MERRY CHRISTMAS

FROM JUSSI BJÖRLINGSÄLLSKAPET
 
WITH A MAGNIFICENT RECORDING OF
 
"O HOLY NIGHT" FROM 21 DECEMBER 1946
 
RECORDED IN NBC'S STUDIO NEW YORK
 
This recording with piano is very heartfelt and Jussi's voice comes out like never before.
 
Click here
 

The Jussi Björling Museum closes

It has long been known that the City of Borlänge wanted to move the Jussi Björling Museum out of its present building, where it was opened in 1994, but plans for the future have been unclear. In April 2020, the three Jussi Björling societies, Lars and Ann-Charlotte Björling and several persons in Sweden and abroad who were active in preserving his memory through books and CDs sent a letter to the Department of Cultural and Recreational Activities, stressing the importance of the museum and asking for clarification of the city's plans. 

The questions were not answered until seven months later, in a letter from the head of the department dated 23 November, and on 24 November the corresponding political board took a formal decision confirming the information. It has thus been decided that after 1 January 2021, there will not be a separate Jussi Björling museum, and the present building will be emptied. The museum will be replaced by an exhibition of selected parts of the collections, either in the municipal library or in an adjacent building. The new exhibition will not contain any of the Björling family's depositions, since Jussi's children Lars and Ann-Charlotte have reacted to the decision by demanding that all the family's depositions are returned to them as soon as possible.

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Jussi of the Month December 2020

December 1935: One more night with Chaliapin

Jussi Björling rarely sang Russian repertoire. His last twenty years it consisted of just two songs by Rachmaninov (in English) and one aria each from Borodin’s Prince Igor and Tchaikovsky’s Eugen Onegin (both in Swedish). Prince Igor was a popular opera in 1930s Stockholm, and with 36 performances 1933–37 Vladimir – Jussi’s role in it – features high in a list of roles he sang numerous times. Lensky in Eugen Onegin he only sang eight times on stage. The first was in January 1933 and the final one in the month we now will survey: December 1935.

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Notes on the new issue of Roméo et Juliette

You should own Jussi’s Swedish-language Romeo. Preferably in this new edition, and you should buy it soon. Let me explain why.

Jussi was at his most audibly engaged and alive when interpreting his roles in his native Swedish, with colleagues that he had grown up with as an artist at the Stockholm Opera during the 1930s. The main proof is two complete performances from the season 1939/40: La traviata and Roméo et Juliette. He recorded neither of them commercially, but there are good live recordings of both. Of these his Romeo is the most important: one of his best parts, and one where no one else comes close to his success.

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Jussi of the Month November 2020

November 1935


Jussi as Radamès in Aïda 1935
Every month during the 1930s was in principle fully-booked for Jussi, and 1935 was no exception. At the Stockholm Opera, where he was a full-time employee, he had performances every week, sometimes several times a week, and in-between he had other assignments. New roles were added frequently and during the year he had studied six new parts, the latest he premiered as recently as on 12 October, and it wasn’t just any role: Radamès in Aïda, which certainly was his heaviest so far.

 

November opened with two performances as Tomas in Laparra’s L'Illustre Frégona. He had done the role for the first time as early as January 1932, and now it had been dusted off after an interval of a couple of years. He was to sing it another four times during November.

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Jussi Björling Conference in Chicago 2021

The Conference is postponed to April 2022

Our sibling society, the Jussi Björling Society-USA, will organize a Jussi conference in Chicago April 8-10, 2021. Note it in the calendar right now, it seems to be pure dream trip!


Chicago skyline

Invited speakers include Stephen Hastings, Andrew Farkas, Harald Henrysson, Nils-Göran Olve, Henry Fogel, Conrad Osborne, Fred Plotkin and representatives of the Chicago Tribune, and of course the Lyric Opera, among others. Walter Rudolph will serve as master of ceremonies. Anders, Lars and Ann-Charlotte Björling are invited guests, as well as honorary advisory board member Javier Camarena, also a tenor. 

