Whenever I’m at the Met Opera House I try to look at some of the vintage costumes on display. Recently there was a vitrine with mannequins draped in Wagnerian costumes of Flagstad’s, Jeritza’s, and Fremstad’s. They were beautifully preserved and just plain beautiful. I was impressed again by how shapely–not skinny but not fat–so many operatic divas of the past seem to have been. Each soprano was one-of-a-kind, yet part of a stellar tradition. The performances in which those costumes participated have vanished into the ether, but the fabric is living witness. And by the way, have those performances really vanished into the ether? I read an audiophile’s comment once that perhaps one day those sound waves may somehow be able to be retrieved!

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