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Subject: Nilsson's Lady Macbeth (was Re: Birgit Nilsson Great Streaming Documentary)
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Wed, 10 Jan 2018 22:38:27 -0500

text/plain (38 lines)

Bob Rideout wrote:

"Nilsson's Lady Macbeth was very well sung and acted. I had
no expectations and was most pleasantly surprised. She was
able to convince me that she knew what the role was all
about, and she negotiated the many tricky vocal passages
with real conviction."

Nilsson was sick for the broadcast the year the Met presented her in Macbeth.  (Irene Dalis 
substituted.)  But there is an in-house recording in very good sound of Nilsson singing Lady 
Macbeth at the Met in 1964 (from the performance during the Met's extended World's Fair 
season).  She is really excellent, very dramatic and handles the coloratura well.  While there 
is plenty of the usual impact to her sound, I get the feeling that she was reining things in a 
bit to keep her voice in scale with the music and the style.  (That is not a criticism but 
rather praise for her judgment and musicality.)  The Sleepwalking Scene is gripping, and 
she even manages the high D-flat with Verdi's prescribed "fil di voce," an amazing feat for 
such a large voice. 

Lady Macbeth was actually Nilsson's first great success of her career, in Stockholm in 1947.  
As far as I know she did not sing it again until the Met's 1963-64 season and never again 
thereafter.  (If anyone has more performance history that I do, please let us know.)  She 
also recorded the role for Decca but I have not heard it in quite a while and so can't 
comment on it.  Maybe someone else can.  


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