Biography of Famous Soprano Opera Singer Kirsten Flagstad Part 2

About the famous Norwegian soprano opera singer Kirsten Flagsted, his history and biography.

Kirsten Flagstad (1895-1962).

In 1935, following a successful series of U.S. concerts, Flagstad appeared in a joint Chicago recital with tenor Lauritz Melchior, giving an all-Wagnerian program. The evening was a failure, but it did not prevent the 2 from teaming together with resounding success for years in Tristan and Isolde. The association continued smoothly until April of 1937, when tactless complaints made by Flagstad about "phony promotions"--like having to be photographed with her colleagues--were passed on to Melchior. The tenor, having posed with her that same day at a railroad station in Rochester, N.Y., took exception. The famous Flagstad-Melchior feud grew from the incident, lasting through W.W. II.

With the outbreak of W.W. II hostilities, Henry Johansen returned to Norway where he became involved in lumber deals with the Nazis. His business activities led to charges of collaboration and his arrest immediately after the war, but he died in prison before he could be tried. Flagstad, torn between remaining in the U.S. during the war or joining her husband, also elected to go home. The unfortunate choice gave rise to postwar charges of collaboration against her as well. Her attempts at a U.S. comeback in the late 1940s were marred by violent anti-Flagstad demonstrations wherever she appeared. Eventually the furor died down, weakened by lack of direct evidence. She was welcomed back to the Metropolitan with Tristan on January 22, 1951. On that night, she was given one of the greatest ovations ever heard.

Slightly over one year later, on April 1, 1952, she gave her farewell performance in Alcestis and departed to live permanently in Norway. She was appointed as director of the Norwegian State Opera in February, 1953, a final refutation by fellow Norwegians of the wartime charges. Flagstad busied herself by giving recitals in the 1950s, but her health began to fail. And on December 4, 1962, she died. Ten days later she was laid to rest in a funeral that was attended by His Majesty King Olaf and other notables who had come from all corners of the world to honor the fallen Valkyrie.

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