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Open Features: Kirsten Flagstad

Peter Wintersgill brings a pen-portrait of the Norwegian singer Kirsten Flagstad, a famed soprano soloist in Wagner operas.

Born
12 July, 1895, in Hamar, Norway

Adolescence
Studied singing in Oslo

Adult Life
She made her Oslo debut in Tiefland in 1913. Up to 1932 she only sang in Scandinavia.

Her main claim to fame was as soprano soloist in Wagner operas. She sang Sieglinde and Gutrune at Bayreuth in 1934. Her New York Metropolitan debut was in 1935 as Sieglinde, Isolde and Brunhilde.

She made her Covent Garden debut as Isolde in 1936, singing there for many years in leading Wagner roles, for the last time in 1951.

She gave the premier of Stauss’s Four Last Songs in 1950 and sang Purcell’s Dido at the Mermaid Theatre, London, 1951.

She retired in 1953 and was Director of the Norwegian State Opera from 1958-1960.

The purity and beauty of her voice are well shown in the complete recording of Tristan under Furtwangler.

She died on 7th December, 1962, in Oslo, aged 67.

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