Leigh Metcalf


Leigh Metcalf, memories, Jussi Bjorling


Like many others of my generation, opera for me began with The Great Caruso, to which my parents took me shortly after its release. I particularly liked the trio that ended Act I of Il Trovatore, so I went to the library to check out my first opera recording, the one by RCA Victor. I liked Milanov's voice, and I loved Warren's, but Bjorling's was something altogether different. Every time his voice entered, the hair on the back of my neck stood up, a lump formed in my throat, and tears came to my eyes. It had nothing to do with the words being said. It was the voice- the beauty, the purity, the perfection, the magnificence, the emotion, to say nothing of the incredible breath control and flawless technique, of that glorious, glorious voice. Over forty-five years later, his voice still has the same effect on me- every time.

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