Just one film of Kirsten on stage…
The Big Broadcast of 1938, a star-studded mix of music and comedy, was Bob Hope’s film début. It was also to be Kirsten Flagstad’s first and last live recording.
The producers, Paramount Pictures, asked her to sing Brünhilde’s war cry from Richard Wagner’s opera Die Walküre. Initially she was very much against this, but eventually allowed herself to be prevailed upon. The producers wanted to put her on a high wooden horse which was to be propelled forwards whilst a powerful wind turbine would make her long hair flail behind her. They wanted her to have a spear in one hand, a shield in the other. And to complete the picture, she was supposed to deliver her famous war cry.
It was ridiculous, she refused. So instead of the wooden horse, she was placed on a little “hilltop”. They had to make eleven takes of the scene before Kirsten was happy. The recording was done in New York. The whole film team came over from Hollywood, and Kirsten avowed that she would never again go along with the likes of this. And that’s why this is the only live recording we have of Kirsten on stage, which you can now enjoy in the Audio-Visual room.
Here in the Metropolitan room you can see the costumes she wore in films, photos of the recordings, posters and programmes from The Met, photos of her first arrival in the US in 1934, her return to Norway after the war, and her final concert at The Met in 1952.
In the low showcases there is a collection of items that we hope will appeal to children: dolls and such like portraying Kirsten Flagstad in some of Wagner’s operatic figures, paper serviettes, copies of Kirsten’s first embroideries and much, much more.