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Birgit Nilsson - Opera Arias - Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, Etc


Release Date: 11/14/2000 
Label:  Testament   Catalog #: 1200   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartLudwig van BeethovenRichard WagnerGiuseppe Verdi,   ... 
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson
Conductor:  Heinz WallbergLeopold Ludwig
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: n/a 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This collection of arias was recorded in 1957 and 1958, when Birgit Nilsson was just coming to prominence as one of the world's leading sopranos. The voice was, needless to say, at its freshest; indeed, if we were to mark her performances here, Beckmesser-like, there would be very few bones of contention. Still, not all of it is ideal, although all of it is interesting. Leopold Ludwig reigns over the arias from Verdi's Ballo and Aida (two each), and together with Nilsson they present scrupulous readings. Amelia sounds properly wild and sad, respectively, and while at any volume the high notes do not bother her--and her legato is perfectly learned--both arias still manage to miss a certain morbidezza. Aida's "Ritorna vincitor" is Read more excellent and in "O patria mia" Nilsson does the almost-impossible--she rises to the exposed high C quietly, as marked. But her soft singing is not a Verdian sound; it's not lush, like Milanov's or Price's. Yes, I'm quibbling, but I miss that Italianate cushion.

The only Wagner selection, the Liebestod, is wonderful, with the ultimate soft F-sharp a perfect ethereal note to end on. Leopold Ludwig's slowish tempo, however, stops the performance from being a dazzler. The other German selections, led by Heinz Wallberg, find Nilsson more at home than in Verdi. Donna Anna's "Or sai chi l'onore" is hurled out with absolute security and vengeance in mind, Leonora's aria from Fidelio is stunning in its accuracy and intensity (and the same can be said for the same composer's "Ah, perfido!"), Agathe's "Leise leise" from Freischütz is nice and thoughtful, and best of all is "Ozean zu Ungeheuer", which requires just the super-human strength and rock-solid top notes (with a high C that actually sounds easy) that Nilsson was famous for. So, a mixed bag--but to be sure, we are in the face of greatness.

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Don Giovanni, K 527: Or sai chi l'onore by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Prague, Czech Republ 
2.
Fidelio, Op. 72: Abscheulicher!...Komm, Hoffnung by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
3.
Ah, Perfido!, Op. 65 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795-1796; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Tristan und Isolde: Mild und leise "Liebestod" by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Leopold Ludwig
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Germany 
5.
Un ballo in maschera: Ecco l'orrido campo...Ma dall' arido stelo divulsa by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Italy 
6.
La forza del destino: Pace, pace, mio Dio by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862/1869; Italy 
7.
Aida: O patria mia by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Notes: This selection begins with "Qui Radames verrà..." 
8.
Aida: Ritorna vincitor! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
9.
Oberon, J 306: Ozean! du Ungeheuer by Carl Maria von Weber
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825-1826; Dresden, Germany 
10.
Der Freischütz, J 277: Wie nahte mir der Schlummer by Carl Maria von Weber
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817-1821; Dresden, Germany 
Notes: This selection concludes with "Leise, leise." 

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