La Nilsson: My Life in Opera
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La Nilsson: My Life in Opera

by Birgit Nilsson
     
 

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First published to wide acclaim in Sweden (1995) and in Germany (1997), the autobiography of opera legend Birgit Nilsson (1918–2005) is finally available in an English translation. From her humble roots in rural Sweden to her artistic triumphs in Stockholm, Bayreuth, Milan, and the Metropolitan Opera House, this candid and utterly charming memoir reveals the

Overview

First published to wide acclaim in Sweden (1995) and in Germany (1997), the autobiography of opera legend Birgit Nilsson (1918–2005) is finally available in an English translation. From her humble roots in rural Sweden to her artistic triumphs in Stockholm, Bayreuth, Milan, and the Metropolitan Opera House, this candid and utterly charming memoir reveals the personality behind one of the great voices of the past century.

Gracefully weaving together the private and professional, Nilsson chronicles her idyllic childhood in Vastra Karup, the early recognition of her unique natural abilities, and her first tentative steps into a wider artistic world. After achieving national acclaim in Verdi’s Lady Macbeth, she went on to establish herself as the dominant Wagnerian soprano of her generation, appearing at the Bayreuth and Munich Festivals, and the Vienna and Bavarian State Opera Houses, creating, along the way, definitive performances of Sieglinde, Brünnhilde, and Isolde. The book details her rise to international stardom with behind-the-scenes recollections of her phenomenal triumph as Turandot at La Scala in 1958 and her headline-making Met premier in Tristan und Isolde the following year.

Nilsson’s long and illustrious career (she performed until 1984), her celebrated professional and personal relationships, her friendships and rivalries, are all recounted with a down-to-earth wit and an engagingly odd admixture of ego and selfeffacement. She tells it all: the legendary quips, the often prickly relationships with Met impresario Rudolph Bing and conductor von Karajan, the infamous story of the stalker “Miss N,” and the touchingly rendered relationship with her beloved husband, Bertil Niklasson.

What emerges from these pages is a diva in the old mold: a giant voice matched by an oversize personality, a professional who expected the same level of perfection from others that she demanded of herself, and a woman who loved and lived life with joy and good humor . . . and oh, that voice.

Includes 56 photographs and a discography.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is an engaging book. We come to know this formidable but warm-hearted woman so well that on next playing a record of hers we are sure to be “on her side” as never before... it may not be reading for the objective professional critic, but it can be highly recommended to everyone else."—John Stearne, Gramophone

"Expertly translated by Popper, the thematically organized narrative conveys the singer's humanity... Nilsson's fame as one of the major international stars of the post-World War II opera scene makes this title essential."—Library Journal

“Nilsson was a diva in the best sense of the word, a true professional who expected the same degree of perfection from others that she demanded of herself. Her thoroughly entertaining, earthy memoirs are must reading for those curious about the personality possessed of that radiant voice.”—Booklist

"Nilsson includes all the relevant facts and figures as she outline her life. She also reveals herself as a slyly humorous lady and talks about her feelings about music and colleagues."
American Record Guide

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555536701
Publisher:
Northeastern University Press
Publication date:
05/31/2007
Edition description:
Trans. from the Swedish
Pages:
356
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

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What People are saying about this

Julius Rudel
"Birgit Nilsson wrote exactly as she spoke, which makes her autobiography most pleasurable reading; and Doris Jung Popper in her translation has caught the flavor remarkably well. Music lovers should really enjoy this book!"
Jeannie Williams
"Finally we all can read Birgit Nilsson's delicious memoir, packed with her candid, funny, and wise recollections of a legendary career. It's all here, from Karajan and Corelli to Wieland and Wolfgang Wagner and Rudolf Bing, as well as her beloved husband, Bertil. This is truly Birgit's voice, in the excellent translation by Doris Jung Popper."

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