The Incomparable Birgit Nilsson (17 May 1918 – 25 December 2005)
'Laserlike' is a term that has been regularly used when describing the incredible artistry of Birgit Nilsson. Her precision, pitch and the steely quality of her voice made her nigh on perfect as a Wagnerian singer. She was however, so much more than that.
La Nilsson remains to this day one of my most treasured singers. The photos above are originals I purchased last year as a tribute, they come from Covent Garden during the late 50's, though I am unsure as to what role they are portraits of. Isolde and Brunnhilde immediately spring to mind, Brunnhilde in particular. (Edit...after a bit more research these appear to be from her CG debut as Brunnhilde, 1957)
There is an excellent biography of La Nilsson on Wikipedia that covers many different aspects of her life, including her legendary humour, it's worth a read, as is her official website with many photographs and examples of her artistry, plus interviews and much else. The rich heritage this great singer left behind will forever see her remembered in the Operatic Pantheon.