The Norwegian mezzo-soprano, Edith Thallaug, wanted originally to become an actress, let then however her voice being trained with Giurgja Leppée and with Joel Berglund in Stockholm.
In 1959 Edith Thallaug gave her first Lieder recital in Oslo. She made her stage debut at the Stora Theater in Göteborg in 1960 as Dorabella in Così fan tutte. She remained engaged in Göteborg until 1964. Since 1964 she became a member of the Royal Opera in Stockholm, where her debut was as Orest in Offenbach’s La Belle Helena. She participated since 1964 at the Festivals of Drottningholm and in 1971 at the Glyndebourne Festival (Dorabella in Così fan tutte). She had also successful appearances at the Operas of Oslo and Copenhagen and at the Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre.
As a concert singer Edith Thallaug appeared, for example, in Lieder recital in London and Berlin, and also in 1976 in Basel in a performance Gurrelieder by Arnold Schoenberg. She was a highly estimated oratorio, Lieder and operetta singer. On the Swedish television she appeared in a performance of Carmen by Georges Bizet in the title role, and in 1990 in Kronbruden by Ture Rangström.
Edith Thallaug mastered the technically difficult parts for coloratura contralto apart from the standard repertoire of her voice. Her big roles were Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Bradamante in Alcina by George Frideric Handel, Carmen, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Eboli in Don Carlos, Azucena in Troubadour, Amneris in Aida, Venus in Tannhäuser, Fricka in Der Ring des Nibelungen, Octavian in Rosenkavalier; and the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos by R. Strauss. In 1989 she sang at the Stockholm Opera Judith in Blue-Beard Castle by Béla Bartók. In 1976 she became Swedish Hofsängerin, in 1983 she received the medal "Litteris et artibus" for distinguished artist, in the same year 1983 she was knighted by the Norwegian King at the St. Olavsordens. She was married with the tenor Ulf Björkegren.
Recordings: Philips, HMV. Collection of arias on the Swedish label Caprice; additional recordings on NFK-Disco-Centre (Lieder of E. Grieg), Simax/GDN (Lieder of Monrad Johansen), Aurora (Gespenster by Bibalo) and on BIS (Lieder and Duets with Gösta Winbergh).