And the winner of the big Birgit box is….

And the winner of the big Birgit box is….


norman lebrecht

May 17, 2018

More than two dozen readers got the right answers to our brainbox Birgit Nilsson quiz.

All can now be revealed:


1 When did Birgit Nilsson (BN) marry Bertil Niklasson?
20 September 1948

2 Which country featured BN as Turandot on a postage stamp?

3 What is the earliest extant recording of BN?
Berwald: Estrella de Soria – Estrella’s aria / April 1947 with Stockholm RO / Frykberg

4 Which conductor did BN infamously have a disagreement with over the lighting design during a rehearsal of Wagner’s Ring?<
Herbert von Karajan

5 With the exception of three roles BN first performed all of her roles in Stockholm (and usually in Swedish). What are the roles and where did she perform them?

Amelia (Ballo in maschera), 1958 Vienna; Leonore (Fidelio), 1953 Bad Hersfeld, Germany; Elettra (Idomeneo), 1951 Glyndebourne

6 BN made her MET debut 18 December 1959 as Isolde. The second performance had three different Tristans – who were they?

Karl Liebl, Ramon Vinay, Alberto da Costa

7 According to opera gossip columns, which famous tenor decided to exact revenge by biting Birgit instead of kissing her during their love scene in the third act of Turandot after losing a battle of the high Cs with Birgit in the previous act?
Franco Corelli

8 What was the name of BN’s beloved St. Bernard?

And the winner…. shake the hat….. is….

Peter Steiner on London N6……

A box will be on its way to you soon.


UPDATE: The winner got one answer wrong. We’re having a reshuffle.


Watch this spot.


The winner is: Alain Ober of New York City.




  • steven holloway says:

    Nicaragua and two other countries, if, as I must think, a picture of Nilsson costumed and made-up as Turandot qualifies.

  • steven holloway says:

    Congratulations to Mr. Ober…and to Mr. Steiner, or was he summarily dethroned? But in any case, I’m curious as to which question caused the error of both Peter Steiner and the quizmaster. RE Number 2, Nicaragua is correct, for one, but so too is Sweden (one need go no further than Wikipedia for that), plus the Central African Republic. One may naturally wonder which of these — or all, of course — was deemed correct by the adjudicator. It wasn’t the easiest of the questions posed, but it was hardly difficult.

  • Richard Craig says:

    Congratulations to the most lucky of winners

  • Uffe Lindum says:

    Birgit Nilsson told me directly that she was married on Sept. 10th!