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Thread: Birgit Nilsson at 100: Big Gift to Myself From One of Her Ardent Admirers

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    Senior Member Barelytenor's Avatar
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    Red face Birgit Nilsson at 100: Big Gift to Myself From One of Her Ardent Admirers

    Well I woke up today and started surfing Amazon.com and decided that I needed to buy something to observe the 100th birthday of my favorite soprano, born in 1918 (the same year as my dear Mother, still living at 100 years and 2 months).

    So, here's what I treated myself to. Three things:

    Birgit Nilsson: A League of Her Own DVD Documentary

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Birgit Nilsson 100: An Homage
    Enormous hardcover book
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/39...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    And finally, the Mother of All CD/DVD Sets: La Nilsson
    79 CDs, 2 DVDs with nearly everything she recorded
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I'd be interested to hear from others who have ordered these items in any combination. Likes? Dislikes? Favorite bits?

    I still wish I could hear her singing The Queen of the Night to see if she really had high Fs (just like I'd like to hear if Leonard Warren could really pull off "Di quella pira" in the original key with high Cs).

    Kind regards,

    George

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    Senior Member Granate's Avatar
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    The Karajan's EMI Tristan und Isolde thread recently derailed in an interesting debate about Nilsson. You may enjoy the discussion there. No one could find a recording of Vickers' Tristan without Nilsson, so we started to chit-chat about her.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    And finally, the Mother of All CD/DVD Sets: La Nilsson
    79 CDs, 2 DVDs with nearly everything she recorded
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Well done, the big high quality career boxsets are very very nice but..........

    Most collectors already have many items in boxset so much duplication, and where do you store the oversize box which will not fit in normal CD shelf system? I usually have them on the floor next to normal shelf system.....So I usually resist temptation for large boxsets, I have toyed with the idea of buying this but have resisted so far

    Tidal streaming also has almost eliminated CD purchases for me except for some exceptional essential items or custom items that will never be on the service like Pristine XR remaster
    Last edited by DarkAngel; Aug-05-2018 at 16:57.

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    Very timely as I just received my "La Nilsson" book and started reading it immediately.
    I find it open and honest and she is not afraid to say how she feels about someone or something.
    What a gem of a lady.
    PS. I love the you-tube where she is tricked by a poor driver smashing his car into things. The look on her face....

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    Sydney Nova Scotia
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    Based upon the superb "La Nilsson" release I've placed a pre-order for this title - "Birgit Nilsson Edition - The Live Recordings"

    https://birgitnilssonprize.org/birgi...00/cd-edition/

    "Birgit Nilsson was a vocal phenomenon, ‘in a class of her own’. To celebrate her centenary, this special limited edition Box set brings together for the first time, a collection of outstanding live recordings that capture her unrivalled & uniquely powerful voice from the stage.

    Fully remastered from the original tapes, this attractive set of 31 CDs & accompanying book traces her phenomenal career & presents her landmark performances like never before.

    Highlights include Die Walküre from the Metropolitan Opera conducted by Herbert von Karajan, three performances of Tristan und Isolde from Bayreuth, Vienna & Orange, two performances of Elektra from Montreal & the Metropolitan Opera and the exciting Turandot with Franco Corelli and Anna Moffo, from the Metropolitan Opera conducted by Leopold Stokowski. The set also includes rarities from her concerts in Stockholm."

    Attachment 106460

    Storage solution that I use - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKoDqhJRf0I

    Relatively inexpensive, easy to set up and move, and holds up to a thousand pounds (which should just about hold the Bach 333 box set that is also pre-oredered but I should probably reinforce the floor anyway...)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leVs1daZU44

    Attachment 106464
    Last edited by Sydney Nova Scotia; Aug-07-2018 at 15:59.

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    Adding some further information in regards to the "La Nilsson" set -

    The promo video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8yjtgRlj_I

    and the all-important product description -

    "Product Description

    • Limited Edition 79-CD + 2-DVD covering all the major roles Nilsson performed – 27 full-length operas including 2 full Wagner ‘Ring’ cycles.

    • Birgit Nilsson’s complete Decca, Philips and Deutsche Grammophon recordings marking her 100th birthday and produced with the full support of the Birgit Nilsson Foundation

    • Handsome packaging includes CDs presented in wallets with a spine and with original sleeve art encased in an anti-scratch rigid box with magnetic-hinged lid.

    • Beyond the operas recorded for Decca, Philips and DG include 4 operas recorded for EMI (now Warner Classics): Aida, La Fanciulla del West, Turandot and Der Freischütz; as well as her earlier 1959 Turandot under Leinsdorf for RCA.

    • 200-page perfect bound book, in English and German, including: New essay – “Apotheosis Achieved” by Raymond McGill // A note by Decca producer Christopher Raeburn // Many unseen photographs from the Decca archive // Recording Index // Composer/Work Index"

    You may have noticed that there is nary a word about librettos within the product description... that's because there aren't any. Apparently they decided that the "magnetic-hinged lid" on the "anti-scratch rigid box" was more important...
    Last edited by Sydney Nova Scotia; Aug-07-2018 at 16:20.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Wow, that is really sweet packaging for live boxset by Sony.......

    Kinda surprised Nilsson is getting so much deluxe boxset treatment when Tebaldi, Sutherland etc are apparently not worth the time, effort or respect????

    Tebaldi gets generic "cube" with cheapest white paper sleeves, an insult to La Regina.....