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Jussi of the Month October 2020

October 1938: L’africaine, and more

On the surface, Jussi Björling’s month of October 1938 resembled most other months since he became a member of the Royal Stockholm Opera’s ensemble in 1930: a new role, a number of performances at its home base at Gustav Adolf’s square, some elsewhere, and a gramophone session. Business as usual for a full-time employee, with walking-distance home, and with long-time colleagues. After returning from his debut at the Metropolitan in New York on 24 November there would be a similar period in February–April. But by then he would have become recognized as an international celebrity, and he would make his final appearances as an employee of the Stockholm Opera.

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Tour of the Jussi Björling Museum

"When the museum goes towards unknown fates, it's nice to have this video left." Ulla Moulvad visited the museum in 2017 and filmed it and posted it on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm4dIBE_UFk&feature=youtu.be

More about the museum's future can be read by scrolling down.


60 years ago since Jussi Björling died


Skansen, Stockholm, 20 August was the last concert
On September 9, 1960, Jussi died in his sleep while staying on Siarö, his beloved summer place. He had had heart problems for a few years then. Jussi's death and funeral were noticed around the world.

If you could sum up his work in a few words, it could be - Jussi was the tenor of the tenors.

 

 
 
 
 
His last studio recording was Verdi's Requiem in June 1960. Listen to "Ingemisco" from that moment.

Jussi of the Month September 2020

September 1942

During the war years Jussi was mainly confined to his home country, but that didn’t imply that he was inactive. On the contrary he was in great demand, both as concert singer and as guest at the Stockholm Opera. Certain period he was also field artist, singing for the soldiers. Besides that there were still opportunities to appear in Europe, although in limited extent. 1942 was such a year, which will be elucidated in this article.

Spring and summer of 1942, he was almost overburdened with engagements all around Sweden, from 20 May at Furuvik to the finale at Tivoli at Gröna Lund on 27 August. Before the latter the press could report: “135 000 people have heard Jussi Björling so far during this year’s summer tour – how much this figure will increase tonight is uncertain, but that there will be several thousand can be taken for granted, since Jussi tonight sings once again at Tivoli, and one can count on the same success as last time, when the whole space was filled with people and outright southern hat-throwing scenes took place after the concert. Tonight is moreover the last opportunity for a long time to hear our great singer. After the concert Jussi Björling will take a good rest in the archipelago and in September he goes to Copenhagen and after a couple of guest appearances at the Opera in Stockholm he goes to Budapest and Vienna.”

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The Future of the JB Museum Ventilated Again

A few years ago Borlänge Kommun brought up the issue of the future of the museum, its premises and contents.  Those concerned, including the family and the Jussi Björling Societies, sent this spring an extensive document with viewpoints and questions. The authorities replied vaguely after some months. Recently Borlänge Tidning, the local daily, has taken an active interest in the matter in two articles, the gist of which is described below.

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Jussi of the Month May 2020

Operetta discs May 1938

To us the most important thing about Jussi Björling’s May 1938 is that on the final two days of that month he recorded some of his most beloved records, in particular an aria from Der Bettelstudent (The Beggar Student) which he sang in Swedish as ”Nu är jag pank och fågelfri” – “Now I am broke and an outlaw”. That text may astonish some who are not familiar with Millöcker’s operetta, as the song is extremely happy – but we’ll come back to that. The song is a frequent request when we play Jussi records at meetings of the Swedish Jussi Björling Society. Its abundant enthusiasm, his use of the text, a phenomenal inserted extra-high note at the end: no wonder that it long was a favourite on radio and was included in many Jussi compilations on record. Now it is easily found on Youtube and streaming services.


The current edition from 1938
Internationally it was however long something of a secret among collectors of vocal records. Like its reverse side as a 78, Paris’s entrance song from Offenbach’s La belle Hélène (The Beautiful Helen), it was sung in Swedish and only issued for the domestic market. It would take thirty years before it was included in commemorative LPs and CDs, and enthusiasts then started to

 

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Kerstin Meyer in memoriam

Only 66 days after the passing of Margareta Hallin, I have the painful duty to announce that still another Honorary Member has died.

The opera- and concert singer, Kerstin Meyer, also Royal Court Singer and professor, has left our mortal life on the 14th of April at the age of 92.

A cheerful, curious, sympathetic and lovable representative of the Singers Guild has left us. By that passing, we lose one of the last important Swedish singers who sang together with Jussi Björling, a part of eternity.

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Jussi of the Month is set for April 2020

Due to the grueling Covid-19, the article on Jussi of the Month April 2020 may be postponed until further notice.


Jussi of the month March 2020

March 1935: a normal month’s work


Portrait of Jussi by Verner Molin 1935
The Stockholm Opera’s new star tenor probably experienced March 1935 as an average month’s work. He had turned 24 in the previous month. In December 1934 he and Anna-Lisa had announced their engagement, and the marriage was booked for June. According to Harald Henrysson 1935 would be the year he performed the greatest number of times he ever would: 144!

Like most months recently March included one new role for Jussi Björling which must have required rehearsals. He recorded a disc with two arias, which show remarkable developments since

 

his latest exactly one year earlier

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New honorary member of The Jussi Björling Society 2020


Sue and Harald
It is with happiness and respect we welcome Susan Flaster as new honorary member in The Jussi Björling Society. Although Sue, as most people call her, lives in Charleston, South Carolina, she has spent a lot of time in Sweden, not least in Säter, Dalecarlia,

where she spends some time of the year and lives and works with her Swedish husband, Harald Henrysson. Both has a strong connection in Jussi Björling´s life and achievement. And Sue has also meant a lot to our sister society, The Jussi Björling Society – USA, where she has been both chairman and secretary. She is still active in the American society and deals with contacts and distribution of records and books. Sue Flaster is the twenty-sixth in the row of the society´s honorary members. Welcome!


Margareta Hallin dead

The coloratura soprano Margareta Hallin, born in 1931 and one of the most accomplished Swedish singers of her time, died today 9 February. In her later years, she also took up career as a - self-taught - composer. After several years at the Royal Swedish Opera, she sang at Glyndebourne, Florence, Vienna, Hamburg, Moscow, Covent Garden and Copenhagen, but not in the US.

She never appeared in opera with Jussi, but she took part with him and other Royal Opera soloists in the Gröna Lund concert 9 June 1960, when the picture was taken. Jussi stands between her and Hjördis Schymberg. Recordings of duets with Jussi were planned in 1960 but prevented by his death. Hallin received Jussi Björlingstipendiet (The Jussi Björling Award) in 1970.

 

 


Jussi of the Month February 2020

Laborious Opening of the Leap Year 1932 for Jussi

When January 1932 dawned, less than one and a half year had passed since Jussi made his debut at the Stockholm Opera and he had already learned 14 roles. Several of these were minor roles, but a number were rather extensive: Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Arnold in Guillaume Tell and Jonathan in Carl Nielsen’s Saul og David were his three official debuts and after that Walther von der Vogelweide in Tannhäuser, Erik in Der fliegende Holländer, Count

 

Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Narraboth in Salome had been added. Undeniably a rather assignment for a youngster who not yet reached lawful age. At that you didn’t reach that age until you were 21, and Jussi had still a good month to get there when the New Year’s Bells tolled.

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Jussi of the Month January 2020

Debut number three January 1931

Two earlier “Jussi of the Month” discussed the system of three debuts as an entry requirement to be employed by opera houses in the past. For Jussi this had importance in the autumn of 1930 when he simultaneously still was a student at the Royal Music Conservatory in Stockholm and already had been contracted as a stipendiary at “Kungliga Teatern”, then the official name of the Stockholm Opera. When he made his first debut in August that year he was just 19½. It was as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni which was performed in Swedish as Don Juan. Debut number two was between Christmas and New Year’s Eve as Arnold in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell, or Wilhelm Tell. Even though we can read that he the same month was awarded the Conservatory’s jeton or medal at its finishing ceremony, something given only to its best students, he seems to have followed some of its teaching during the following months, and taken part in some student concerts. At the same time he would start his employment with the Opera in earnest. This came to last for ninth seasons: 1930/31 as a stipendiary and from summer 1931 until summer 1939 on a regular contract. In total he did fifty roles, big and small, before relinquishing his fixed employment. Of course he continued as a guest artist until his death 1960, but during this long time he added only two new roles (plus one more on records).

