Opera: Bye-Bye Brunnhilde

Sweden's Birgit Nilsson is the world's reigning Wagnerian soprano. Austria's Herbert von Karajan has no superior as a conductor of the Ring cycle. Alas, two great melodies do not always pro duce a single pleasing harmony. Ever since she began singing under his demanding baton, Miss Nilsson's relation ship with the Salzburg-born maestro has become increasingly sour. Among other things, she has been irked by his insistence on unusually time-consuming rehearsals and is not too keen about his dark, brooding lighting effects, which often keep the singers in the shadows. "I could...

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