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The Minnesota Conference: Plans Take Shape

by Sue Flaster

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. We believe this will be the principal US celebration of Jussi's centennial, and we are very enthusiastic about this opportunity to meet again in Jussi Björling Recital Hall.

Many of us have warm memories of the JB Society conference held in St. Peter in 2001. Since then, we've been together in NY, Sweden and Charleston, but the meeting at Gustavus Adolphus had many special qualities: we were all together conveniently for meals, the events themselves were concentrated at the College and we were treated to the warm hospitality of Jan and Anders Björling. This year, Anders has again offered to host a party for attendees at his home, an exciting prospect for us.

The conference plans are taking shape and I hope you will be as excited as I am about a varied and entertaining program, with engaging talks and good music. The great American baritone Sherrill Milnes will give us a talk on “The Verdi baritone.” Mr. Milnes will be introduce by Barrett Crawford of the Leonard Warren Foundation. Many of us remember Barry from his very fine talk at the New York conference.

Stephen Hastings will join us again, always an exciting and illuminating prospect.

Harald Henrysson will present his new huge JB database, encompassing the updated PHONOGRAPHY as well as the performance chronology.

Bengt Krantz, president of the Scandinavian Sällskapet will travel over---a real bonus from friendship and vocal points of view.

Richard Copeman will represent the Jussi Björling Appreciation Society and also share new insights about the March, 1960 London performance of La bohème.

Dan Shea and Seth Winner will talk to us about the fantastic CD project your Society issued recently (through the good offices of Fred Maroth of WHRA). We have reprinted the report of the Scandinavian Society’s public presentation in the latest issue of the Journal.

We will have copies of Jacob Forsell’s elegant new book about JB, THE MUSIC, THE MAN, THE PICTURES, as well as the editor himself, carrying his grandfather’s notebooks and his own memories.

On Friday evening there will be a concert in the Jussi Björling Recital Hall featuring the great mezzo soprano (and Royal Court Singer) Ingrid Tobiasson, tenor Mats Carlsson and Sällskapet President/baritone Bengt Krantz.

The conference will officially close on Saturday evening with a gala dinner.

Just as some participants in the 2001 conference moved on to Santa Fe for other musical activities, it should be possible for folks to arrange to travel together to San Francisco for the SFO "Ring" cycle.

Practical matters: Please note and ACT
The closest major airport is Minneapolis International. From there, you can either rent a car and drive about 80 miles Southwest to St. Peter and Gustavus, or take the Land to air express shuttle. One can either book a seat on-line or by calling (507) 625-3977. Round-trip fare should be about $50 (but we’re still negotiating for a better price!).

The costs for the 4 nights and 3 days at the College will be $450 per person.
Please forward a deposit of $50 by April 1 to:

C/O Mr. Art Skantz
8317 West Franklin Avenue
St. Louis Park, MN 55426

The balance should be sent to Art by June 1, 2011.