In Birgit Nilsson’s centenary year, fellow Swede Nina Stemme has been announced as the recipient of the prestigious 2018 Birgit Nilsson Prize. A $1 million gift, it is the richest award in both classical music and opera, with the Prize established on a significant endowment left by the legendary Nilsson upon her death in 2005.

Birgit Nilsson and Nina Stemme, 1996. Photo © Birgit Nilsson Foundation

One of today’s most sought-after dramatic sopranos and long recognised as this generation’s Nilsson, Stemme said she was deeply honoured to be receiving the Prize. “It is a great honour to be recognized for my work, but it is even greater to be recognized in my home country by a world-renowned organization that bears the name and carries the legacy of a legend… my idol Birgit Nilsson. As this is her centenary, receiving this award becomes a most humbling and extraordinary honour. I am very grateful to be connected with this great lady and to be in the company of Maestro Domingo, Maestro Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic, all of whom have previously received this extraordinary award.”