Jussi Björling


In 1950 I was standing on the corner of 11th and Walnut in Kansas City, Missouri, waiting for a streetcar and whistling “Questa o quella” from Rigoletto. I was approached by a man asking for directions to the Plaza Theatre. He spoke to me in a Swedish accent. Curious, I asked if he were Jussi Björling, the tenor, and he was! I wondered if my whistling was why he asked me for directions, but I didn’t ask. I was astonished that he was there in person, so I don’t really recall all of the conversational exchanges we made. I do remember telling him the Plaza Theater was way out south, and if he went out there to watch a movie he would be late for his own concert! I told him that I had tickets to attend his concert and didn’t want him to miss it, so we agreed to walk around downtown together instead.

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