Varnay, Astrid

BORN 25 Apr 1918, Stockholm - DIED 4 Sep 2006, München, Bayern
BIRTH NAME Varnay, Ibolyka Astrid Maria
GRAVE LOCATION München, Bayern: Friedhof am Perlacher Forst, Stadelheimer Straße, Obergiesing (Gräberfeld 54, Urnenwand 5 innen, Grabnummer 170 (ashes))

Swedish soprano of Hungarian descent. She was the daughter of tenor Alexander Varnay and soprano Maria Javor. In 1920 her family moved to New York.

In 1941 she made a surprise debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Sieglinde in "Die Walküre" at a time that Lotte Lehmann was ill and no other replacement was available. She had hardly been able to practice but her appearance was a success. Six days later she replaced Helen Traubel as Brünhilde in the same opera.

In 1943 she became an American citizen and in 1944 she married conductor Hermann Weigert who was 28 years her senior. In 1948 she first appeared at Covent Garden in London. After Weigert died in 1955 she left the USA and moved to Munich.

She sang together with Wolfgang Windgassen and Birgitt Nilsson and in 1951 she appeared at the first Festspiele in Bayreuth after the Second World War and her part of Brünnhilde was recorded under conductor Hans Knappertbusch. She performed in Bayreuth for seventeen seasons.

In 1969 she switched from soprano to mezzo parts. The last time she appeared on the stage was in Munich in 1995. She died in that city in 2006.

Related persons
• cooperated with Knappertsbusch, Hans
• cooperated with Windgassen, Wolfgang


The grave of Astrid Varnay at the Friedhof am Perlacher Forst, Munich.
Picture by Androom (27 Aug 2010)


Wagner Operas -- Wagnerians -- Sopranos and Altos

Varndal, Walter

Published: 19 Sep 2010
Last update: 03 Mar 2022