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Jussi of the Month December 2019

Debut number two December 1930

In an earlier “Jussi of the Month” I told how Jussi Björling took his first steps in front of an audience on an operatic stage at the Stockholm Opera in July 1930. I also explained the custom of three debuts, and how it was unique that a 19½-year-old pupil of the Opera School was already considered ready for a debut. The first one was on 20 August 1930 as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, given under the name of Don Juan. Of course it was “the boss”, the Opera’s general manager and Jussi’s teacher John Forsell, who took that rash decision.

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Jussi of the Month November 2019

About November 1959

I have already dealt with the autumn of 1959 in Jussi of the Month November 2018, but when I now return there it is from a somewhat different perspective, which may perhaps offer a further dimension to the artistry of Jussi. That Jussi’s plans for that autumn were thwarted through illness and limited to a small number of appearances has been mentioned earlier, but it interesting to realise that almost all of those appearances were recorded and, at least partially issued on records. On 20 August he gave a concert at Gröna Lund (issued on Bluebell ABCD 114). At the end of September he was in Rome and recorded Madama Butterfly with Victoria de los Angeles. In spite of some heart trouble the recording was carried through, but it was not issued until after his death. In 1961 it was awarded a Grammy for best opera recording (Warner Classics 7636342).

Click here to listen to the love duet from Madama Butterfly with Victoria de los Angeles 1959

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Jussi of the Month October 2019

InUS October 1949

The autumn of 1949 Jussi spent mainly on the American west coast and as early as the end of August he headed for Los Angeles and an outdoor concert in the gigantic Hollywood Bowl, which seats around 25,000 listeners. This time his wife Anna-Lisa accompanied him and they made several appearances together, including a concert in Honolulu on Hawaii. In the press the couple was portrayed with flower garlands around their necks. In due time, towards the end of September, Jussi also took part in the season premiere at the San Francisco Opera, where he sang in Tosca opposite Elisabetta Barbato and Lawrence Tibbett and in La bohème opposite Licia Albanese.

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An improviser among belcanto singers

The Jussi Festival at Strömsbruk 31 August – 1 September 2019

For the 14th time the Jussi Björling Society arranged their Jussi Festival at the small factory village Strömsbruk. This time Jussi’s three children Anders, Lars and Ann-Charlotte were present, which added to the festivity feeling.

From 3 p.m. Ströms Bruksorkester, a local wind band, under Rolf Hedvall, treated the audience to well-played and entertaining music while the listeners assembled.

 


Ströms Bruksorkester

 

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David Björling

(For English text, see below)

Jussi Björlings far David var hans första lärare och hade avgörande betydelse för hans och hans bröder Olle och Göstas utveckling till sångare. David framträdde tillsammans med sina söner 1915-26 i den ensemble som han kom att kalla Björlingkvartetten.

Under en vistelse i Amerika 1899-1907 utbildades David Björling till operasångare och inledde sin karriär som konsertsångare. 1919-21 återvände han dit och turnerade från kust till kust med de tre sönerna.

Till 100-årsminnet av denna turné, som inleddes i oktober 1919, har Harald Henrysson, tidigare chef för Jussi Björlingmuseet, publicerat en tvåspråkig bok. Den har titeln "David Björling och hans söner i Amerika: En sångarfamiljs saga börjar, 1899 -1921". Den 158-sidiga boken är inbunden och illustrerad i svartvitt och färg. Utgivare: Förlags AB Björnen, Borlänge. Boken behandlar Davids båda amerikanska vistelser, med en omfattande kartläggning av hans framträdanden ensam och tillsammans med sönerna. Den stora framgången för deras märkliga turné återspeglas framför allt i mängder av pressklipp.

