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Ritorna Vincitor! - The Legendary Birgit Nilsson


Release Date: 05/13/2003 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 000018102   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiGiacomo PucciniRichard WagnerRichard Strauss,   ... 
Performer:  Birgit NilssonVirgilio CarbonariWalter BerryGerhard Stolze
Conductor:  John PritchardArgeo QuadriThomas SchippersLorin Maazel,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden OrchestraSanta Cecilia Academy Rome OrchestraVienna Philharmonic Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 36 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This two-CD set is a fine way to appraise the remarkable voice and talents of Birgit Nilsson, the dramatic/Wagnerian soprano the likes of whom we may not see again. With the exception of two major roles--Leonore in Fidelio and Turandot (and her work in Mozart, which was less distinguished)--this selection covers just about all of her triumphs. From her complete recordings of the operas we get the whole final scene from Salome, rock-solid, fearless, and wonderfully corrupt; Elektra's opening monolog, also solid and more nuanced than she was often given credit for; nine epic minutes of the Immolation Scene; Lady Macbeth's first-act scena, thrilling in its intensity with high notes blazing, albeit with some smudged coloratura; and "Vissi Read more d'arte", as sensitively as she ever sang it.


You can convincingly argue that even in the heaviest Italian roles she wasn't quite right, but here "Ritorna vincitor" (from a 1963 recital) is thrilling and utterly believable--but then along comes an undercharacterized "O don fatale", with weakish low notes (but blazing high ones) and a "Pace, pace mio Dio" that while studious and intelligent contains not-quite-Italianate pianissimos and a tone quality that just seems wrong. The Wesendonk Lieder are better than I remembered, although they're slightly lacking in warmth, a "Liebestod" from 1959 under Hans Knappertsbusch is spectacular, and "Dich teure Halle" is exultant.


Songs by Sibelius, Grieg, and Rangström are idiomatic, well-thought out, and gripping, and a snippet from Die Frau ohne Schatten, recorded in 1985 (none of the other selections date from after 1972), shows some aging, but not much--Nilsson remained a phenomenon until the end. And speaking of the end, this collection closes with "I could have danced all night", with a high-C that can cause brain damage. If you don't own the complete recordings of Nilsson's major roles and don't plan to--and despite the fact that she never was a truly persuasive Italian soprano--make sure you buy this. [6/13/2003]
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Aida: Ritorna vincitor! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  John Pritchard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
2.
Don Carlos: O don fatale by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Argeo Quadri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
3.
La forza del destino: Pace, pace, mio Dio by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Argeo Quadri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862/1869; Italy 
4.
Macbeth: Vieni, t'affretta! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Virgilio Carbonari (Baritone), Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847/1865; Italy 
Notes: This selection begins with "Nel di della vittoria io le incontrai..." 
5.
Tosca: Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
6.
Lohengrin: Einsam in trüben Tagen "Elsa's dream" by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Edward Downes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
7.
Götterdämmerung: Immolation by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Germany 
8.
Elektra, Op. 58: Allein! Weh', ganz allein! by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906-1908; Germany 
9.
Die Frau ohne Schatten, Op. 65: Ein handwerk verstehst du sicher nicht by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano), Walter Berry (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1914-1918; Germany 
10.
Salome, Op. 54: Ah! Du wolltest mich nicht deinen Mund küssen lassen by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano), Gerhard Stolze (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Germany 
Notes: This selection continues with "...Ah! Ich habe deinen Mund geküsst, Jochanaan..." 
11.
Tannhäuser: Dich, teure Halle by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Edward Downes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845/1861; Germany 
12.
Tristan und Isolde: Mild und leise "Liebestod" by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Germany 
13.
Wesendonck Lieder by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1858; Germany 
14.
Songs (5), Op. 37: no 4, Was it a dream? by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bertil Bokstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Finland 
15.
Songs (5), Op. 37: no 5, Maiden's tryst by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bertil Bokstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901; Finland 
16.
Songs (6), Op. 36: no 1, Black roses by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bertil Bokstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; Finland 
17.
Songs (6), Op. 36: no 4, Sigh, sedges, sigh by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bertil Bokstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; Finland 
18.
Songs (6), Op. 36: no 6, The diamond on the March snow by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bertil Bokstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; Finland 
19.
Songs (5), Op. 38: no 1, Autumn evening by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bertil Bokstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; Finland 
20.
Runeberg Songs (7), Op. 13: no 4, Spring is flying by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bertil Bokstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Finland 
21.
Songs (6), Op. 25: no 2, A swan by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bertil Bokstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Norway 
22.
Romances (6), Op. 39: no 1, From Monte Pincio by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bertil Bokstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1870; Norway 
23.
Melodies (12), Op. 33: no 2, Spring by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bertil Bokstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Norway 
24.
Melodi by Ture Rangström
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bertil Bokstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; Sweden 
25.
The Dark Blossom: no 2, Supplication to night by Ture Rangström
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bertil Bokstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924 
26.
Sköldmön by Ture Rangström
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bertil Bokstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; Sweden 
27.
En gammal dansrytm by Ture Rangström
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bertil Bokstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; Sweden 
28.
My Fair Lady: I could have danced all night by Frederick Loewe
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; USA 

Sound Samples

Aida / Act 1: "Ritorna vincitor!"
Don Carlo / Act 4: "O don fatale"
La forza del destino / Act 4: Pace, pace, mio Dio
Macbeth / Act 1: Nel di della vittoria io le incontrai
Tosca / Act 2: "Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore"
Lohengrin / Act 1: "Einsam in trüben Tagen"
Götterdämmerung / Dritter Aufzug: "Starke Scheite schichtet mir dort"
Elektra, Op.58: "Allein! Weh, ganz allein."
Die Frau ohne Schatten, Op.65 / Act 2: "Ein Handwerk verstehst du sicher nicht" / "Um Nahrung für mich gräme dich nicht!"
Salome, Op.54 / Scene 4: Ah! Du wollest mich nicht..Ich habe deinen Mund gekußt
Tannhäuser / Act 2: "Dich, teure Halle, grüß ich wieder"
Tristan und Isolde / Act 3: "Mild und leise wie er lächelt" (Isoldes Liebestod)
Wesendonk Lieder - Five Poems for Female Voice: Der Engel
Wesendonk Lieder - Five Poems for Female Voice: Stehe still
Wesendonk Lieder - Five Poems for Female Voice: Im Treibhaus
Wesendonk Lieder - Five Poems for Female Voice: Schmerzen
Wesendonk Lieder - Five Poems for Female Voice: Träume
Var det en drom? (Was it a dream?), Op.37, No.4 - Orch. Jalas
Flickan kom ifran sin äsklings möte (The Tryst), Op.37, No.5
Svarta Rosor, Op.36, No.1
Säv, säv, susa, Op.36, No.4
Diamanten på Marssnön (Diamond in the snow), Op.36, No.6
Höstkväll, Op.38, No.1
Våren flyktar hastigt, Op.13, No.4
En Svane (A Swan), Op.25, No.2
Fra Monte Pincio (From Monte Pincio), Op.39, No.1
Våren (Last Spring), Op.33, No.2
Melodi ("Bara du går öfver markerna")
Bön till natten ("Slut är dagens")
Sköldmön
En Gammal Dansrytm
I Could Have Danced All Night ("My Fair Lady")

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