Wagnerian Heroines


A Century of great Isoldes and Brünnhildes


by Kirsten Liese



English by Charles Scribner, New York


Foreword by Christian Thielemann


»Each and every heroine who did and still does justice to the great Wagnerian soprano roles deserves this appraisal, a homage based on merit alone. The biographies assembled in this book prove how much time and work is required for a voice to develop its splendor.«


Isolde and Brünnhilde are endlessly fascinating personalities and, like most Wagnerian heroines, are equally powerful in their love. This book pays homage to thirteen outstanding interpreters of these roles from different eras, all of whom left their imprint of high artistic standards on the Bayreuth festival.

Kirsten Liese portrays each soprano individually through text and images which include unpublished photos from private archives: Frida Leider, Kirsten Flagstad, Martha Mödl, Astrid Varnay, Birgit Nilsson, Ludmila Dvořákova, Anja Silja, Catarina Ligendza, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Hildegard Behrens, Deborah Polaski, Waltraud Meier und Nina Stemme; the living artists all collaborated exclusively with the author on their chapters.


2nd Edition 2021, revised and updated

146 pages, 978-3-945961-23-0,  17 x 22 cm, Brochure

with detailed appendix and 28 b/w-photos, some of them have not been published

22,00 €

  • 3 - 5 Tage Lieferzeit1



KIRSTEN LIESE, born in Berlin in 1964, studied music education and German philology, followed by an apprenticeship at a daily newspaper and further studies in broadcasting.

Since 1994 she has worked as an independent journalist and author specialising in opera, concerts, and cinema for the German broadcast network ARD (Deutschlandfunk, WDR, SWR, BR, MDR), newspapers (Berliner Morgenpost, Rhein Neckar-Zeitung, Nürnberger Nachrichten), magazines (Das Orchester) and online publications (BR Online, Kinofenster). She also edits sheet music for Bärenreiter in Kassel and Doblinger in Vienna.

In 2007 her book Elisabeth Schwarzkopf: From Flower Maiden to Marschallin was published in Germany and Austria, followed two years later by a revised American/UK edition (Amadeus Press, New York).