Unlike Verdi, who thought better of making an opera of King Lear, Aribert Reimann (born in Berlin in 1936) rose to the bait. In the process, he gave Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau—A Baritone for All Seasons—a title role worthy of his prodigious gifts. That said, any adaptation of Shakespeare’s bleakest tragedy is an ordeal to some degree, and Reimann’s—in German—is no exception. Among Fischer-Dieskau’s successors, Thomas Stewart (in San Francisco, three years after the world premiere, singing an English translation) gave what is remembered as a uniquely heartfelt and original performance. In recent seasons Bo Skovhus, of Denmark, formerly a lithe and elegant Don Giovanni, has taken over the title role as if by divine right. —M.G.