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Siv Wennberg - A Great Primadonna Volume 3



This is the recording of the 1975 performance in Stockholm. Already nearing the end of her career, Birgit Nilsson renders some glorious singing with ever powerful high Cs. The success was enormous and the performance was to be considered legendary. One reviewer wrote that this performance was the greatest in 200 years. It was opera history the way the world premiere performance of O'Neills 'Long Day's journey into Night' in 1956 in Stockholm.

The opera was performed a few more times during spring of 1976. In 1978 it was sent on television as they wanted to document this performance with Birgit Nilsson. Many expected the opera to be released on DVD after the death of Birgit Nilsson, but the opera director Nikolaus Lehnhoff has forbidden another television performance. Now, however, you can hear the performance on CD, at least.

Siv Wennberg - A Great Primadonna Volume 3


I must admit to a certain sinking feeling when I come across a release of a live opera performance which advertises itself (as this issue does) as “legendary”. All the more reason for rejoicing therefore to be able to report that this recording, taken from one single performance without any opportunity for later patching, is totally devoid of any slips which might get in the way of the listener’s enjoyment.

This live performance contains some performances – in particular Wennberg, Nilsson, Berry and Ericson – which are fully the equal of those to be found on the Solti set; and the recording, especially considering its origins from a single performance, is amazingly good. Sterling should be thanked for rescuing it from obscurity and making it readily available. Paul Corfield Godfrey, MusicWeb-International