The 16th Jussi Festival at Voxna
Lennart Eng, Lena Rieback, Axel Ryhed, Hilda Ryhed, Karolina Andersson, Anton Ljungqvist, Stefan Olmårs and Markus Pettersson
On Monday the 11 July 2016 it was time for Jussi Festival and concert at Voxna Church, honouring Jussi Björling, for the sixteenth time. As in previous years the concert was doubled, at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. with full church on both occasions.
New Issue of the Magazine
Editor Calle Friedner, well-known from his time at the Swedish Radio, takes care of the spring issue of our journal. It contains photos and articles with differing approach. You can read about the sensational discovery of Jussi's Copenhagen Concert 1959, colleagues about Jussi, an analyze of five tenors singing the Flower song aria, new president for the American Society, colleagues to Jussi - doesn't that sound interesting? This and much other reading is offered in #56.
Only in Swedish. Click on the image.
Jussi of the Month May 2016
In May 1946, Jussi Björling, travelling with Anna-Lisa, had still half a month left of his first American tour after WWII, his longest so far. On May 2, he opened the 53rd May Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan, together with the Philadelpha Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy. A reviewer noted that the Hill Auditorium, which held an audience of 5,000, ”was crammed to the most remote cranny, with the first audience in years not strongly tinctured with Navy blue and Army olive drab”.
The concert was dominated by orchestral music. Jussi began with two French arias and returned with three Italian ones. ”It is a never-ending source of wonder that a man reared in the chill northland should be able to sing with all the florid passion of a born Italian.”
New CD with Jussi is praised
The newly released Jussi Björling Copenhagen Concert (JSP RECORDS JSP682) is the recording of the month on MusicWeb International. More can be read here.
We have earlier written about it here.
You can order the CD from Jussi Björlingmuseet or from our treasurer Per Bäckström: per.o.backstrom
Jussi of the Month April 2016
During the first months of 1943, Jussi appeared as guest at the Stockholm Opera on several occasions and also sang quite a lot of concerts around Sweden, not least on a tour of Dalecarlia. It was in the midst of the World War and the opportunities for assignments abroad were utterly limited. However he had been invited to sing four performances at the Maggio Musicale in Florence at the end of April and beginning of May (read more on Jussi of the Month May 2014) and before that he finished his sojourn at the Stockholm Opera with two performances of “Il trovatore” on 8 and 11 April.
Jussi Björling award to Nina Stemme
Photo by Neda Navaee
The amount, 100 000 SEK, will be distributed at a gala performance at Ulriksdal Court Theatre Confidencen on 8 June.
“Nina is not only one of the foremost opera singers in the world in her voice category. What makes her so special is her ability to squeeze 110% out of her characters. Not many are as quality focused as Nina”, says Gunnar Lundberg, chairman of the Foundation Royal Theatre’s Soloists, which distributes the award, in a press release.
The Jussi Björling Fund is administered since 1970 by the Foundation Royal Theatre’s Soloists, which award prominent singers and musicians. Since 2009 Anders Wall’s Foundation contribute the amount.
Copenhagen Concert 1959
We had hardly reckoned on some previously unknown recordings with Jussi Björling would crop up. The record companies have the last few years hovered radio archives and other sources on anything imaginable. But then there pops up a tape in excellent sound quality, recorded in Copenhagen on 15 October 1959 in the then brand new Falkoner Centret – a concert hall with superlative acoustics seating 2000 listeners. In the venue there was also a state-of-the-art recording equipment, which was employed to record most of what was happening there – and then the material was hidden in the archives – until now.
The Jussi Björling Society’s annual meeting
Stockholm, Saturday January 30, 2016
42 members took themselves to the JB Society’s annual meeting which began at 1 PM. Before that, as usual, there was coffee and cookies before the members took their seats. The meeting began with remembrance of Lars Hemmingsson, who was one of the founders of our Society, and was its chairman from 1995 to 2004, and thereafter Honorary Chairman. Current chairman Bengt Krantz read his obituary of Hemmingsson, and the ceremony concluded with Board member Berit Sjögren singing C.J.L. Almqvist’s “Du går icke ensam” a cappella.
The Jussi Björling Society’s Prize Awarded to tenor Ole Aleksander Bolstad Bang
At the Jussi Björling Society’s Annual Meeting in Stockholm on 30 January 2016 it was announced that the recipient of the Jussi Björling Society’s prize 2016 is tenor Ole Aleksander Bolstad Bang. He will receive the prize in connection with a concert at the Solliden stage at Skansen, Stockholm on Saturday 6 August 2016, when Ole also will perform.
Lyrics for some songs and arias
For the release in February 2016 of the CD JSP682, containing Jussi Björling’s 1959 Copenhagen concert and his 1952 Voice of Firestone broadcast, lyrics for songs and arias recorded with him are published on this website for the first time.
