Artist picture of Birgit Nilsson

Birgit Nilsson

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Artist's Top Tracks

Die Walküre, WWV 86B / Act 3 : "Hojotoho! Hojotoho!"...Ride Of The Valkyries Sir Georg Solti, Birgit Nilsson, Helga Dernesch, Berit Lindholm 06:19
Tristan und Isolde, WWV 90 / Act 3 : "Mild und leise wie er lächelt" Sir Georg Solti, Birgit Nilsson, Wiener Philharmoniker 07:08
Aida / Act 1 : Ritorna vincitor! Birgit Nilsson, Orchestra Of The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Sir John Pritchard 06:42
Tristan und Isolde, WWV 90 / Act 1 : "Westwärts schweift der Blick" Birgit Nilsson, Orchester Der Bayreuther Festspiele, Karl Böhm, Christa Ludwig 05:33
Tristan und Isolde, WWV 90 / Act 1 : "Tristan! - Isolde! Treuloser Holder!" Sir Georg Solti, Birgit Nilsson, Fritz Uhl, Regina Resnik 06:48
Tristan und Isolde, WWV 90 / Act 1 : "Begehrt, Herrin was Ihr wünscht" Sir Georg Solti, Birgit Nilsson, Fritz Uhl, Wiener Philharmoniker 04:12
コウモリ : I Could Have Danced All Night Birgit Nilsson, With Orchestral Accompaniment 02:46
Die Walküre / Zweiter Aufzug : "Nun zäume dein Ross, reisige Maid" Sir Georg Solti, Hans Hotter, Birgit Nilsson, Wiener Philharmoniker 02:49
Tristan und Isolde, WWV 90 / Act 2 : "Isolde! Geliebte! - Tristan! Geliebter!" Birgit Nilsson, Orchester Der Bayreuther Festspiele, Karl Böhm, Richard Wagner 15:06
Die Walküre / Zweiter Aufzug : "Was verlangst du?" Sir Georg Solti, Hans Hotter, Birgit Nilsson, Wiener Philharmoniker 06:16

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Biography

When she died at the age of 87, the Guardian newspaper asked, "Was there ever a more truly Wagnerian singer than Birgit Nilsson?" A quintessential operatic diva, she was said to have been born to sing Wagner's bravura repertoire, with her rich, powerful voice, she pleased audiences and critics even as her prickly personality raised the hackles of composers, conductors and fellow performers. She managed her own business affairs and made so much money that she established a foundation to award the Birgit Nilsson Prize worth $1 million for outstanding achievement. The first recipient, in 2009, was Plácido Domingo.

Born Märta Birgit Svensson in a town just north of Malmö, Sweden, she began to sing as a child and soon took lessons. When she won a Christina Nilsson scholarship, she changed her name to Birgit Nilsson. She studied at Stockholm's Royal Academy of Music and made her debut at the Royal Opera in Stockholm in 1946 as Agathe in Carl Maria von Weber's 'Der Freischütz'. Her performance as Lady Macbeth in Giuseppe Verdi's 'Macbeth' the following year garnered great attention and she went on to perform in Vienna and Bayreuth. Her debut with the Royal Opera in Covent Garden, London, came as Brünnhilde in the complete 'Ring' cycle of Richard Wagner in 1957 and she debuted at La Scala in Milan the following year in the title role of Giacomo Puccini's 'Turandot'. In 1959, she made her first appearance with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in Wagner's 'Tristan and Isolde'.

According to the New York Times, she sang with the Metropolitan Opera 223 times in 16 roles. Her first album, 'Excepts from Die Walkure/The Flying Dutchman' came out in 1958 followed the same year by 'Wagner and Verdi Opera Arias'. Dozens of albums followed and continue to be released with 'Wagner Lonhengrin' and 'Der Ring des Nibelungenin' in 2016. She was nominated for three Grammy Awards for Best Classical Performance for 'R. Strauss: Salome' (1962), 'Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder' (1972) and 'Wagner: Duets from Parsifal and Die Walkure' (1974). She published 'My Memoirs in Pictures' in 1977 and in 1984 she retired back to Sweden where she died on Christmas Day in 2005.

Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved