Delightful Operatic Tones in Kungsan
IN STOCKHOLM’S OLDEST PARK, KUNGSTRÄDGÅRDEN (The King’s Garden), dating from the 15th Century, there are two avenues named after two of the world’s greatest opera singers. The west avenue is called “Jussi Björling Avenue” and was inaugurated in 1998, and the west avenue is called “Birgit Nilsson Avenue”, inaugurated in 2007. The avenues have connections with the Royal Opera, situated nearby.
Record Attendance when Jussi Björling Appeared in Kungsan
Between the avenues is the outdoor stage of Kungsan. Jussi appeared only once here, on 11 September 1953 during Stockholm’s 700th Anniversary. In spite of the very chilly evening 70,000 listeners were gathered in Kungsan!!! An all-time record attendance.
Through Kungsträdgården Jussi often walked on his way from his apartment to his working site, the Royal Opera at Gustav Adolf Square. The address of the stage is, suitably, 5 Jussi Björling Avenue.
Jussi receives flowers from Kerstin Bernadotte on 11 September 1953
The Opera Concert in Kungsan on 6 August 2014
The sun is beaming from a clear blue sky, the heat is sultry, 27 degrees centigrade in the shade and the guard-mounting parade has just marched by along Kungsträdgårdsgatan. An expectant audience has gathered in front of the Kungsan stage.
At 12:15 sharp the compère Sören Tranberg entered the stage and greeted the audience.
The four singers were to entertain the audience with a mix of Nordic songs and well known opera arias by Puccini, Gounod and Verdi, accompanied by Majsan Dahling and Henrik Kilhamn.
Tenor Per-Håkan Precht accompanied by Majsan Dahling
Tenor Per-Håkan Precht sang Till havs by Gustaf Nordqvist, Jungfrun under lind by Wilhelm Peterson-Berger and Nessun dorma from Turandot by Puccini with the two sopranos as chorus.
Hanna Wåhlin, soprano, sang Säf, säf, susa by Jean Sibelius, Flickan kom ifrån sin älsklings möte by Wilhelm Stenhammar, the Jewel song from Faust by Charles Gounod and O mio babbino caro from Gianni Schicchi by Puccini.
Bengt Krantz, baritone and chairman of the Jussi Björling Society, sang Tonerna by Carl Leopold Sjöberg, Säg mig godnatt by Lilian Ray and Di Provenza il mar from La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi.
The Norwegian soprano Hege Gustava Tjønn Ludwig performed Violetta’s aria from La traviata and Chi il bel sogno di Doretta from La rondine by Puccini.
Per-Håkan Precht and Hege Gustava Tjønn Ludwig performed the duet O soave fanciulla from La bohème by Puccini.
The summer-hot listeners had a field-day enjoying delightful operatic tones and classy entertainment.
The programme activities in Kungsan started in 1953.
The programme activities in Kungsan started in connection with the 700 year celebrations in the summer of 1953. Then the company was formed that later was named Kungsträdgården Park & Entertainment Ltd – a subsidiary company completely owned by the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. By order of Stockholm City the company is responsible for entertainment, information, exhibitions, administration and co-ordination of all the operations in the park.
From the very beginning it was decided that the activities were to be self-financed, that the public would have free access to entertainment, information, recreation and amusement; artist-programmes and exhibitions will be accessible free of charge.