German soprano Hildegard Behrens dies aged 72

TOKYO Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:07pm BST

German singer Hildegard Behrens performs during a rehearsal for ''Cronaca des Luogo'' by Italian composer Luciano Berio July 19, 1999. REUTERS/Jacqueline Godany

German singer Hildegard Behrens performs during a rehearsal for ''Cronaca des Luogo'' by Italian composer Luciano Berio July 19, 1999.

Credit: Reuters/Jacqueline Godany

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TOKYO (Reuters) - German soprano Hildegard Behrens, best known for her roles in Wagner and Strauss operas, has died in a Tokyo hospital aged 72, an official at the Kanshinetsu Music Society Foundation in Japan said on Wednesday.

Behrens, who was in Japan to participate in the Kusatsu International Summer Music Festival, near Tokyo, was hospitalised on Sunday after arriving in Japan, said the official from the foundation, which hosts the music festival.

She died on Tuesday of an aortic aneurysm, according to the foundation's website.

Born in Varel, Germany, in 1937, Behrens started her musical training at a conservatory while she was a law student.

She made her professional opera debut in 1971 and went on to perform at the Salzburg Festival and leading opera houses around the world including the Metropolitan in New York and Covent Garden in London.

Among her accolades were three Grammy awards for best opera recording between 1989 and 1992.

(Reporting by Yoko Kubota, editing by Mike Collett-White)

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