100 years of Birgit Nilsson
A tribute to one of the country’s most prominent and outstanding singers and musical profiles.
Tuesday 26 June 2018 11.00Ends approximately 17.00
This year marks one hundred years since the birth of Birgit Nilsson. To pay tribute to one of the country’s most prominent and outstanding singers and musical profiles, a photo exhibition featuring pictures from the life and unique career of Birgit Nilsson will be on display this summer. The exhibition is a portrait of the incredible career of this global artist, primarily as a concert vocalist, but also her roles. In addition to many photos, the dress she wore to the 1968 Nobel Prize Award Ceremony will be on display, as well as a slide show and recordings from Konserthuset’s archive.
Birgit Nilsson debuted at the Royal Swedish Opera in 1946 as Agathe in Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz. But she had already made her debut the year before at Konserthuset with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Tor Mann. Her career swiftly took off and in time, she became the world’s leading and most acclaimed dramatic soprano. Birgit Nilsson sang everything from Mozart to operas by Richard Strauss and Giacomo Puccini, but it was the music of Richard Wagner that paved the way for her career. She generated front page headlines in New York when she debuted at the Metropolitan Opera as Isolde in Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. And when she became the first foreign singer ever to open the season at La Scala in Milan in 1958, her success was absolute.
In her memoires, she describes the event as one of the most important in her life. All of the major opera houses around the world wanted to have her. She took the stage at the inauguration of the Sydney Opera House and she was a natural and celebrated guest at the Bayreuth Festival. In the early 1980s, she participated in many concerts, including in memory of Jussi Björling in 1985. Birgit Nilsson’s final performance with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra was in 1990, when she hosted the concert at Gärdet.