Astrid Varnay and Birgit Nilsson, 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. Varnay, who made her Met debut in 1941 as Sieglinde in Die Walküre, gave 200 performances of 24 roles over the course of nearly four decades. While she is most famous for appearances in the operas of Wagner—she sang riveting performances of Elsa in Lohengrin, Senta in Der Fliegende Holländer, Elisabeth in Tannhäuser, and Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, among others—she also wowed audiences with performances of the Italian repertoire, including as Amelia Grimaldi in Simon Boccanegra. In some cases, as with her appearance first in the title role of Elektra and later as Klytämnestra, Varnay even sang multiple roles in the same opera during her storied career.
Apr 26, 2018
1 HRS 08 MIN
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus