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More about Jussi Björling

Described as “the Nordic archangel endowed with a celestial high C,” Jussi Björling was born in Stora Tuna, Sweden, on the 2nd February 1911 into a musical family. He died in Stockholm in September 9th, 1960.

He was known and remembered for the beauty of his voice, and his resplendent musicianship. His sense of legato and his lyrical treatment of line together with a resplendent timbre, always, as Robert Merrill correctly stated “bewitched all who heard him.” The American baritone goes on to refer to Björling’s “golden-timbre” adding that “he was an inspiration to work with.”

Many of his other colleagues have constantly made reference to Björling’s interpretations as “singing lessons.” Dorothy Kirsten, in her autobiography, refers to Björling as “the greatest tenor of my generation; the most glorious sound I have ever heard.” Bass, Boris Christoff, considered Björling’s voice “the most beautiful among living tenors,” while Blanche Thebom insisted that “there has never been such a unique quality.”

Surely the most complimentary statement comes from baritone Cornell MacNeil who, when singing Lescaut to Jussi Björling’s Des Grieux at the Met, was so astounded at the tenor’s Third Act plea, No Pazzo Son, that he was unable to sing his own lines. “He just staggered me with his vocalism.”

(From Opera Vivre - http://www.operavivra.com/artists/tenors/jussi-bjorling/)