The untimely passing of our beloved HILDEGARD BEHRENS, FanFaire's
guiding light and first featured artist, unleashed a phenomenal
outpouring of grief from all over the world, even from the most
unlikely places. It is grief born of a deep love and admiration
for the legendary soprano who by her incomparable artistry and
humanity profoundly touched people's lives, ours not the least.
News of her
demise "prompted a degree of affection unusual even for opera
fans," David Patrick Stearns, music critic for the Philadelphia
Inquirer observed. This is evident in the submissions to
FanFaire's own "Tributes
to Hildegard Behrens" page - by people who knew
her well, or only through her art, or even not at all until they
only casually read of her passing - as well as in the numerous
emotional ruminations of opera lovers who also happen to be denizens
of the blogosphere. More than the sometimes fallible judgment
of critics, their words heart-warmingly written with conviction,
we dare say, are the truer measure of a great artist. They
are the most moving expressions of a deep sense of both personal
loss and celebratory gratitude for "her life-affirming art"
- those uniquely intense Behrens moments that, as opera fan Brad
Kronen so eloquently states, make us feel "truly human",
and "make us write poetry, sing operas, and believe in God."
Readers meeting her for the first time through these writers'
words and reminiscences will likely discover, as author/scholar
Germaine Greer did, watching her in performance as Brünnhilde
in Götterdämmerung, that HILDEGARD BEHRENS
was no less than SUBLIME and realize that her influence lasts
no less than a lifetime.
She was a very spiritual person who once revealed in an interview
that for her, music was "an exercise in progressive spiritual
purification, preparing one to view death without fear, as an
ascent 'to higher and higher energies.'" Or as Isolde sings
in the the "Liebestod" - to a state of "supreme
bliss" ("höchste Lust!") which is certainly
where she is now, "...undivided, one forever without end"
(um ungetrennt, ewig einig, ohne End) with her Maker who
dearly blessed and loved her in life.
Below are links to web pages that together make up a repository-in-the-making
of OBITUARIES, TRIBUTES and HOMAGES to the consummate artist--"the
Leonore of all time", "the Elektra of the century",
"the Brünnhilde without equal"--and the magnificent
human being that HILDEGARD BEHRENS was.
1. If some links to media entries are broken, it's likely because
they have expired.
2. English translations of foreign-language articles are in process
and will be posted as they are completed.
3. Tributes will be added as they are "discovered;"
these pages will therefore be a work-in-progress for some time
fill in the email form below if you wish to add a tribute in any
language, or submit a link to an obituary, homage or tribute that
you think should be added to the present collection. Comments
and suggestions are also welcome. Thank you.