Kirsten Flagstad


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(b Hamar, Norway, 1895; d Oslo, 1962).

Norweg. soprano. One of the greatest of Wagnerian singers. Début Christiania (Oslo) Nat. Th. as Nuri in d'Albert's Tiefland. Sang wide range of roles in opera and operetta in Scandinavia up to 1932 but was virtually unknown elsewhere until glowing reports of her first Isolde in Oslo in June 1932 led to her engagement in small roles at 1933 Bayreuth Fest. Sang Gutrune and Sieglinde at Bayreuth 1934. NY Met début as Sieglinde 1935, singing Isolde 4 days later and Brünnhilde a month after that. CG début as Isolde 1936. Her int. standing as leading exponent of Wagner's great female roles was thereafter unchallenged until her retirement from the stage in 1953. Though a famous Brünnhilde at La Scala, she never sang Brünnhilde or Isolde at Bayreuth. Sang her main Wagner roles at CG 1948–51 and her last Isolde in Liverpool 1951. Salzburg Fest. début 1949 (Leonore in Fidelio). Gave f.p. of Strauss's Vier letzte Lieder, London 1950. Dir., Norweg. State Opera 1958–60. Fine exponent of Grieg songs. Her return to Nazi‐occupied Norway in 1941 to be with her husband led to a post‐war investigation on charges of collaboration (she was cleared) and to hostility to her return to the Met.

Subjects: Opera.

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