Jussi Björling, (Björling’s more formal name was Johan Jonaton Björling), was born February 2, 1911, Stora Tuna, Sweden, and he died on September 9, 1960, Siarö, near Stockholm. He was a Swedish tenor who was admired for the musicianship of his performances, particularly in the Italian and French repertoires.
At the age of six Björling began singing under the guidance of his father, who then took him and his two brothers on tours in Scandinavia and the United States as a vocal quartet. At 17 he began his studies at the Royal Opera School in Stockholm, where he made his operatic debut in 1930 as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. He appeared as guest performer in several opera houses in Europe before achieving a huge success at Covent Garden, London, in 1936. In the following year he gave his premiere performances in the United States, first on the radio, then on stage in Chicago.
Björling was a full lyric tenor, whose exquisite musicianship and vocal production has long since vanished from this earth. Listen for the unimpeded flow of breath and tone. The air seems as if it goes straight to the resonating cavities of the head and face. His was a very beautiful voice.