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Jussi of the Month September 2019

August–September 1930: Jussi’s debut at the Stockholm Opera

Many probably know that Jussi Björling’s first role in opera was in the tiny part of the Lamplighter in Manon Lescaut, a role which is only 18 bars long – admittedly most of them solo – in that opera’s third act. That was 21 July 1930, and the venue was of course the Stockholm Opera, or as it says on the poster “Kungl. Teatern” (an abbreviation for “Kungliga Teatern” – The Royal Theatre). The couple who were his landlords attended his performance, but it is said that the husband missed Jussi’s appearance as it lasted only about one minute.

According to the rules in those days such a small part did not count as a debut. Jussi like other singers had to make three debuts as proof of work in view of employment. This article deals with the first of those: Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni 20 August 1930 – one month after the Lamplighter. In the

meantime, he had performed the Lamplighter once more plus another minuscule part, so the debut was his fourth performance. But before we go deeper into that we need to understand the kind of employer the Stockholm Opera of those days was, into which successful debuts could provide entry.

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High C impressed at ”Kungsan”

The Jussi Björling Society’s summer concert at Kungsträdgården (Royal Garden) this year took place on Thursday 25 July at 1.15 p.m. It was a lovely day with sunshine and warmth, perhaps too hot for the singers I thought, when the temperature rose to +29° C. Fairly early the audience began to come flocking, and when concert time was approaching it was so crowded that more chairs and benches had to be carried in. Before the programme proper began, we listened to two Jussi Björling recording, first the duet “Solenne in quest’ora” from Verdi’s The Force of Destiny together with Robert Merrill, and after that Jussi on his own in Tosti’s ”L’alba separa dalla luce l’ombra”.

Now we were in the right mood and it was time for the concert to begin. Stefan Olmårs, secretary of the Jussi Björling Society and compère of the day, entered the stage and welcomed everybody to the lunchtime concert.


Per Lindström
After that he introduced the musicians who were to entertain us, tenor Per Lindström, The Jussi Björling Society Prize Winner of 2019, baritone Bengt Krantz, Chairman of the Jussi Björling Society, and pianist

 

Anders Wadenberg, the accompanist of the day.

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Large donation to the Jussi Björling Society

Our long-standing member Kristina Åkerman Klaesson passed away two months before her 90th birthday. She bequeathed her large stock holding to ten recipients, getting one tenth each. The Swedish Jussi Björling Society is one of these and our share is approximately 202,000 SEK ( about 20 000 USD), which we acknowledge with great gratitude.


The Nineteenth Jussi Concert at Voxna Church


Ensemble 2019. From left: Lennart Eng, Lena Rieback, Bengt Krantz, Karin Mobacke, Per Lindström and Sabina Bisholt

 

With the old team in charge: Stefan Olmårs as compere, Lennart Eng at the concert grand, his daughter Maria turning the sheets and Lena Rieback as pianist for the local artist, the nineteenth Jussi Concert took place at Voxna Church on Monday 8 July. Jussi himself opened the proceedings gramophone wise with Sven Salén’s “Visa kring slånblom och månskära”, whereupon Bengt Krantz made his entrance with Idabelle Firestone’s “If I could tell you”, as an introduction to this year’s Prize Winner Per Lindström, who received the prize amounting to 60 000 SEK and an Orrefors vase, after Bengt had read his well-formulated statement of reasons for the prize. Per thanked for the prize by singing Sjöberg’s “Tonerna”.

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Jussi of the Month May 2019

June 1956: Swedish National Day, Queen Elizabeth and Recording in Rome


Jussi at Skansen June 6, 1956
Jussi had spent most of the autumn, winter and spring in North America and among other things taken part in the legendary recording of Puccini’s La bohème in New York together with Victoria de los Angeles and Robert Merrill and with Sir Thomas Beecham as conductor. An appearance in Albert Hall in London in May has also been on the agenda before June dawned. Then he was thoroughly rested and could with confidence look forward to the traditional celebration of the Swedish National Day at Solliden at Skansen on 6 June. That Jussi was in top shape was confirmed in all the reviews that are preserved in the archive of the Jussi Björling Museum. I confine myself to quoting Lennart Swahn’s as usual so witty report:

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New ”thrilling” Manon Lescaut with Jussi issued.

