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Nicolai Gedda

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The Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda (born July 11, 1925) is a famous opera singer and recitalist. Having made some two hundred recordings, Gedda is said to be the most widely-recorded tenor in history. Gedda’s singing is best known for his beauty of tone, vocal control, and musical perception.

Nicolai Harry Gustav Gedda (Nikolaj Ustinov in Russian) was born in Stockholm to a Swedish mother and a Russian father. His father, a distant relative of Peter Ustinov, sang bass in a Don Cossack choir and was cantor in a Russian Orthodox church. Gedda grew up bilingual and learned English, German, Italian, and Latin.

Gedda began his professional career as a bank teller in a local bank in Stockholm. One day a wealthy client overheard him speaking about his desire to sing professionally, and offered to pay for his tuition to study with Carl Martin Öhman, a well known Wagnerian tenor from the 1920s who also discovered Jussi Björling.

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