Music: New Flagstad?

When Kirsten Flagstad in 1935 made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Wagner's Die Walkuere, the audience cheered and the press groped for comparisons with "the irrecoverable magic" of Swedish-born Soprano Olive Fremstad.* Last week another Swedish Wagnerian soprano strode the Met's stage, and this time the comparison was to the "incomparable" Flagstad herself. The debutante: 41-year-old Birgit Nilsson, whose appearance in a new production of Tristan und Isolde touched off the kind of debut furor the Met's Wagnerians have not witnessed in a quarter-century.

A solid (5 ft. 8 in., 150 lbs.) and...

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