Music: Heroic Female Figure

During the 26 years that Richard Wagner brooded over The Ring of the Nibelung, no one character caused him greater anguish than his heroine Brünnhilde. Time & again he flung down his pen and paced the floor. He recalled in his autobiography that once "my courage failed me completely, for I could not help asking myself whether the singer had yet been born who was capable of vitalizing this heroic female figure."* The stiffest test in all grand opera is the Brünnhilde of Götterdämmerung. That rôle made big news in Manhattan last week when...

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