It wasn’t long ago that we reported on our website that a double-CD will be issued with Jussi in a performance of Manon Lescaut at the Stockholm Opera in 1959 (scroll down for more information). Now another double-CD is coming up with Manon Lescaut with Jussi! This is a performance at the Metropolitan in 1956, now issued by Pristine.

The performance is brought out as the most thrilling of Jussi’s recordings of this opera.

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New Double-CD with Jussi!

Immortal Performances will soon issue a two-CD set with Jussi. It has already had two comprehensive positive reviews, click here.

The first CD contains Manon Lescaut fron the Royal Opera 1959 with Jussi. Hjördis Schymberg and Hugo Hasslo and is perhaps Jussi’s best recorded Manon Lescaut! The second CD contains songs and arias not previously issued to some great extent, incl. Förbi, Förbi (Kuda, kuda) from Eugene Onegin from Gothenburg 1960 and O holy night from Södersjukhuset 1954. The society will come back with information on how to buy the set most conveniently.

Click here for further information from Immortal Performances.


Jussi of the Month April 2019

Hislop helps Jussi find his top notes

In July 1934 23-year-old Jussi Björling was already well established at the Stockholm Royal Opera, and the previous summer his international career had started with a guest appearance at Tivoli in Copenhagen. This summer there were no less than five concerts there (11-21 July), and in connection with these an outdoor concert in Malmö’s "People’s Park" some days earlier. Many new roles at the Royal Opera in Stockholm were waiting. Among those we associate with the “grown-up” Jussi he had so far done the main parts in RigolettoRomeo and Julia and Tosca, and one solitary performance of Un ballo in maschera. In addition he had done a large number of parts he would later relinquish, like Alfredo in La traviata or Vladimir in Prince Igor – in fact one of the roles he sang the greatest number of times. Waiting for him now were Faust, Bohème, Il tabarro and La fanciulla del West, all of which he sang for the first time in the autumn of 1934.


Helga Görlin and Jussi from Faust 25 August 1934

 

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Jussi of the Month March 2019
Jussi in Helsinki and London, March 1955

In “Jussi of the Month” January 2019 we followed Jussi Björling to Helsinki and Tampere. But he was then already booked for new appearances at the Opera in Helsinki in March the same year, and then for a cause that was very important for Finnish opera lovers: the building of a new opera house in Helsinki. Opera had been played in Helsinki to and fro since the mid-19th century, but then by visiting opera companies. However, from 1873 the newly started Finnish Opera gave regular performances, until 1879, but then they had to close down the activities due to financial problems. It was revived in 1911 by Edvard Fazer, Oskar Merikanto and Aino Ackté. To begin with it was named the Domestic Opera but from 1914 until 1956 it was the Finnish Opera. The first years they played at the National Theatre, close to the Railway Station, but from 1918 they were located to the old Russian Alexander Theatre.  

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Per Lindström reciever of the Jussi Björling Society’s Prize 2019

At the annual meeting for the Jussi Björling Society on 2 February 2019 in Borlänge, the board announced that this year’s prize of 60,000 SEK will be awarded to young tenor Per Lindström. Statement of reasons:

“The tenor sphere provides a strong temptation for many prospective male singers. Few feel however from the beginning comfortable with the heavy demands for range, equalisation, tone quality, brilliance and beauty of the tenor repertoire. Few are, so to speak, born with the so called tenoral gift. This is something one has to acquire in due time with the goal of one’s dream in sight.

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Jussi of the Month February 2019

Auctioned rarity less mysterious than we first thought

One of the world’s leading record collectors each autumn publishes an auction list. In late 2018 it included a unique, private record of Jussi: a version of “Nessun dorma” from Turandot with a dedication and signature. The recipient of this 78 rpm disc had a name unknown to us or the auctioneer, and the record was privately made with the same contents on both sides. There was no applause but an English announcement at the end.