Lars Hemmingsson (1939 – 2015) is dead
He was one of the founders of Jussi Björlingsällskapet and was its Chairman 1995 – 2004 and after that Honorary Chairman. He was an amiable and witty person and his expressive presentations and interviews at the regular member meetings were highly appreciated. To the general public he was well-known as announcer at Swedish Radio, where he later became head of the broadcast management. Through his linguistic ability he was also a valuable member of the group for preservation of the purity of the language at Swedish Radio.
The first of Jussi’s two studio recordings of Cavalleria rusticana , which was made in 1953 with Zinka Milanov and Robert Merrill, has been reissued by Sony from the original tapes, during the autumn of 2015 (RCA 88875054492).
Comments about Jussi Björling on Youtube
There is a very wide choice of Jussi-recordings at Youtube, maybe about one hundred. Many times the same recording is uploaded by several different users. There are millions of visitors, the most views have O Helga natt, amassing 2 million views, followed by Nessun dorma and the Pearl Fisher duet with 1.4 million respective 1.3 million views.
Visitors can leave comments and naturally the great majority are positive, in many cases overwhelming. Click on the link and you will find a number of comments to some recordings on Youtube.
New issue of Trovatore praised
There are five live recordings of Jussi Björling as Manrico in Il Trovatore and one studio recording. The second live recording, from the Met January 1941, was reissued in September 2015 on CD by the Canadian label Immortal Performances (IPCD 1052-2). The critic Henry Fogel in Fanfare is as impressed by the sound as by Jussi’s performance. He thinks that the sound engineer Richard Caniell ”has performed his usual miracles with the sound restoration”, and that the sound ”comes shockingly close” to a professionally made 1941 studio recording.
Ten-year-anniversary at Strömsbruk
For the tenth year in a row the Jussi Björling Society arranged the annual Jussi Festival during the weekend 5-6 September 2015 at the beautiful industrial community Strömsbruk in north-east Hälsingland, where Jussi’s father David was born. An audience full of expectations entered the concert hall Strömshall on Saturday 5 September, while Ströms Bruksorkester (a local brass-band) entertained with captivating wind music.
Lennart Eng, Christer Bladin, Christina Nilsson, Roma Loukes and Markus Pettersson
Young bel canto singing at Skansen
This year's Jussi concert at Skansen August 8 had an altered concept. Now it was not just about Jussi's heritage but also about Jenny Lind's deed and the concert was headlined "Jenny & Jussi. Concert in the Jenny Lind & Jussi Björling spirit of a new generation of opera stars. "
The new "stars" were Sara Swietlicki, soprano, who received this year’s Jenny Lind scholarship, Hannes Öberg, baritone, who toured with Sara, Markus Pettersson, this year's recipient of Jussi Björling Society's price and pianist Markus Kvint.
Markus Kvint, Pernilla Eskilsdotter, Hannes Öberg, Markus Pettersson, Sara Swietlicki
Concert again at ”Kungsan”!
On Monday 3 August it was time again for ”Birgit and Jussi at Kungsan”, the joint concert from the Birgit Nilsson Society and the Jussi Björling Society at Kungsträdgården (The King’s Garden) in Stockholm., this time for the fourth time in a row. The sun was shining from an unclouded sky and it was time for concert start at 12.15 the seats in front of the stage were filled with expectant listeners, in spite of lack of information from the Stockholm newspapers. Sören Tranberg, editor and publisher of the periodical Opera, was the compere.
Anders Wadenberg, Amelia Jakobsson, Valentin Lundin, Bengt Krantz and Francisco Almanza
Cultural achievement with international compass
The fifteenth (doubled) concert in honour of Jussi Björling was presented at Voxna Church on Monday 6 July. An impressive event in every respect! Artistically and practically (coach transport from Bollnäs railway station was a new feature this year). A buffet at Voxnabruk Manor provides opportunities for the participants to meet and get to know each other before the request concert where we were treated to recordings with Jussi, under guidance from Lars Hemmingsson, John-Erik Eleby and Stefan Olmårs.
The Jussi Björling Museum moving
The Borlänge Cultural Committee has decided to move the museum in connection with the building of a new art gallery in the library building.
The newspaper Borlänge Tidning reported on 8 June:
"The Jussi Björling Museum will become a part of the new art gallery, which will use premises that are not leased today. … The committee considers that in Dalarna, a large modern art gallery is missing, where great importance is attached to modern art and design and art for children and young people… Now the cultural committee has unanimously accepted the plans, and the financing of the costs taken by the city will be through the committee’s budget. … The art gallery will become part of the library, with the premises directly connected. There is a plan for this, which one hopes might be realized during the autumn..."
”I think it is important that new forms of art get close to Jussi Björling”, says Rikard Rudolfsson, chairman of the cultural committee. ”If plans for a future congress and culture building should be realized, the library and the museum will be moved there. … What will happen to the building that is now housing the Björling Museum, is unclear. It might be sold, or it might be used for other activities.”
To the information in the newspaper might be added that is still unclear exactly what, or how large part of the building the museum would be able to use, and when a move might take place.
The opera about Jussi, Silverfågeln (Silver Bird) has been premiered.
