(b Holbaek, 2 June 1946; d Copenhagen, 10 Feb 2008). Danish soprano. After studying in Vienna and Stuttgart, she made her début in 1971 at Gelsenkirchen; engagements followed at Münster, Berne and Frankfurt. She sang a flowermaiden at Bayreuth (1979); her roles at this period included Zerlina, Blonde, Ilia, Norina, Nannetta and Aennchen. She sang Donna Clara in Alexander Zemlinsky's Der Zwerg with the Hamburg Staatsoper at Edinburgh in 1983, later recording the role, and created Minette in H. W. Henze's The English Cat at Schwetzingen, repeating the role in the French and American premières of the opera in Paris and Santa Fe (1985). Nielsen sang Amenaide (Tancredi) at Wexford (1986), Konstanze at Salzburg and for her Covent Garden début (1987), Fiordiligi at Strasbourg (1989) and Christine (Intermezzo) at Geneva (1991). As her pure-toned, agile soprano grew in volume, she took on such roles as Agathe, Salome, the Marschallin, Ursula (Mathis der Maler), which she sang at Covent Garden in 1995, Elsa, which she first sang at Hamburg in 1998 and the Empress (Die Frau ohne Schatten), which she performed at La Scala in 1999. Nielsen was equally active as a concert singer, and recorded works including Bach cantatas and his St John Passion, Robert Schumann's Der Rose Pilgerfahrt and Gustav Mahler's Eighth Symphony. Her operatic recordings include Leonore and Salome, both widely acclaimed for their combination of vocal finesse and dramatic conviction, in addition to roles in W. A. Mozart's Il re pastore and Peter Heise's King and Marshall.
From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.