Richard Strauss’ Elektra was a role that Birgit Nilsson had been warned about early on. One said that ”whoever attempts such a voice-murdering role as Elektra will shorten their career by many years”.


Metropolitan Opera Archives

Birgit sang her first Elektra at the Royal Swedish Opera in 1965. She waited a long time before attempting the role, but decided at last that the rumors were exaggerated. It was of course strenuous since Elektra never leaves the stage, but Birgit felt that the role suited her voice perfectly. Elektra quickly became one of her favorite roles and she sang it at most of the large opera stages of the world. The audiences love Birgit’s Elektra. One time in Vienna in 1975 she made 72 curtain calls! ”Some of the foremost Elektra performances, musically speaking, that I have taken part in were at Covent Garden with Georg Solti conducting. They remain some of the absolute highlights of my career. Both audience and singers alike left there completely thrilled”, said Birgit Nilsson in My Memoirs in Pictures, 1977. Birgit Nilsson’s final opera performance ever was as Elektra, in Frankfurt 1982.