Music: Debut in San Francisco

Americans have heard German Soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in everything from Bach's B Minor Mass to Lehar's The Merry Widow—on records. But, except for scattered concerts, they have not heard her in person. This season, the San Francisco Opera gave her a chance to show off not only her brilliant singing but also her remarkable acting. Her roles: the Marschallin in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier and Donna Elvira in Mozart's Don Giovanni. Her score: bull's-eyes in both roles.

The Marschallin in Rosenkavalier is too often sung by a fading, overripe diva. But 39-year-old Soprano Schwarzkopf,...

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