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Jussi Björling

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Jussi Björling (5 February 1911 – 9 September 1960) was a Swedish tenor and one of most highly regarded opera singers of the 20th century. Björling was one of the few non-Latin tenors to rival the Italian dominance of the opera world at that time.

Björling was born in Borlänge. He studied singing with his father, David, an accomplished vocalist, and made his debut public appearance at the age of four with the Björling Male Quartet. The group performed in concerts throughout Sweden and the United States for eleven and a half years.

Björling made his professional operatic debut as the Lamplighter in Manon Lescaut at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm in 1930. This was soon followed by Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Arnoldo in Rossini’s William Tell and Almaviva in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. This in turn led to engagements in Europe and the USA. Björling made his American concert debut in Carnegie Hall in 1937; the following year, he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Rodolfo in La bohème.

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