The great German dramatic soprano died yesterday, in Tokyo, at the age of seventy-two. I first saw her sing in Boston, in 1988, in a searing concert performance of Elektra. Later appearances were fraught with vocal trouble, but she never failed to make a strong impression, throwing herself fervently into her roles. In 1977 she and Karajan made their fearsomely beautiful recording of Salome; when I compared more than thirty recordings of that opera for Gramophone magazine, I chose the Behrens as the supreme version. I also cherish her live Wozzeck, with Abbado conducting. To put it briefly, her voice had the fire of life.