From Development server
11 February 2008

Inga Nielsen, 61, Danish Soprano Who Found Acclaim as Konstanze and Salome, Has Died

Soprano Inga Nielsen
Holbaek, Denmark, June 2, 1946 - Copenhagen, February 11, 2008

Danish soprano Inga Nielsen - who gained international notice as Konstanze in high-profile performances of Die Entführung aus dem Serail under the baton of George Solti before finding acclaim in the operas of Richard Strauss, and, later, modernist works by Hindemith, Weill and Schoenberg - has died in Copenhagen at the age of 61. Hospital sources and Nielsen's family reported the cause of death as cancer.

Nielsen began singing as a child, releasing an album of Danish Christmas music at the age of nine. Formal studies in Vienna, Stuttgart and Budapest followed, with the soprano's professional career commencing in 1971 when she sang in a Gelsenkirchen production of Karl Millöcker's operetta Der Bettelstudent. Nielsen would go on to sing in a number of German and Swiss opera houses before becoming a fest artist at the Frankfurt Opera in 1975. She remained on the roster of the German company until 1980 when she became a freelance artist. Nielsen's career took her to European venues that included La Scala, Vienna Staatsoper and Covent Garden, and festivals such as Bayreuth, the Salzburg Festival, Aix-en-Provence, New York's Mostly Mozart and the Edinburgh festival.

Nielsen continued to perform a variety of roles with companies throughout Europe and America, but it was as Konstanze - a role she sang in new Entführung productions at the Salzburg Festival and at Covent Garden, both led by George Solti - for which she received plaudits. The soprano also went on to work with conductors that included Herbert von Karajan and Giuseppe Sinopoli.

Throughout the '90s and early 2000s, Nielsen assumed roles that increasingly tested her dramatic and musical mettle. She sang her first Salome in Zurich in 1993 - the role would become something of a touchstone; in 1995 she sang the role of Ursula in the Royal Opera staging of Hindemith's Mathis der Maler; 2000 found her as Jenny in Weill's Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny; and Nielsen sang the Woman in Schoenberg's Erwartung at the Royal Opera in 2002.

More information can be found at the International Herald Tribune, the Guardian, and the AFP.

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