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JBS-USA is delighted to announce that the celebratory year of our 20th anniversary will kick off with a mini-conference in Washington, D.C. November 17th and 18th along with the issue of a very special members-only CD. We will begin on Friday the 17th by attending a rehearsal of Washington Concert Opera’s presentation of Bellini’s La straniera at the Lissner Auditorium. Those of us who attended this company’s Semiramide a couple of years ago, and the D.C. members who regularly attend their productions, can attest to the very high level of performance we can expect.
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By Walter B. Rudolph
JBS-USA Conference in Salt Lake City
Immediately after arriving by boat in New York City, Jussi and Anna-Lisa Björling flew to Provo, Utah where he gave his first American performance for the 1939-40 season on November 20th, 1939 in the Provo Tabernacle (photo).
Revealing a golden tenor voice of rare beauty, Jussi Bjoerling, of Metropolitan Opera fame, sang his way into the hearts of more than 2000 people at the University-Community concert Monday night in the tabernacle. (The Daily Herald, November 21, 1939)
Newsletter of the Jussi Björling Societies of the USA & UK
No. 20 - November 2011
Although there is an huge slate of exciting events planned for 2011 in Sweden, many of our members here may not wish to travel that far (or that expensively!). With that in mind, the Jussi Björling Society-USA will host a commemorative conference in St. Peter, MN, at Gustavus Adolphus College, June 22-26 of 2011.
In a powerful impulse of national pride, H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf has become the official patron of the Jussi Björling centennial celebrations. The centennial committee has also gathered in a tremendous financial contribution from Swedish real estate magnate Stefan Sundh, (coincidentally, Bengt Krantz’s cousin), and a sizeable award from Barbro Osher’s Pro Suecia Foundation. There were also two smaller private donations.
By David Hill
After arriving in Stockholm (July 10), we bid a fond farewell to our bus driver, Björn, and most of our Swedish companions, and boarded the Silja-line ferry Symphony for Helsinki. The ship was more of a floating shopping mall than a cruise ship, but a good time was had by all as we spread ourselves from Commodore Class to Steerage. Some of us slept, some took in the Casino and bar, and Don thought that he had been able to get a glimpse of Sairo. A peaceful night, the Baltic was very calm, and by daylight we were steaming amongst the islands of the Helsinki archipelago.
The 2007 Summer JBS Swedish safari opened on July 4th in Borlänge at the Jussi Björling Museum there, a place that some of us regard as the “center of the universe.” This year’s Museum program was unusual in the emphasis on singers other than JB, and on aspects of Jussi in areas other than singing. Really. Harald welcomed all with good cheer (and a new haircut), and we got a running start on a couple of very full days.
John Steane gave his talk unscripted. This is an edited version, preserving the spoken idiom but reconstructed slightly for purposes of readability.
Ladies and gentlemen, I bring greetings for the conference from Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. She asked me the other day: “What are you doing?” And although that question may sound a little accusatory it was in fact very friendly and I said: “I’m going to Stockholm.” She said: “Oh! How lovely! What are you doing there?” And so I told her. And she said: “Ah! I sang with him you know. And it was one of the great events in my life.” She said: “Will you please give my kinds regards to all the people present and tell them how I join with them in honouring a great artist and a very great man.” So I pass these greetings on to you from her.
Kesting Considers Björling in Historical Perspective, as One of the Twentieth Century’s Key Tenors after Caruso
Jürgen Kesting is a prominent German music critic and author of the monumental three-volume Die grossen Sänger as well as of highly original studies of Callas and Pavarotti. In his lecture “The exception to every rule: the role of the tenor since Caruso,” Kesting provided a fascinating examination of Björling’s position among singers and key features of his vocal technique.
Fans of the late Swedish tenor Jussi Björling converged on Stockholm and Borlänge, Sweden, during September 8th-13th. They came from all around the world to attend an International Congress that chronicled Björling’s extraordinary life and career.
Let’s take one more look at our October 2002 conference: One way to get a sense of the occasion is to look at the actual program for that event. You’ll find a facsimile of the program below, along with a transcript of Regina Resnik’s especially insightful reminiscences of Jussi made during George Jellinek’s panel program on October 26.