Birgit Nilsson and Astrid Varnay, two of the 20th century’s most thrilling sopranos, were born in Sweden less than a month apart in 1918 and went on to portray many of the dramatic heroines of the operatic repertoire. To celebrate the centenary of their births, the Met has compiled playlists of some of their most memorable moments with the company. Nilsson, who made her Met debut in 1959 as Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, went on to sing more than 200 performances of 16 roles. She may be best known for portrayals of commanding heroines of the German canon—from the title characters of Salome and Elektra to Brünnhilde in Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung. But when she turned to the Italian repertoire, as she did on 93 occasions, the results were equally riveting. Her portrayal of the icy princess Turandot—the role she sang a record 52 times with the company—will go down as one of the most electrifying performances of any artist in Met history.
Apr 27, 2018
2 HRS 13 MIN
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus