Jussi Björling

Composers

Biography

Born: February 5, 1911   Died: September 9, 1960   Country: Sweden  
Jussi Björling was one of the most admired tenors of the twentieth century. He was never an effective actor on stage nor was he particularly handsome, but his excellent technique, scrupulous musicianship, and beautiful voice, with its powerful and focused top, made him one of the most-demanded stars of his day. Those with a fondness for such comparisons consistently called him "the second Caruso" or "the Swedish Caruso." Some found his rather Read more smooth timbre inexpressive, particularly those used to Gigli's frequent use of sobs and other extra-musical effects, but others found that its directness, combined with his sensitivity to phrasing, made the music all the more expressive. At times he did have a tendency to sing slightly sharp, but to listeners without an acute sense of pitch it was almost undetectable.

Björling came from a musical family and began his career early -- his singing debut came at the age of five. His father, David, was a fine singer who formed the Björling Male Quartet with the older three boys, Olle, Jussi, and Gosta. They performed world-wide, made some recordings for American Columbia (including Jussi's first solo recordings), and settled in the United States in 1920. While they were wildly popular, they had financial problems, and when David Björling died in 1926, the quartet broke up.

In 1928, Jussi succeeded in getting an audition with Karl-Martin Oehmann. Oehrmann was so impressed that he recommended Björling to the Royal Opera in Stockholm, where he was given a stipend for room, board, studies at the conservatory, and a new suit. Two years later, Björling made his operatic debut as the Lamplighter in Puccini's Manon Lescaut and took on his first leading role a month later as Don Ottavio in Mozart's Don Giovanni. In 1933, he first sang the role of Romeo in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette, a role with which he would later become strongly associated. He met Anna-Lisa Berg, a lyric soprano, while at the Swedish Music Academy and Royal Opera school, and their marriage lasted until his death, despite the alcoholism that troubled his entire adult life.

He made his Vienna debut in 1936, his United States debut in a Carnegie Hall concert in 1937 (his United States operatic debut was a short time later that same year, as the Duke of Mantua, in Chicago), and his Salzburg debut as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. In 1936, he also began a long recording association with HMV. He made his Met debut in 1938 in La Bohème and in 1939 his Covent Garden debut as Manrico. Like those of most other opera singers, his international career was limited by World War II, but when the war was over, he again sang all over the world. In 1950, he took the title role in the famous Met production of Verdi's Don Carlo that inaugurated Rudolf Bing's administration. As his career expanded and he was able to be more selective about his stage roles, he began to limit his repertoire to the major Italian and French lyric roles, with a few forays into the lyrico-spinto repertoire. However, he recorded and performed in concert excerpts from many roles he had never explored on stage, as well as lieder and his beloved Swedish songs.

In March of 1960, Björling had a heart attack before a performance at Covent Garden. While he chose to finish the performance, his symptoms became still more serious, and he and his family returned to Sweden, where he died that September. Read less
Voice Of Firestone - Jussi Bjorling In Opera & Song
Release Date: 11/16/2004   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2424   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 76-100 of 111 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    The Golden Age Of Singing Vol 4 - 1930-1950
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7056 Release Date: 10/02/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Kirsten Flagstad,  Martin Lawrence,  Mariano Stabile,  Tito Gobbi  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Umberto Berrettoni,  Frank Edward Tours,  Karl Alwin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra  ... 
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  • 77.
    Opera Goes To The Movies
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60841 Release Date: 08/21/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Leontyne Price,  Montserrat Caballé,  Alfredo Kraus  ... 
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  James Levine,  Edward Downes,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 78.
    Great Voices Of The Past - Legendary Opera Duets
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 8001 Release Date: 08/07/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Herva Nelli,  Ramon Vinay,  Lawrence Tibbett,  Rose Bampton  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 79.
    The #1 Tenor Album / Alagna, Bergonzi, Björling, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470021 Release Date: 07/10/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa,  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  José Carreras,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Mario Del Monaco,  Jussi Björling  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Piero Gamba,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Maurizio Benini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera Teatro Reale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra  ... 
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  • 80.
    The #1 Opera Album Vol 1
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467632 Release Date: 02/27/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Leo Nucci,  Andrea Bocelli,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Michele Pertusi  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Patané,  Leone Magiera,  Sir Georg Solti,  Zubin Mehta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe  ... 
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  • 81.
    Essential Verdi - 40 Of His Greatest Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467128 Release Date: 02/13/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Neil Shicoff,  Mara Zampieri,  Lucia Aliberti,  Renato Bruson  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Bernard Haitink,  Sir Georg Solti,  Gabriele Santini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
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  • 82.
    Puccini's Greatest Hits
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63755 Release Date: 02/06/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Anna Moffo,  Angela Gheorghiu,  Ben Heppner,  Birgit Nilsson  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Tullio Serafin,  Edward Downes,  Roberto Abbado  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
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  • 83.
    Verdi: Il Trovatore / Gui, Bjorling, Cigna, Basiola, Et Al
    Label: Bel Canto Society   Catalog: 5000 Release Date: 12/26/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Mario Basiola,  Corrado Zambelli,  Jussi Björling,  Maria Huder  ... 
    Conductor:  Vittorio Gui
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
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  • 84.
    Prima Voce Vol 2 - Treasury Of Opera - Historic Recordings
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1738 Release Date: 11/28/2000   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Félicien César David,  Jacques Offenbach,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Nina Koshetz,  Feodor Chaliapin,  Clement Barone,  Amelita Galli-Curci  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Pasternack,  Franco Ghione,  Rosario Bourdon,  Hans Lange  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 85.
    Jussi Bjoerling - Rarities
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1189 Release Date: 06/06/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Hugo Alfvén,  Charles William Glover,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Donald Dickson,  Grace Moore,  Eleanor Steber  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Ille Gustafsson,  Donald Voorhees,  Erno Rapée  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ford Motor Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Swedish Army Band,  Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra  ... 
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  • 86.
    Golden Operetta Vol 2 -millöcker, J. Strauss, Offenbach, Etc
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 78 Release Date: 05/23/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Jacques Offenbach,  Johan Peter E. Hartmann,  Albert Lortzing  ... 
    Performer:  Lotte Lehmann,  Waldemar Staegemann,  Richard Tauber,  Karin Branzell  ... 
    Conductor:  Frieder Weissmann,  Erich Orthmann,  Johan Hye-Knudsen,  Mogens Wöldike  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Chorus  ... 
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  • 87.
    The Prima Voce Treasury Of Opera Vol 1
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1742 Release Date: 02/15/2000   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Jules Massenet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Franz Lehár  ... 
    Performer:  Eidé Noréna,  Conchita Supervia,  Tito Schipa,  Riccardo Stracciari  ... 
    Conductor:  Henri Défosse,  Angelo Albergoni,  Giorgio Polacco,  Nils Grevillius  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Odeon-Künstler Orchestra,  Rome Opera Teatro Reale Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 88.
    Verdi: Un Ballo In Maschera / Herbert, Björling, Et Al
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1169 Release Date: 11/30/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Norman Treigle,  Suzy Morris,  Marko Rothmüller  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter Herbert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Orleans Opera Chorus,  New Orleans Opera Orchestra
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  • 89.
    Amore - Opera's Greatest Romances / Price, Domingo, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63299 Release Date: 09/15/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Cesare Valletti,  Anna Moffo,  Rosalind Elias,  Alan Titus  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Rafael Kubelik,  Sir Colin Davis,  Jonel Perlea  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus  ... 
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  • 90.
    Ten Tenors In Prayer / Domingo, Lanza, Heppner, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63237 Release Date: 09/15/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Wagner,  Traditional,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Jerry Hadley,  Peter Seiffert,  Jan Peerce  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Richard Bonynge,  Jirí Kout,  Abraham Ellstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 91.
    Nessun Dorma - 20 Great Tenor Arias / Pavarotti, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458215 Release Date: 06/09/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Jussi Björling,  Giuseppe Di Stefano  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Zubin Mehta,  Alberto Erede,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 92.
    The Ultimate Puccini Collection / Pavarotti, Carreras, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 460380 Release Date: 06/09/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Montserrat Caballé,  Angela Gheorghiu  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  John Mauceri,  Herbert von Karajan,  Alberto Erede  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  Turin Teatro Regio Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 93.
    Legendary Tenors - Operatic Arias (1903-1944)
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7856 Release Date: 05/19/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Jules Massenet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Beniamino Gigli,  Giovanni Martinelli,  Tito Schipa,  Jussi Björling  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli,  Mario Cordone,  Nils Grevillius,  Carlo Sabajno  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 94.
    Operatic Arias (1911-1962)
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7851 Release Date: 05/19/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Karl Millöcker,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Francesco Cilèa,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Tito Gobbi,  Kirsten Flagstad  ... 
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  • 95.
    Jussi Bjorling Edition - Studio Recordings 1930-1959
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 66306 Release Date: 01/20/1998   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Amy Marcy Beach,  Gioachino Rossini,  Carl Sjöberg,  Helen Guy  ... 
    Performer:  Ivor Newton,  Jussi Björling,  Harry Ebert,  Hjördis Schymberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Nils Grevillius,  Bertil Bokstedt,  Sune Waldimir
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra,  Stockholm Concerts Associations Orchestra
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  • 96.
    Prima Voce - Bjorling In Song
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7879 Release Date: 10/15/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Eduardo Di Capua,  Enrico Caruso,  Ragnar Althen  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling
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  • 97.
    Three Swedish Tenors / Bjorling, Gedda, Winbergh, Et Al
    Label: Swedish Society Discofil   Catalog: 1078 Release Date: 10/09/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wilhelm Stenhammar,  Charles Gounod,  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Gösta Winbergh,  Jussi Björling
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  • 98.
    Verdi: Requiem, Quattro Pezzi Sacri / Reiner, Mehta, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 444833 Release Date: 11/14/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Yvonne Minton,  Rosalind Elias,  Jussi Björling,  Giorgio Tozzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Master Chorale,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 99.
    Operntheater - Berühmte Tenöre Der 30er Jahre
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90953 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Paul von Klenau,  Richard Wagner,  Viktor Nessler  ... 
    Performer:  Ivan Kozlovsky,  Marcel Wittrisch,  Franz Völker,  Richard Tauber  ... 
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  • 100.
    Prima Voce Sampler
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1430 Release Date: 08/09/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Amand Mangold,  Richard Strauss,  Traditional,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Bruno Seidler-Winkler,  Frieda Hempel,  Tiana Lemnitz,  Erna Berger  ... 
    Conductor:  Clemens Krauss,  Nathaniel Shilkret,  Gustav Cloëz,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus  ... 
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