Music: Delayed Debut

Until last week, Germany's Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was known in the U.S. only by recordings—and by reports from Europe—of her lyric soprano. Last week Manhattan music lovers packed into Town Hall for her U.S. debut, found out firsthand that she is one of the most polished sopranos alive.

Soprano Schwarzkopf chose her favorite form, German lieder, and, from the time she first opened her mouth, never uttered an unpleasant sound. She ranged with practiced ease from a fragile, little-girl voice in such songs as Schubert's Die Vogel to big, dramatic tones in Hugo Wolf's Kennst Du das Land. She could soar high into...

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