With the world as her workplace

Birgit Nilsson worked hard during her time as a world artist. Travel, rehearsals, performances, receptions and galas were a part of everyday life. Invitational performances suceeded each other and she had several different roles every year. Birgit Nilsson was a sought-after soloist both on the opera stage as well as in concert halls.

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Birgit in front of the cathedral in Strasbourg. Private photo.

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Birgit in front of the poster for Tristan and Isolde outside Metropolitan. Metropolitan Opera Archives.

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Brigit’s famous make-up bag, that she brought with her on all her travels around the world. Private photo.

Birgit travelled all over the world and sang in both the largest and smaller opera houses. Her flights went everywhere from Munich, Florence and Chicago, to Moscow, Tokyo and Sydney. Nomadic life was hectic and full of new impressions. But it also meant repetitive routines with hotel rooms, packing and moving on. Despite this, Birgit enjoyed being able to sing, travel and experience. ”It never gets commonplace. Life pulsates in a rapid tempo. You meet new people all the time, get new impressions and have new experiences. When singing before an appreciative audience and feeling their enthusiasm, then no efforts have been too great.” – Birgit Nilsson, 1967. Birgit was a frequently returning guest at the opera houses in Stockholm, Bayreuth, London, New York, Milan and Vienna. And in every place she felt a special relationship with both the building and the audience.

Debut in Bayreuth, 1953

Birgit Nilsson’s first performance in Bayreuth Germany was with a concert in 1953. She sang the soprano solo of Beethoven’s ninth symphony. The following year she gave her first opera performance there. Read more

Debut in Vienna, 1954

Birgit Nilsson’s first performance in Vienna, Austria was in 1954. She then sang there at intervals for more than 25 years and performed there over 200 times. Read more

Debut at the Teatro Colón, 1955

Birgit Nilsson arrived in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires for the first time in 1955. It was shortly before Juan Perón was overthrown. Birgit was to sing five Isolde performances at the stately Teatro Colón.Read more

Debut at Covent Garden, 1957

In 1957 Birgit made her debut at Covent Garden in London as Brünnhilde in Nibelungenlied, for which she received fine reviews. Read more

Debut at La Scala, 1958

Birgit Nilsson made her debut at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan as Brünnhilde in Die Walküre 1958. But her definitive breakthrough was in December that year when she opened the 370th season with Turandot. Read more

Debut at the Metropolitan, 1959

1959 was a landmark in Birgit Nilsson’s career. On the 18th of December she made her debut as Isolde at the world-famous opera in New York. Read more