Birgit Nilsson: The gift that keeps on giving

Birgit Nilsson: The gift that keeps on giving


norman lebrecht

May 17, 2023

Seventeen years after her death, the great Swedish Wagnerian is still dispensing largesse around the music world>

The 2023 Birgit Nilsson Stipendium, announced today, is awarded to the Swedish mezzo-soprano Ida Ränzlöv. She will receive 200.000 Swedish Crowns (18.000 Euros) and a recital during this summer’s Birgit Nilsson Days.

“I feel great joy and gratitude for this encouragement and support at the beginning of my career” says Ida Ränzlöv. “You can prepare some roles on your own, but if you want to see a Wagner specialist or work with a Czech coach for a year, you need support. So in terms of furthering my career, this is a gift from above.”


  • A.L. says:

    And who, pray tell, is Ida Ränzlöv? First time I’ve heard her name.

    • Una says:

      May not be the last. Money is not always for the best established singer in these competitions but for those far less established but with great promise who may benefit the most from the money and opportunity, hence establishing a career.

    • Critic says:

      My reaction too — never heard of her. But I just went on YouTube. She sounds good!


    Congratulations to Ida!
    I worked with her at Glyndebourne a few summers back. She is a very gifted young lady and a terrific singer.

    Well done Ida and the Nilsson committee.

  • Nick2 says:

    Nilsson’s desire to encourage and provide small bursaries for young singers is admirable. What is very sad is that she could have encouraged so many more young artists if she had not spoiled her legacy with the triennial award of $1 million to established and already mega-rich artists like Domingo, Muti, Yo-Yo Ma and the Vienna Philharmonic. I assume some winners then donated some of those funds to other more needy musical causes. But it is surely increasingly difficult to spin such a misguided part of Nilsson’s legacy.

  • Heifetz63 says:

    Strange, you’ve never heard of Google… Do some research. In general, why should your ignorance be a benchmark for SD readers? Ignorance is not a quality. Ida Ränzlöv is currently a member of the Staatsoper Stuttgart and not only has a great, intense, juicy mezzo-soprano voice, but is also a wonderful actress. I admired her in many performances in Stuttgart, as Hänsel, Wawara in “Katia Kabanova”, as the 2nd Norn in “Götterdämmerung” and Wellgunde in “Rheingold”. She’s got enormous talent! We will hear from her.