The object of the auction

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Jussi of the Month January 2019

Jussi was proud of being of Finnish descent and he visited Finland on numerous occasions. During the war he sang at charity concerts several times and in 1951 he was happy to meet Sibelius at his home in Ainola, outside Helsinki. After all the long tours for many years, not least across the North-American continent, he was at times rather tired of travelling, but to Finland he always travelled with pleasure, as he told a Finnish journalist. In January 1955 he had an opportunity to return to “the land of the thousand lakes”, but before that he was booked for a Tosca performance at the Stockholm Opera on 14 January.

The reviewers were moderately delighted with the choice of repertoire. Stockholms-Tidningen’s Lennart Swahn resorted to strong measures: “Jussi Björling sang his Cavaradossi on Friday night for the umpteenth time, which the opera manager would not like to remember. It is by all means utterly attractive to hear Jussi in the same role over and over again and find that he is as he usually is and thus there is no need to review him, but it is much more unattractive that the assumption is reasonable that the opera management definitely has decided to limit Björling’s narrow Stockholm repertoire to two or three tenor “Golden Eggs”. You’ve heard it before! Of course, but maybe the drops some time will hollow the stone at Gustaf Adolf Square and give us Jussi in an edition that we don’t know upside-down.” After this volley Swahn rounded off his article laconically: “Birgit Nilsson supported both Jussi and Sigurd Björling in her soon world famous manner. A good performance accordingly.”

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Jussi Björling Statue Sings O Holy Night

Central Borlänge was swarming with people, a rarity in itself, in the afternoon of Advent Sunday. It was the premiere Christmas window display, but towards half past three many gathered at Jussi Björling Square to witness for the first time Jussi Björling as street singer. The statue was discretely coloured in red through spotlight illumination. Rikard Rudolfsson, Chairman of the cultural committee, and Patric Hammar, head of culture and leisure in Borlänge, greeted the crowd to attend the re-inauguration of the square, after extensive renovation work.


Photo: Hasse Eriksson

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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@outlook.com


Copenhagen Concert 1959 

Sensational discovery

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.

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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.


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.

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The Jussi Björling Museum moving

Update - The museum is not moving before 2020

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:
Jussi Björling Museet"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.


 

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

Swedish Music Hall of Fame


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.

 

Link to Stephen Crowley's article  Jussi                                                                 Bjorling’s autograph


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.

TO THE ARCHIVES


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.

TO THE INTERVIEW.


 

 

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.

The Jussi Björling Society - USA

The Jussi Björling Appreciation Society (U.K.)


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.

 

Read more about Jussi here

Listen to Jussi

Watch filmed vocal items


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.

LISTEN HERE


The Jussi Björling Society 

Support us in our activity to keep the memory of Jussi Björling alive!

To members:

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!

Apply for membership here


 

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.

Watch Jussi here

 

 

 


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!

Watch a selection of adds here 


 

 

 

The Jussi Björling Society

The Jussi Björling Society was founded on January 7, 1989. Its task is to promote interest in and spread knowledge about Jussi Björling, his vocal art, life and career.

More about The Society


Join the Society

HERE you can quickly become a member of The Jussi Björling Society. You will receive our magazine, newsletters and invitations to events and gatherings. The annual fee for 2021 is 275 SEK.

More about the membership


Welcome to the American and British Jussi Björling Societies 

 

Please click the banner.

 

 


Jussi Favourites of the Board Members

Hans Thunström presents his favourite recording.

Read about and listen to the favourite


The Jussi Björling Museum

Jussi Björling Museet

The Jussi Björling Museum Greets You!

 

BORLÄNGE  is the place where Jussi Björling was born. Here is also his own museum, the only Björling Museum in the world. "Of all singers' museums, this is the best", accordning to the late John Steane, noted British music critic.

 

Opening hours
Winter season  September–May working days Tuesday - Friday 12-17

June - August

Monday - Friday 11-17
Saturday 11-15
Sunday 11-15
Closed on June 6, Midsummer Eve and Midsummer Day

 

Link to The Jussi Björling Museum