She became a star overnight, and the role of Sieglinde followed her for the rest of her career. Her Metropolitan Opera debut came in 1959 as Lady Macbeth, replacing Maria Callas who had been "fired" from the production. She made her farewell to the Met as the Countess in The Queen of Spades in January 1996. Her final performance was at the Salzburg Festival in August 1996, as Klytämnestra in Elektra. Over her lengthy career, she sang 299 performances of 24 roles at the Met. She starred in the Met premieres of Macbeth, Nabucco, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Frau ohne Schatten, and Káťa Kabanová. In 1951, she was the first Sieglinde of the new Bayreuth Festival in Die Walküre under Herbert von Karajan.
From then on, she became one of the brightest stars of the new opera theatre, the German "Musikdrama". Wagner made her career, but it was perhaps as a singer of Richard Strauss's operas that she made the largest contribution to modern opera. She was the reigning Empress of Die Frau ohne Schatten and triumphed as Salome, Elektra, Chrysothemis, the Marschallin and Ariadne. But the Empress was a very special role for her: the opera became a part of the regular repertoire in her time, and she created the part in many opera houses, first and foremost the Met and the Paris Opera. She was appointed curator of the Vienna Festival a few months after her retirement, a post she held until her death in Vienna at age 71 (she had been diagnosed with bone cancer during her last Met performances). Read more on Last.fm.
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