From Development server
15 May 2018

Soprano Nina Stemme Named as the Recipient of the $1 Million Birgit Nilsson Prize 

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SWEDISH SOPRANO NINA STEMME has been named as the recipient of the 2018 Birgit Nilsson Prize.  

The award, which carries a $1 million prize, making it the largest prize given in classical music and opera, was announced today by the Birgit Nilsson Foundation president Rutbert Reisch. Stemme is just the fourth recipient of the award since it was inaugurated in 2009 and a ceremony honoring the soprano will take place on October 11, 2018 at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm, Sweden: King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden will be in attendance and His Majesty will formally present the prize to Stemme. The ceremony will also feature the Royal Swedish Opera Orchestra, conducted by Evan Rogister, performing with bass-baritone Bryn Terfel and soprano Christina Nilsson.

“It is a great honor to be recognized for my work, but it is even greater to be recognized in my home country by a world-renowned organization that bears the name and carries the legacy of a legend … my idol Birgit Nilsson,” Stemme said in a statement issued today by the Nilsson Foundation. “As this is her centenary, receiving this award becomes a most humbling and extraordinary honor. I am very grateful to be connected with this great lady and to be in the company of Maestro Domingo, Maestro Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic, all of whom have previously received this extraordinary award.”

At the press conference announcing the prize, it was also divulged that, beginning in 2019, care for the Nilsson Foundation—which was established following the soprano's death in 2005 exclusively to support this Prize—would be transferred to the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm. 

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Birgit Nilsson and Nina Stemme in 1996
Photo Courtesy of the Birgit Nilsson Foundation
 

The Birgit Nilsson Prize is bestowed every two to three years to a currently active singer, conductor or institution determined to have made a major contribution to the fields of opera/concert performance by an international panel of classical music and opera professionals from countries where Nilsson sang frequently during her august career. Birgit Nilsson personally chose the inaugural recipient of the prize, Plácido Domingo, who received the first award in 2009; conductor Riccardo Muti became the second recipient of the Nilsson Prize in 2011 and the Vienna Philharmonic became the third recipient in 2014. 

The conferring of the 2018 Nilsson Prize will also kick off a year-long celebration of Birgit Nilsson’s centenary that is to include the publication of a 712-page commemorative book, Birgit Nilsson 100: An Homage; the release of a ninety-minute documentary about Nilsson’s career and life, Birgit Nilsson: A League of Her Own; and the release of a thirty-one CD set of previously unreleased live recordings of complete works featuring the soprano, including recordings Bluebeard’s Castle, Fidelio, Turandot, Salome, Elektra, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde and Die Walküre. spacer 

More information can be found at BirgitNilssonPrize.org 

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