By Johna Till Johnson
Among the victims of Germanwings Flight 9525 was Maria Radner, a German opera singer. She was a 33-year old contralto who specialized in Wagner. I hadn’t heard of her before—no surprise since I’m new to opera, and have yet to warm to Wagner’s music.
But a commentator on one of the news stories posted the video below. Maria Radner sings “Urlicht” (“Primeval Light”) from Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, the Resurrection Symphony.
It’s just under five minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite so lovely. Looking into her serene blue-gray eyes and insouciant half smile, and listening to that soaring voice, all I can think of is that although a deranged man was able to take away her life, the beauty she brought into this world is immortal.
The lyrics translate as follows:
I am from God and want to return to God!
The loving God will give me a little of the light,
will illuminate me into the eternal blessed life!
She got that wish.
I only wish that it hadn’t happened quite so soon.