Martti Talvela

Biography

Martti Talvela had a Wagnerian bass voice of uncommon power and richness. He was noted for his expressive legato singing, and exceptional focus of tone. He also dominated the operatic stage by his sheer size: He was an immense man, standing six foot eight and weighing around 300 pounds. This suited him well for the most commanding roles in opera, such as Fasolt the Giant in Wagner's Das Rheingold and Hagen in Götterdämmerung, Mussorgsky's Boris Read more Godunov, Sarastro in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Verdi's Grand Inquisitor, and a role that was written for him, the revivalist preacher Paavo Ruotsalainen in Kokkonen's The Last Temptations.

He began his adult life as a schoolteacher, but pursued vocal studies. After his Stockholm operatic debut (as Sparafucile in Verdi's Rigoletto) he soon found himself in demand, singing all the Wagnerian bass roles, several Russian operas, and many Verdi parts. He also pursued a career as a recitalist, and was the greatest male champion of the songs of his countrymen Sibelius and Kilpinen. He regarded the condition of being granted artistic talent as carrying with it a God-given responsibility. In 1972, he accepted an invitation to become Artistic Director of the Savonlinna Opera Festival. This yearly event, little-known then outside Finland, had been revived in 1967 after a festival that had been run by the great Finnish soprano Aïno Ackté from 1912 to 1930. Talvela immediately transformed it into one of the top international music festivals, in which operas are staged in the impressive courtyard of the St. Olaf's Castle (or Olavonlinna).

Health problems forced Talvela's retirement from Savonlinna in 1979; he had been diagnosed with diabetes, and he had other dangers to his health due to his weight. He restricted his operatic repertory to ten roles, cut back on his lucrative employment in that field, but expanded his schedule of recitals on the grounds that these were better "to bring my message." His sense of the artist's divine mission to bring something to the world was expressed in a 1986 interview. He accepted an appointment to become director of the Finnish National Opera commencing in 1992. But he was stricken with a heart attack and dropped dead while dancing at the party after his daughter's wedding on July 22, 1989, a shocking and regretted sudden deaths in operatic history. He left behind a rich legacy of recordings, including video productions, of many of his great roles. Read less
Browse 76-97 of 97 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Beethoven: Missa Solemnis / Klemperer, Söderström, Et Al
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 67547 Release Date: 04/10/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Marga Höffgen,  Waldemar Kmentt,  Martti Talvela,  Elisabeth Söderström
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 77.
    Wagner: Der Ring Nibelungen (Highlights) / Karajan, Et Al
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469223 Release Date: 02/27/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jess Thomas,  Thomas Stewart,  Cvetka Ahlin,  Liselotte Rebmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 78.
    Wagner: Der fliegende Hollander / Klemperer, Adam, Silja
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 67405 Release Date: 08/15/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Theo Adam,  Anja Silja,  Martti Talvela,  Ernst Kozub  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 79.
    Verdi: Don Carlo / Ghiaurov, Prevedi, Abbado, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1239 Release Date: 05/30/2000   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Gianfranco Maganotti,  Margherita Guglielmi,  Piero de Palma,  Antonio Zerbini  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 80.
    A Tribute To Martti Talvela
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 945 Release Date: 11/16/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Yrjö Kilpinen,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Joonas Kokkonen  ... 
    Performer:  Eero Heinonen,  Martti Talvela,  Hertha Klust
    Conductor:  Leif Segerstam,  Okko Kamu,  Jussi Jalas,  Paavo Berglund
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 81.
    Mahler: Symphony no 8 / Solti, Chicago SO
    Label: London/Decca Legends   Catalog: 460972 Release Date: 08/10/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk,  Lucia Popp,  René Kollo,  Martti Talvela  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein  ... 
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  • 82.
    Thunder & Lightning / Sir Georg Solti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 460496 Release Date: 11/10/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Gottlob Frick,  Pilar Lorengar,  Martti Talvela,  Yvonne Minton  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  World Orchestra for Peace,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 83.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Karajan, Berlin Po
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 457780 Release Date: 07/14/1998   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Barbro Ericson,  Danica Mastilovic,  Ingrid Steger,  Thomas Stewart  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus
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  • 84.
    Mozart: Die Zauberflote Highlights / Solti, Burrows, Deutekom
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458213 Release Date: 06/09/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Stuart Burrows,  Pilar Lorengar,  Hans Sotin,  René Kollo  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 85.
    Haydn: Die Jahreszeiten / Böhm, Janowitz, Schreier, Et Al
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 457713 Release Date: 01/02/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Peter Schreier,  Gundula Janowitz,  Martti Talvela
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
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  • 86.
    Wagner: Tristan und Isolde / Böhm, Nilsson, Windgassen
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 449772 Release Date: 11/11/1997   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Christa Ludwig,  Birgit Nilsson,  Martti Talvela  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 87.
    Grosse Mozartsänger Vol 3 - Opernarien 1961-1982
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 394301 Release Date: 09/19/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  James Morris,  Francisco Araiza,  Margaret Marshall,  Kathleen Battle  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  James Levine,  Karl Böhm,  Seiji Ozawa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 88.
    Opera Scenes From Savonlinna
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 373 Release Date: 09/23/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Jorma Silvasti,  Satu Vihavainen,  Jaako Ryhänan,  Jorma Falck  ... 
    Conductor:  Kyösti Haatanen,  Ulf Söderblom,  Ilpo Mansnerus,  Leif Segerstam
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Savonlinna Opera Festival Chorus,  Savonlinna Opera Festival Orchestra
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  • 89.
    Schubert: Winterreise / Talvela, Gothoni
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 253 Release Date: 09/22/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Martti Talvela,  Ralf Gothóni
    CD: $21.49
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  • 90.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Night On Bald Mountain
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 325 Release Date: 10/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Martti Talvela
    Conductor:  Leif Segerstam,  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 91.
    Beethoven: The Symphonies / Sir Georg Solti, Chicago So
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 430792 Release Date: 02/11/1992   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Yvonne Minton,  Stuart Burrows,  Martti Talvela,  Pilar Lorengar
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Chorus,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 92.
    Mahler: The Symphonies / Solti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 430804 Release Date: 02/11/1992   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Heather Harper,  Arleen Augér,  Yvonne Minton  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Boys' Choir,  Vienna Singverein  ... 
    CD: $64.49
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  • 93.
    The Solti Collection - Beethoven: Symphony No 9 / Lorengar, Minton, Burrows, Talvela
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430438 Release Date: 05/10/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Yvonne Minton,  Martti Talvela,  Stuart Burrows,  Pilar Lorengar
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 94.
    Verdi: Requiem / Solti, Sutherland, Horne, Pavarotti, Talvela
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 411944 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Marilyn Horne,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Martti Talvela,  Dame Joan Sutherland
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 95.
    Verdi: Rigoletto / Bonynge, Sutherland, Pavarotti, Milnes
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 414269 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Martti Talvela,  Huguette Tourangeau  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 96.
    Mozart: Don Giovanni / Fischer-Dieskau, Nilsson, Bohm
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 429870 Release Date: 06/01/1990   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Reri Grist,  Martina Arroyo,  Ezio Flagello  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra,  Czech Singers Chorus
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  • 97.
    Mozart: Die Entführung Aus Dem Serail / George Solti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 417402 Release Date: 03/02/1987   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Edita Gruberova,  Gösta Winbergh,  Martti Talvela,  Heinz Zednik  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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