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!