Jussi Bjorling, Verdi And Puccini

Adam Sweeting

By Adam Sweeting

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
One of the greatest Swedish tenors of all time.

Hailing from a musical Swedish family, the young Jussi spent his formative years performing with the Bjorling Male Quartet, a sort of art-song Jackson 5. His subsequent career as a fully-fledged tenor was spectacular but tragically brief, curtailed by heart disease at the age of 49. Nonetheless, he'd had time to stamp himself on all the major roles from the French and Italian repertoires, from Gounod and Berlioz to Puccini, Verdi, Mascagni et al. Despite some deficiencies as an actor, he was a regular star at the Met in New York in the '40s and ’50s. The Verdi & Puccini album gathers highlights from favourites like La Bohème, Tosca, La Traviata, Aida and Rigoletto. (There's even a chance to hear Bjorling singing in Swedish.) He handles "Ingemisco," from Verdi's Requiem, with an appropriate mixture of humility and rapture.