OP1563. DIDO AND AENEAS (Purcell), recorded 1952, w.Geraint Jones Cond. Mermaid Ensemble; Kirsten Flagstad, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Thomas Hemsley, Arda Mandikian, Sheila Rex, etc.; Kirsten Flagstad: Bach, Handel & Purcell Arias. (E.U.) Naxos 8.111264. Transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn. - 747313326426
"Flagstad gives a sympathetic and moving portrayal, her voice (still rich in late maturity) caressing her lines with melting beauty….Naxos appends an earlier and eloquent recording of Dido’s Lament plus two gems by Bach and Handel, all of which remind us how a romantic sensibility could still bring so much beauty and meaning to baroque music."
- John W. Barker, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Jan./Feb., 2008
"Flagstad was then 57, and the Belinda of that production, Maggie Teyte, a veteran of 64. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was brought in to take [Teyte’s] part in the recording. Flagstad sings with warmth and dignity, the lower part of her voice rich and pure as ever, the upper notes somewhat worn except when producing that wonderfully poised soft G."
- John Steane, GRAMOPHONE, Awards Special Issue, 2007
"The Dido of Mme Flagstad is a poignant and revealing achievement….In Dido’s music, her magnificent vocal control, beauty of tone, and variety of expressive colour are of sovereign interpretive power."
- THE LONDON TIMES, 10 Sept., 1951
“Pride of place in this column belongs to the greatest Wagnerian soprano of the 20th century (and probably the 19th as well), Kirsten Flagstad (1895-1962). Flagstad made her début at the age of 18 in her native Norway, but her voice developed slowly and she sang mostly light roles in operettas and musical comedies and only in Scandinavia until 1932. By then her voice had greatly deepened and her artistry matured, and her late entry onto the world's stages was spectacular. By the late 1930s, when I first heard her live at the Met, she was internationally famous, but her reputation suffered during WWII, when she was made suspect by her husband's association with the Norwegian Nazis, and it took some time before she was welcomed back to recital stages in the U.S. and elsewhere.
She was a shy, self-contained woman who looked and behaved like a simple hausfrau; she refused to be a prima donna and always insisted her greatest desire was to retire to Norway and spend her life with her husband and children. Watching her knitting placidly or playing solitaire in the wings before she went on stage, observers often wondered whether she really understood what she was doing out there as Brünnhilde or Isolde. The answer was in her performances and is on these discs, in which astounding vocal beauty is combined with great passion and musical insight in deeply felt and deeply moving performances. Hearing her powerful, pure, golden tones ring out effortlessly above the loudest orchestral sound is one of the most electrifying vocal experiences you will encounter. If her characterizations often seemed more stately and restrained than vivid, she made up for it by her musical intelligence, her impeccable intonation and diction, her perfect breath control (which enabled her to produce flawless legato lines), and the radiance, brilliance, ease, and intoxicating beauty of her singing.”
- Alexander J. Morin, Classical.Net