One of the most famous dramatic sopranos of her day, Astrid Varnay was highly regarded and championed by all the great conductors of the time. The recordings on this 10-CD collection all come from the 1950s and present her at the peak of her powers. They include some of her greatest performances in the operas of Wagner, Verdi, Richard Strauss, and Beethoven.
Astrid Varnay began her European career at Bayreuth in 1951. Although still only 30, there had already been ten successful years in the USA. Her triumphant debut took place on the stage of the New York Metropolitan Opera. The young singer was preparing her first stage role, Elsa in 'Lohengrin' when Erich Leinsdorf engaged her to take the place of Lotte Lehmann, who through illness had cancelled her appearance as Sieglinde in a 'Walküre' performance on 6 December 1941. A few days later, for the second performance, Helen Traubel (Brünnhilde) was indisposed and Astrid Varnay took on this formidable role at short notice. This double debut is still today a unique chapter in the history of the 'Met'.
This comprehensive anthology features excerpts from Die Walküre, Siegfried, Götterdämmerung, Der Fliegende Holländer, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Parsifal, Tristan und Isolde, Electra, Salome, Der Rosenkavalier, Fidelio, Macbeth, Aida, Il Trovatore, Don Carlos, A Masked Ball, The Force of Destiny, La Gioconda, Thaïs, Cavalleria Rusticana and other operas.