The Flagstad Manuscript


The Flagstad Manuscript


"I have never really wanted to write a book. I don't think my life concerns anybody but myself. I don't care one bit what my reputation will be when I stop singing. I might just as well be dead when I finally retire from opera and concert work. That is all that should interest the world. I want no one to intrude on the privacy that will be mine after that." Immortality as an artist means nothing to me. Fame, glory - they are empty, meaningless words. One does what one can. For me all of the fuss will end the day I give up singing.

And then, no matter what I or anyone else puts down in a book, there will still be so much nobody will ever know about me. I am really quite different even from what you may think, you Biancolli, who are writing this all down as I talk. (for the book "The Flagstad Manuscript")

I know pretty well what I am.

And this much I will admit in all frankness:

I am extremely simple, the complete opposite of complicated.

I am not a bit difficult.

I am just the average person who walks the
earth, not at all the sort of person that
anyone could possibly think capable of doing
the queer things good, ordinary people refrain from doing.

Time Magazine Cover

The Flagstad Manuscript book cover

It still astonishes me to think that I, who have never been loose or immoral in my private life, should ever have been suspected of being loose or immoral in my politics.

I have never quite understood how anybody could believe such a transformation possible.

I am bewildered that so simple a person as myself should be accused of strange and intricate matters that never could possibly have entered my mind at any time.

Let me make this very clear again: I am not an artist except when I am dealing with art, and when I am not dealing with art, I am the most commonplace person in the world.

I am not a bit mysterious or unusual or complex.

I am an absolutely average Norwegian, and we Norwegians in general are neither sophisticated nor complicated. I think we are pretty decent people. To look for sinister motives or dark secrets in my character or life is to look for something that is not there.

I am and have been what I say I am. That may be a disappointment to some people who would have preferred to find a woman of glamour and mystery in a singer of my standing. I cannot help it. Apart from my work, I am just an average woman.

Before all else I wanted a simple and tranquil home life, and a husband to love and respect me. I had both and I lost them. I want the rest of my life to be restful and uneventful, a life of books, a few friends, a tidy home, a little private music-and my good memories.

I want to be left alone. I don't think that is asking too much. I believe I have earned it.


The above statements are taken from the preface to the book "The Flagstad Manuscript"

Prima Voce: Flagstad

The Great Artist

The Flagstad Manuscript - search for it and buy it here

Above: An Isolde for the ages

Claudia Cassidy wrote this in Chicago in 1947:
" - 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 had 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."