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Late, great soprano Birgit Nilsson isn't at her best on this variety pack of arias by Mozart, Weber, Wagner, Strauss
Composer: Mozart, Weber, Wagner, Strauss
Repertoire: Or Sai Chi L’onore
Artists: Birgit Nilsson, Various Orchestras and Conductors
Label: Favorit 431 107–2
Birgit Nilsson (1918-2005) was one of the greatest dramatic sopranos of the 20th century and her account of Brünnhilde on Solti’s Ring Cycle for Decca will always be regarded as a pinnacle of recorded art. Power, clarity, focus, stamina – she had it all. But agility? And lightness? Hmmm, well… As the Mozart arias here prove, she was unfortunately more of a tanker than a tug and not at her best in fast-moving passagework. You get a better idea of her greatness from the Wagner and Strauss excerpts: her Isolde is stunning, her Salome is searing and her Elisabeth (from Tannhäuser) is full of unbounded joy.