12 Jan 2006

Tributes to Birgit Nilsson

Birgit Nilsson died on 25 December 2005 at age 87. Her death was announced on 11 January 2006. Here are three tributes to this great soprano.

Birgit Nilsson, Soprano Legend Who Tamed Wagner, Dies at 87

By BERNARD HOLLAND [NY Times, 12 January 2006]

Birgit Nilsson, the Swedish soprano with a voice of impeccable trueness and impregnable stamina, died on Dec. 25 in Vastra Karup, the village where she was born, the Stockholm newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported yesterday. She was 87.

A funeral was held yesterday at a church in her town, the presiding vicar, Fredrik Westerlund, told The Associated Press.

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Birgit Nilsson

[Daily Telegraph, 12 January 2006]

Birgit Nilsson, who has died aged 87, was considered to be the greatest Wagnerian soprano of her day; she had a rock-solid technique and a voice of such soaring, unforced power that it was able to cut through the massed forces of a Wagnerian orchestra with ease, yet a purity of tone which enabled her to switch to the most delicate pianissimo.

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Birgit Nilsson

Supreme Wagnerian soprano blessed with musicality, technique and imagination

Frank Granville Barker and Alan Blyth [The Guardian, 12 January 2006]

Was there ever a more truly Wagnerian singer than Birgit Nilsson, who has died aged 87? It seems unlikely that her Isolde and Brünnhilde will ever be equalled, let alone surpassed. She brought to these roles all the qualities their composer could possibly have wished: a voice of heroic proportions, a remarkable musicality, an interpretative imagination as incandescent as the music itself and a technique as solid as the rock on which the latter heroine slept for 20 years. Even her laughter, though it was only heard offstage, rang like the Valkyries' "Ho-yo-to-ho".

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