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.

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Birgit outside the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Private photo.

After two performances, Birgit and her husband Bertil landed in the middle of the revolution. Everything closed and there was talk of evacuation. One night they awoke from the sound of explosions and the entire hotel shook. In the morning they learned that the Peronist headquarters in the next block had been destroyed through mortar rounds. Perón himself had fled in the night. The following day, calm was restored and several days later Birgit’s performances could continue. The following year Birgit returned to Argentina, despite having promised herself never again to set foot in that revolutionary country. During her stay at the Teatro Colón she gained many new fans and friends for life. Birgit Nilsson swept even the Argentinians away. ”When the Buenos Aires audience has truly embraced a singer, then their admiration is not only passionate, it can be wild and even reckless. At curtain calls there could be a virtual rain of flowers, sometimes I waded in flowers up to my knees”, wrote Birgit in her memoirs in 1995.