Jussi of the Month
DURING HIS PERIOD of contract with the Royal Opera in Stockholm in the 1930s Jussi sang a large number of operatic roles for the first time. Only in the year 1933 he took on his first Alfredo in La traviata, Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Froh in Das Rheingold, Vladimir in Prince Igor (Borodin), Mats in Kronbruden (Rangström), Haroun in Djamileh (Bizet), Cavaradossi in Tosca, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and Elemer in Arabella (Richard Strauss). Besides this he recorded a number of arias and popular songs and also found time for opera- and concert tours in Sweden and Denmark.
Kurt Atterberg 1887-1974
Jussi as Martin Skarp, son of the executioner
Jussi as Martin Skarp and Helga Görlin as Rosamund, the Duke´s daughter
Nils Grevillius 1887-1974
At the world premiere Nils Grevillius conducted the Royal Orchestra and the Opera Chorus. In other roles Helga Görlin, Gösta Bäckelin, Joel Berglund and Leon Björker appeared. The best known aria is Martin Skarp’s I männer över lag och rätt where he pleads to be exempted from the duty to inherit the job as executioner from his father. That the aria became very popular is shown by the fact that Jussi sang the role no less than 23 times.
Helga Görlin 1900-1993, Joel Berglund 1903-1985 and Leon Björker 1900-1962
Jussi recorded the aria on 4 March 1935 with Nils Grevillius conducting. The record is available on CD on Nimbus NI 7835 and Naxos 8.110722S. The record was Jussi’s only “creator’s record”, i.e. performed by the artist who sang at the world premiere 1934.
Elisabeth Söderström remembered that her father bought the record, which immediately became her favourite together with Jussi’s recording of Till havs.
Finally it’s worth mentioning that Fanal was seen in a new production at the Royal Opera in 1957. Since certain scenes required large crowds, interested extras were brought in, one of them being yours truly.
Lars Hemmingsson, Honorary Chairman of The Jussi Björling Society.