Music: Crash Landing at the Met

Any singer who has ever been buffeted by a Wagnerian orchestra knows that a performance of Die Walküre (four hours) calls for the constitution of a wild ox. At a Walküre performance last week at Manhattan's Metropolitan Opera, some of the singers were in sub-ox condition; and before the final curtain fell, substitutes had shuttled on and off the stage in an evening of monumental confusion.

Soprano Birgit Nilsson, scheduled to sing the role of Brünnhilde, had to bow out the evening before the performance. General Manager Rudolf Bing gave the role to Soprano...

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