August 19, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT

Renowned opera singer Hildegard Behrens, 72, died Tuesday of apparent aneurism in Tokyo, the AP reports. Born in Varel, Germany, the dramatic soprano made her professional stage debut in 1971 in The Marriage of Figaro in Freiburg, Germany. Behrens made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1976 as Giorgetta in Giacomo Puccini’s Il Tabarro. Over the course of her three-decade career, Behrens performed 171 times at the Met. The singer was traveling in Japan to perform at a music festival when she fell ill and was taken to a Tokyo hospital on Sunday night. She passed away two days later.

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