On 10 July the chamber opera Silverfågeln (Silver Bird) about Jussi Björling was premiered at Vattnäs Concert Barn in Mora, Dalecarlia, in central Sweden. The composer is Mats Larsson Gothe, the libretto was written by Greta Sundberg and is based on Yrsa Stenius’s book Tills vingen brister (available in English as e-book – The Heart of Jussi Björling).
The opera has been reviewed by Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dalarnas Tidningar, Swedish Radio et all.
It was broadcasted in its entirety by Swedish Radio on 8 August at 7 p.m.
A complete new version of ”A Jussi Björling Phonography” available on the website.
All Jussi Björling’s recordings and their issues have been listed in Harald Henrysson’s ”A Jussi Björling Phonography” (second edition published in 1993). Since 2011, an updated version, including only issues on CD and DVD, has been available on the Björling Museum website and linked from this website. A print edition of that version was published in 2014.
In June 2015, a complete revised version has been published on these websites for the first time. Included are 39 complete operas and 628 separately recorded songs, arias and scenes. 3044 issues in twelve formats, from 78s to CDs and DVDs, are listed.
Jussi Björling inducted to the Swedish Music Hall of Fame
For the second time new artists and musicians are inducted into Swedish Music Hall of Fame for significant contribution to Swedish music. Among the inductees are Jussi Björling. For more information, use the link and scroll down for the English version
Signed – Jussi’s Autograph
Items that have been signed by famous persons have always awakened great interest. Jussi Björling at seventeen had a well-developed signature that can only be characterized as elegant.
His autograph has today high rarity value. So why is his autograph so valuable? Read about this in Stephen Crowley’s article Jussi Björling’s Autograph by clicking the link below.
Stephen Crowley is Englishman and a member of the English Jussi Björling Society since its foundation. He is an inveterate record collector and has worked as dental surgeon.
Jussi in Gold Thread
THIS TAPESTRY REPRESENTING JUSSI was embroidered in gold thread by Britt Marie Jern from Åmål. She is a member of the Jussi Björling Society and made this out of pure love of Jussi. Britt Marie is otherwise a prominent sculptor with many official commissions. The size of the tapestry is 106 x 87 cm.
Visit the Archives
WELCOME TO HAVE A LOOK INTO THE ARCHIVES. There you will find selected items that have been published on our new homepage since it was introduced on 1 February 2014. You will find Jussi of the Month, what happened on our member meetings, you can browse through previous issues of our magazine, read about our summer concerts etc.
The Favourite Arias of the Audience?
THE AUDIENCES AT JUSSI’S CONCERTS had many favourites among all the opera arias he had in his repertoire. But there was one in particular that was the most requested. Which one? Listen to what Jussi had to say about this in a radio interview from 1958.
Prices for Members of the Jussi Björling Society for the Full Assortment of the Museum, CD, DVD etc.
By clicking the link below you will get access to the Jussi Björling Museum Special Price-List for members of the Jussi Björling Society.
The price-list encompasses the full assortment of the museum and certain prices are extra reduced during the summer. Postage may be added.
In Memory of an Exceptional Artist
WE WANT TO SHARE the beauty of Jussi Björling’s singing and tell about his fantastic career on this website.
Our Society cooperates with The Jussi Björling Society – USA and The Jussi Björling Appreciation Society (U.K.)
We recommend you to take part of information from these societies by clicking the links below.
One of the greatest ever
JUSSI BJÖRLING IS ONE of the greatest tenors ever. His life and his musical journey through life continues to fascinate generation after generation worldwide. He is loved, not only for his music, but also for being a human with strengths as well as weaknesses. Here is the story of his life.
Radio Interviews with Jussi
JUSSI VERY RARELY gave radio interviews. Here we have managed to collect seven of the so far known recorded interviews in chronological order, recorded 1951 – 1960 with playing time totalling ca. 53 minutes. Most of the interviews are in English.
The Jussi Björling Society
Support us in our activity to keep the memory of Jussi Björling alive!
Now it’s time to renew your membership in The Jussi Björling Society. Recently you received the latest issue of our membership magazine (only in Swedish) with information leaflet and paying-in form enclosed.
The subscription fee for 2016 is unaltered (see paying-in form).
To prospective members:
You like Jussi, don’t you? In that case you should of course join our society!
Aida—Record News from Sony
THE 1955 STUDIO RECORDING of Aida where Jussi Björling is partnered by Zinka Milanov, Fedora Barbieri, Leonard Warren och Boris Christoff, is generally regarded as one of the best ever, and it is the only Aida preserved with Jussi.
Filmed features with Jussi
HERE YOU WILL FIND a great number of filmed features with Jussi, recorded 1937 – 1957.
14 filmed recordings with Jussi in top-shape, mainly recorded at Jussi’s appearances on American TV during the early and mid-fifties.
Jussi Goes Commercial
JUSSI’S GREAT POPULARITY meant that his name was exploited commercially in advertisements for various products, like throat pastilles, razor blades, pianos and even beds!