First I was listening to this film with Kirsten Flagstad talking.
I especially like the parts where she talks about building your body up gradually to prepare for Wagner. In the Met archives is the story that she was sent to Prague in her thirties to study with Georg Solti.
Then came this performance of "Elsa's Dream" from a radio broadcast in 1949. It sounds as natural as breathing. It is her depth of understanding that makes her the best.
Then I happened on this performance of Flagstad singing Bach. Who knew? The tempo is quite slow. For my taste a bit too slow.
And here at last is the perfect performance of Bach's "Erbarme dich" by the great Christa Ludwig. The tempo and the phrasing are all masterpieces.
Or perhaps the best is this one with Marilyn Horne. You can hear her spectacular control of the phrase at its very best.
Which is best? I can't decide. One can get lost for hours.