e crítica e resultando na gravação hoje histórica.

Outros grandes papéis de Hildegard, desenvolvidos nos principais teatros líricos mundiais, incluem a Marie, no Wozzeck de Alban Berg, gravada em áudio e vídeo com Claudio Abbado, Leonore, em Fidelio, de Beethoven, Elettra em I d omeneo, de Mozart, e Tosca, na ópera homônima de Puccini.

No Rio, a consagrada artista alemã esteve em maio de 1998, quando nos ofereceu um memorável concerto com obras de Wagner e Strauss no Teatro Municipal.

Na próxima semana, comento sobre a premiada discografia de Hildegard Behrens, ímpar como a sua arte e o seu legado.

Domingo, 23 de Agosto de 2009

http://jbonline.terra.com.br/leiajb/2009/08/23/caderno_b/memoria_hildegard_behrens__1937_2009.asp

 

ASIA

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German opera singer Behrens dies in Tokyo

Wednesday 19th August, 01:02 PM JST

TOKYO — German soprano Hildegard Behrens, one of the finest Wagnerian performers of her generation, has died while traveling in Japan. She was 72.

Jonathan Friend, artistic administrator of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, said in an email to opera officials that Behrens felt unwell while traveling to a festival near Tokyo. She went to a Tokyo hospital, where she died of an apparent aneurism on Tuesday.

Friend’s email was shared with The Associated Press by Jack Mastroianni, director of IMG Artists.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/entertainment/view/german-opera-singer-behrens-dies-in-tokyo

 

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German soprano dies in Japan

Aug 19, 2009

TOKYO – GERMAN soprano Hildegard Behrens, known for her dramatic portrayals of Richard Wagner’s heroines, has died during a visit to Japan to attend a music festival, event organisers said Wednesday. She was 72.

Behrens worked with great conductors including Leonard Bernstein and Herbert von Karajan, won multiple awards and performed at the New York Metropolitan Opera, also recording numerous albums in her decades-long career.

She died on Tuesday in a Tokyo hospital from an aortic aneurysm, said a representative of the annual Kusatsu International Summer Music Academy and Festival, where she had been due to teach and perform this week. Her body was to be cremated in Tokyo on Thursday with her ashes to be brought to the festival for a concert in her memory later in the day.

Shortly after arriving in Japan Sunday, Behrens ‘said she was feeling unwell from low blood pressure”, festival secretariat spokeswoman Miyuki Takebayashi told AFP. ‘She was taken by ambulance and immediately hospitalised.’ The singer’s son and manager Philip Behrens and her daughter Sara flew in and joined her in hospital where she died in surgery, Takebayashi said.

Behrens was born in Varel near Oldenburg, Germany, and learned the piano and violin at a young age, according to an obituary released by the secretariat.

She began formal music studies while she was a law student in Freiburg. Her talent was noticed by maestro Herbert von Karajan, and she rose to fame when he invited her to the 1977 Salzburg Festival.

She was most renowned for her portrayals of the heroines of Wagner and Richard Strauss, but her wide repertoire also included demanding soprano roles in the works of Mozart and other composers. She received state honours from Germany and Austria and numerous awards, including, according to her website, the 1997 Singer of the Year prize by the German opera magazine Die Opernwelt.

A frequent visitor to Japan, she had in recent years been a fixture at the festival in the hot-spring resort of Kusatsu, 150 kilometres northwest of Tokyo, where she had been due to perform Thursday.

The memorial concert will be attended by Behren’s two children, who will bring her ashes from Tokyo.

‘She was cremated at the request of her family,’ said Miki Hayashi of the Kan-Shinetsu Music Association which organises the annual festival. The concert will start with a performance by the Prague-based Panocha String Quartet and feature German classic clarinet player Karl Leister, who had been billed with Behrens for the night, Hayashi said. — AFP

 

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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

German soprano Behrens dies in Japan

August 20, 2009 07:23:00 AM

German soprano Hildegard Behrens, known for her dramatic portrayals of Richard Wagner’s heroines, has died during a visit to Japan, organisers of a music festival there said Wednesday. She was 72.

Behrens worked with great conductors including Leonard Bernstein and Herbert von Karajan, won multiple awards and performed at the New York Metropolitan Opera, also recording numerous albums in her decades-long career.

She died on Tuesday in a Tokyo hospital from an aortic aneurysm, said a representative of the annual Kusatsu International Summer Music Academy and Festival, where she had been due to teach and perform this week.

Shortly after arriving in Japan Sunday, Behrens “said she was feeling unwell from low blood pressure,” festival secretariat spokeswoman Miyuki Takebayashi told AFP. “She was taken by ambulance and immediately hospitalised.”

The singer’s son and manager Philip Behrens and her daughter flew in and joined her in hospital where she died in surgery, Takebayashi said.

Behrens was born in Varel near Oldenburg, Germany, and learned the piano and violin at a young age, according to an obituary released by the secretariat.

She began formal music studies while she was a law student in Freiburg.

Her talent was noticed by maestro Herbert von Karajan, and she rose to fame when he invited her to the 1977 Salzburg Festival.

She was most renowned for her portrayals of the heroines of Wagner and Richard Strauss, but her wide repertoire also included demanding soprano roles in the works of Mozart and other composers.

She received state honours from Germany and Austria and numerous awards, including, according to her website, the 1997 Singer of the Year prize by the German opera magazine Die Opernwelt.

A frequent visitor to Japan, she had in recent years been a fixture at the festival in the hot-spring resort of Kusatsu, 150 kilometres (90 miles) northwest of Tokyo, where she had been due to perform Thursday.

Her body will be cremated in Tokyo on Thursday and her remains may be sent to Kusatsu for a memorial event, the spokeswoman said.

“Her son and daughter will attend the memorial service, which will be a kind of farewell for Madame Behrens,” Takebayashi said.

http://www.fijilive.com/news/2009/08/20/19405.Fijilive

 

MIDDLE EAST

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