Opera: The French Teuton

Though every German soprano worthy of her breastplate has sung the role of the Marschallin in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, other singers keep a respectful distance. The Marschallin's notes are within easy reach of the best sopranos, but dramatically her role is too restrained for Italians, too aristocratic for Americans, too Viennese for the French. Last week though, a French soprano named RĂ©gine Crespin sang the final Marschallin of her first season at the Metropolitan Opera. It was the best at the Met since Lotte Lehmann's swan song 16 years ago.

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