World Opera Star Flagstad - Kirsten Flagstad - she triumphed over a vindictive campaign against her
World Opera Star Flagstad
In Norway they have published a biography of Kirsten Flagstad, penned by Ingeborg Solbrekken. "Exactly one year before the opening performance at the new opera house in Oslo, Norway, the background is revealed of the rumors and innuendos about the great singer Kirsten Flagstad."
For the first time material is published that shows how persons in the central power structure of post world war II Norway effectively used press, police and the judiciary in a vindictive and corrupt process unworthy of a country devoted to justice and the law.
Few famous singers have had to rise above such an orchestrated campaign of vicious misinformation.
The campaign failed because - the world opera star Flagstad - Kirsten Flagstad was already established as a star of the opera stage of the first magnitude.
If, after the devastation of war, any singer could symbolise the phoenix of rebirth, it was Flagstad.
"If ever there seemed a grand design behind a singer's career, it was hers too; for at so many stages it offered the security and satisfactions of the merely good, always to be rejected in favor of the fulfillment of greatness."
In the end this dramatic soprano emerged with a personal nobility and immense personal dignity - every bit as impressive as the characters she portrayed on the operatic stage.
June 1945 was a fateful month for Kirsten Flagstad. Without knowing what consequences it would have, she allowed herself to be interviewed by a Swedish journalist.
She said that she wished to travel to the U.S. where she still had many friends. She was glad that Norway had regained its freedom, but that her own life was not at the time pleasant there.
The article was printed in the "Morgontidningen" in Stockholm June 10, 1945.
An evaluation of the World Opera Star Flagstad:
The Simax Label in Norway set out to document the Flagstad career and discography.
The Kirsten Flagstad Anthology
Norway's biggest contribution to the international opera stage is Kirsten Flagstad. Her career was a long line of triumphs; from the sensational debut at the Metropolitan in 1935, aged 40, to her retirement in the 1960s. She was celebrated as the greatest interpreter of Wagner's female roles the world had heard until then. Many people will claim that this position still belongs to Kirsten Flagstad.
During her long career she had parts in more than 80 operas and operettas, with more than 2100 performances. She gave more than 250 concerts with orchestra and over 600 solo recitals. As a recording artist, she started with local productions in Oslo around 1915. Among her last was the first complete recording of Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" for Decca towards the end of the 1950s.
Further to this there are countless recordings from concerts and performances all over the world, in addition to a large archive from Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) with studio recordings from her later years. All in all her recordings amount to almost one thousand.
With the Kirsten Flagstad Anthology, Simax Classics allows audiences a unique opportunity to follow Flagstad's development as a singer.
Most of the material presented in this series is impossible to get elsewhere! Early recordings from Norway before the Metropolitan-era, from different stages all over the world, and from the NRK archives.
Editor of this series is one of Kirsten Flagstad's closest personal friends through the post-war years; record collector, composer, writer and singer Arne Dørumsgård.
At his home in Marzio, Northern Italy, he has built a collection that is a worthy monument to one of the greatest singers the world has heard.
In stark contrast to the campaign to discredit this great artist, the World Opera Star Flagstad - here is a quote from a Claudia Cassidy review of the first post-war Tristan in Chicago, November 16, 1947:
World Opera Star Flagstad
"Who says the great days of opera are gone? None who sat transfixed in the Civic Opera House yesterday and hovered between tears and cheers as the just tribute to the blazing incandescence of a magnificent "Tristan und Isolde" presented by Artur Rodzinski as his first and unforgettable contribution to the pension fund of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, of which he is now the mesmeric leader.
But when, at the end of the opera, after a "Liebestod" that tore the heart to tatters Kirsten Flagstad stepped out unexpectedly to take her first bow alone, why then there was no question.
Tears and cheers came out together in a half-choked roar that seemed to shake the huge house before it fell at her feet in tribute.
In that roar was the pent-up admiration, the trust, and the love the public has for this great singer, and in it, too, was the great sigh of relief that she has come back to us not just as good, but better than ever….
Never before in my life had I heard such an Isolde, and I am rich in its memory should I be so luckless as never to hear it again."