    Last edited by DarkAngel; Aug-07-2018 at 16:34.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sydney Nova Scotia View Post
    Adding some further information in regards to the "La Nilsson" set -

    The promo video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8yjtgRlj_I

    and the all-important product description -

    "Product Description

    • Limited Edition 79-CD + 2-DVD covering all the major roles Nilsson performed – 27 full-length operas including 2 full Wagner ‘Ring’ cycles.

    • Birgit Nilsson’s complete Decca, Philips and Deutsche Grammophon recordings marking her 100th birthday and produced with the full support of the Birgit Nilsson Foundation

    • Handsome packaging includes CDs presented in wallets with a spine and with original sleeve art encased in an anti-scratch rigid box with magnetic-hinged lid.

    • Beyond the operas recorded for Decca, Philips and DG include 4 operas recorded for EMI (now Warner Classics): Aida, La Fanciulla del West, Turandot and Der Freischütz; as well as her earlier 1959 Turandot under Leinsdorf for RCA.

    • 200-page perfect bound book, in English and German, including: New essay – “Apotheosis Achieved” by Raymond McGill // A note by Decca producer Christopher Raeburn // Many unseen photographs from the Decca archive // Recording Index // Composer/Work Index"

    You may have noticed that there is nary a word about librettos within the product description... that's because there aren't any. Apparently they decided that the "magnetic-hinged lid" on the "anti-scratch rigid box" was more important...
    Ridiculous. There is a simple solution to libretti there days and that is to put them on a disc with the set. One just cannot understand the mentality of these people who produce these sets. I remember fondly the days when we used to get (with opera LPs) a magnificent book with libretto. These days if there is a libtretto one needs a magnifying glass to read it

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    I'm always amused about what Christa Ludwig said about Nilsson's relationship with Karajan: "As she had quite a mouth on her it was never going to be a relationship made in heaven!"

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    Senior Member Barelytenor's Avatar
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    Now that I have had the box set for a couple of days, I can comment further. The lack of libretti for the most part does not bother me, since I have other (some far older) CD versions of many of the operas in this set, and of course they have printed libretti. (But yeah, they should be there. It's her 100th birthday, and the prize is $1 million!) What bothers me more is the cardboard sleeves that are (wait for it ...) tighter than skin on a weenie around each CD, so that those of us with arthritic or merely clumsy hands (I qualify on both counts) are sure to tear some of them getting the CDs out of the sleeves. I've torn two of them already. I wondered how they were going to fit all these CDs into a box that was actually able to be lifted. That's the answer. It's smaller, and lighter (while still being hefty; after all, there ARE 79 CDs in the box, plus a book that's pretty much an extended track listing (with complete casts provided, and those are duplicated on those flimsy sleeves; thanks for that)).

    ON the Plus Side: As Forrest Gump might put it, this is a big, giant box of chocolates for Nilsson-lovers. There are three versions of Die Walküre, and mercifully none of them feature the white-voiced Wolfgang Windgassen. Two are with James King, and one is with Jon Vickers (and that one with George London as Wotan and Gré Brouwenstijn as Sieglinde!).

    There are rarities, such as a complete recording of Oberon with Nilsson singing Rezia, of course, and Die Frau Ohne Schatten with the Vienna Philharmonic, Nilsson singing Die Färberin and (again) James King and Leonie Rysanek as the Empress. Who would have thought that the La Fanciulla del West with Nilsson singing Minnie would be my first recording of that opera? (But it's a really, really long way from a farm in Sweden to a "mining camp at the foot of the 'Cloudy Mountains,' California," nicht?)

    La Nilsson was not noted for her Mozart interpretations, but the Don Giovanni here features her as Donna Anna, Cesare Siepi as an elegant, seductive lecher, Cesare Valletti as Ottavio, and no less than Leontyne Price as a young Donna Elvira. There is a second Don Giovanni with Fischer-Dieskau as the Don (hmmm), Nilsson singing Elvira, Martina Arroyo as Donna Anna, Reri Grist as Zerlina (much better than the screechy Eugenia Ratti on the Siepi DG) and Martti Talvela as the Commendatore (or, Il Commendatoreador if you're listening to the PDQ Bach The Stoned Guest takeoff). And the Tosca with Franco Corelli opposite her gives you a pretty good idea of why there might have been a rivalry between them, as he is the only tenor who could keep up with her in common repertoire in the high-note department.

    There's the Böhm Götterdämmerung from Bayreuth, no longer available as a single set. Nilsson's various turns in other Puccini, Verdi, and Beethoven works are quite well-represented, and you can hear her singing Swedish songs and "I Could Have Danced All Night," if that's your thing.

    I could go on ... and I suppose I have ... but there are bound to be many more delights that surface as I continue to gorge on musical chocolates. I'll see you all again in a couple of months. Bring insulin.

    Kind regards,

    George
    Last edited by Barelytenor; Aug-10-2018 at 18:19.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barelytenor View Post
    There's the Böhm Götterdämmerung from Bayreuth, no longer available as a single set.
    Did they finally get the third act onto its own CD instead of dividing it for no apparent reason (it's only 74 minutes)?

    Thanks for the review. Alas, it's a lot more Nilsson than I need or want....

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    Senior Member Barelytenor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    Did they finally get the third act onto its own CD instead of dividing it for no apparent reason (it's only 74 minutes)?

    Thanks for the review. Alas, it's a lot more Nilsson than I need or want....
    Yep. It's four CDs, and CD4 is Act III in its entirety.

    Kind regards,

    George

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    George:
    I recently finished listening to and watching La Nilsson. It's beyond excellent!
    My faves:
    The Bohm Ring
    Land of the Midnight Sun (songs by Grieg, Sibelius and Rangstrom)
    Extracts from Parsifal
    Elektra both the Solti cd and the Met dvd.

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