For all the worldwide acclaim she has received through the years, one would think Hildegard Behrens was born singing. Yes, she had a good headstart in music. Born in the north German town of Varel - Oldenburg to music-loving parents who were both doctors (her father composed music and played the cello), she and her five siblings learned the piano and the violin at an early age.
But it will surprise many to learn that her first professional training was as a lawyer. She has a law degree from the University of Freiburg where she was also a member of the student choir. It was in her third year as a law student when she began her musical studies at the conservatory. In the end, with law diploma in hand, the lure of music proved all too powerful - and thus the legal profession's loss became music's fortunate gain. Yet surely the law is not entirely to music lost. Indeed, her legal training can only have enhanced her native musical intelligence and deep sense of drama, enabling her to give to her many operatic roles the same scrupulous scrutiny she surely gives to her contracts. When portraying the goddess-warrior Brünnhilde in the last act of Wagner's Die Walküre, for example, she movingly and with great pathos pleads her case - as only a consummate artist AND a smart lawyer can!
- ©GC/FanFaire 1997-2009
(Click HERE for Ms. Behrens' own thoughts on portraying Brünnhilde.)
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(See Suggested Reading for more on Ms. Behrens and her Discography for her audio and video recordings.)