The Best of Flagstad - EMI recordings

The Best of Flagstad - EMI recordings

Kirsten Flagstad was a wonder of nature. At the time of her Met debut on February 2nd, 1935 (a Met broadcast of "Die Walkure", in which she sang the role of Segliende), she was hailed as the greatest soprano voice ever to appear on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.

She ruled the Wagnerian repertoire at the Met until the end of the 1940-1941 season, at which time she returned to Norway to wait out World War II.

When the war ended, she was accused of being pro-Nazi (which she was NOT), and suffered a lot of indignities from which she should have been spared.

Her magnificent voice, however, was, if anything, even grander and more opulent than it was before. It was during these post-war years that these EMI recordings were made in London, directed by Walter Legge, who later went on to make legendary recordings with his wife, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, and finally, Maria Callas.

Virtually every item presented in this 2 disc EMI set is extraordinary. This is a wonderful compilation, most of which, of course, comprises Wagner.

Flagstad had a massive dramatic soprano that could open floodgates of sound like no soprano until the arrival of Birgit Nilsson.

Both of them stand as the greatest dramatic sopranos of the Twentieth Century.

For anyone who wants to know why Kirsten Flagstad is recognized as the legend she truly is, they need this recording.

What is equally amazing is that after she left EMI and retired, she signed an exclusive recording contract with London/Decca, for whom she continued to record (by now in stereo) until she became ill in 1959.

Amazingly enough, her voice, while taking on a more mezzo-like autumnal hue, continued to be a shining and spectacular instrument.

London/Decca really need to re-issue these recordings. This was a voice that still resounds, and one which refuses to be forgotten.

--- by: L. Mitnick (Chicago, Illinois United States)

Best of Flagstad

Flagstad Isolde

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