Kirsten Flagstad–still considered the greatest Wagnerian soprano

I’m working on an article about the Ring Cycle, which is coming to Los Angeles this May and June. As I’ve been researching the strange and fascinating world of Wagner’s megalomania, I came across a few videos of Norwegian soprano Kirsten Flagstad.

Considered the greatest Wagnerian soprano of the 20th century (and quite possibly ever), Flagstad was discovered on February 2, 1935 when she replaced a regular cast member in the role of Sieglinde. After one listen, I immediately understood why this woman was was catapulted to instant fame and fortune. Her voice is spectacular: heavy and clear, kind of like how I would imagine a giant bell would ring, cool as river, trembling, and always in control.

Please have a listen. I’ve attached two videos. The second video is kind of funny. I think her arm movements are ridiculous. But that voice!

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