U.S. At War: Bringing Cologne to Life

It was enough to make Richard Wagner turn in his grave. On the great stage of the roofless, littered Cologne Opera House a skinny little doughboy, shrouded in the pretentious livery of Siegfried, sang "Saint Louis Woman . . ." to a buxom, bearded, Brünnhilde. A G.I. strode past, sporting a foot-high Cossack hat of white fur. Romeo, a Matterhorn of meat and muscle, was there, and Juliet, too, her black wig on backwards. One battle-grimed dough-foot had abandoned his bazooka for a slide trombone. Seven pianos were going at once.

In the dusk...