Jussi Björling impressive Swedish tenor 1911 – 60

Jussi Björling eminent Swedish tenor 1911 - 60 Jussi Björling - tenor 1911 - 60

Johan Jonatan ”Jussi” Björling (first name Finnish: [ˈjusːi], surname Swedish: [ˈbjœːrlɪŋ]; 5 February 1911 – 9 September 1960) was a Swedish tenor. One of the leading operatic singers of the 20th century, Björling appeared for many years at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and less frequently at the major European opera houses, including the Royal Opera House in London and La Scala in Milan. He sang the Italian, French and Russian opera repertory with taste.

Jussi Björling impressive Swedish tenor 1911 – 60

Early life

Björling (surname also spelled as ”Bjoerling” and ”Bjorling” in English-language sources) was born in Stora Tuna, Borlänge, Dalarna, Sweden, in February 1911. The midwife’s register shows he was born on 5 February, but the church baptism records erroneously show 2 February, and that was the day on which he celebrated his birthday throughout his life.  His father, David, was an accomplished singer and the first teacher of Jussi and his two brothers, Olle and Gösta, who also went on to become professional singers. He also performed with his sons as Björlingkvartetten or the Björling Male Quartet. Jussi made his debut public appearance at five years of age.The group performed in concerts throughout Sweden and the United States for eleven and a half years. David Björling died in 1926, leading to the disbandment of the quartet and, as a consequence, Jussi Björling found work as a lamp salesman in Ystad. In 1928, Björling made his radio debut. In the same year, he auditioned for John Forsell, and was admitted to the Opera School and the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.


Björling made his first stage appearance in the small part as the Lamplighter in Manon Lescaut at the Royal Swedish Opera on 21 July 1930. This was soon followed by his official debut role as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni on 20 August 1930, with his teacher John Forsell as the protagonist. His other two official debut roles followed; Arnold in Rossini’s William Tell on 27 December, and Jonatan in Saul og David by Carl Nielsen on 13 January 1931. This led to a contract with the Royal Swedish Opera, where Björling added 53 parts up to 1938. Among the roles he was entrusted was Erik in Der fliegende Holländer, Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, Duca in Rigoletto, Wilhelm Meister in Mignon, Faust, Vasco Da Gama in L’Africaine, Rodolfo in La bohème with Hjördis Schymberg, Tonio in La fille du régiment, Florestan in Fidelio and Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He was the first Swedish Dick Johnson in La fanciulla del West, Luigi in Il tabarro, Elemer in Arabella and Vladimir in Prince Igor, notably performing the part opposite Feodor Chaliapin in 1935.

In July 1931 he appeared in recital at Copenhagen’s Tivoli, his first appearance outside Sweden as an adult. Björling appeared quite frequently as a recitalist, often appearing in summer recitals in Scandinavian folkparks and tivolis, while confining himself to more serious music during his recital tours abroad. In 1936–1937 he first appeared in recital and opera in Vienna and Prague and also appeared in Berlin, Dresden and Nuremberg in operas in Swedish in an otherwise German ensemble. In 1937 Björling made his recital debut in London and his first American tour as an adult. Björling made his American concert debut at the Carnegie Hall in 1937 – also appearing in opera in Chicago that year. On 24 November 1938 he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Rodolfo in La bohème, where he remained on the roster until 1941, often appearing in opera in San Francisco and Chicago as well.

In December 1940 Arturo Toscanini invited Björling to sing the tenor part in Beethoven’s Missa solemnis in New York, a recording of which exists. Björling also performed the Verdi Requiem under Toscanini in 1939 in Lucerne, Switzerland, and in November 1940 in New York, another performance that was recorded and eventually issued as an LP.

Björling made his debut at the Royal Opera House in London in 1939 as Manrico in Il trovatore. The war confined his appearances to Europe. He appeared in opera in Copenhagen, Helsinki and Budapest and made his Italian debut at the Teatro Comunale, Florence, in 1943 in Il trovatore. In 1944 Björling was appointed hovsångare by the Swedish King, Gustaf V.

In 1945 Björling returned to the US and appeared frequently at the Metropolitan Opera. He sang many major tenor roles in operas in the French and Italian repertoire, including Il trovatore, Rigoletto, Aida, Un ballo in maschera, Cavalleria rusticana, Faust, Roméo et Juliette, La bohème, Madama Butterfly, Tosca and Manon Lescaut. He appeared as Don Carlo in the opening of the 1950–1951 season, but the relationship with Rudolf Bing was strained, and as a consequence he was absent for a couple of seasons in the mid 1950s. Meanwhile, Björling appeared with other American opera companies such as Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera.

Björling appeared at La Scala in 1946 in Rigoletto and 1951 in Un ballo in maschera. His planned Paris début in 1953 was cancelled however, and except for recitals in United Kingdom, some performances in Yugoslavia, East Germany and South Africa in 1954, Björling rarely appeared outside Scandinavia and United States.

On 15 March 1960 Björling suffered a heart attack before a performance of La Bohème at Covent Garden. He insisted on singing in spite of his condition.[6] Björling then made a short American tour, making his last operatic performance as Faust in San Francisco on 1 April 1960 and his final recital at Skansen, Stockholm, on 20 August 1960 (thirty years to the day after his official debut in 1930). He died of cardiomegaly (an enlarged heart) on the island of Siarö [sv], Sweden, on 9 September 1960, aged 49.


In 1951, Robert Merrill and Björling did a series of duet recordings, including a noted recording of ”Au fond du temple saint” from the opera Les pêcheurs de perles by Georges Bizet. One of Björling’s first LP sets was a 1952 studio recording of the complete Il trovatore, with Zinka Milanov, for RCA Victor. In 1953, he recorded the roles of Turiddu and Canio in complete versions of Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci for RCA Victor.

In the summer of 1954 Björling recorded Puccini’s Manon Lescaut in Rome with Licia Albanese as Manon, and in 1955 he recorded the role of Radames in Verdi’s Aida opposite Milanov in the title role. With Victoria de los Ángeles and Merrill, Björling made a widely admired recording of Puccini’s La bohème conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham. Björling’s recording of Madame Butterfly, with de los Angeles in the title role and conducted by Gabriele Santini, is widely celebrated. In Victoria de los Angeles’s biography by Peter Roberts (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1982), de los Angeles noted that ”In spite of technical developments, none of the Jussi Björling recordings give you the true sound of his voice. It was a far, far more beautiful voice than you can hear on the recordings he left”.

Björling sang the part of Mario Cavaradossi in the 1957 complete stereo recording of Tosca, recorded by RCA Victor in Rome with Erich Leinsdorf conducting. The tenor was awarded the 1959 Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance – Vocal Soloist (With Or Without Orchestra) for his RCA Victor recital album, Björling in Opera.

In 1956, he appeared in an episode of the NBC television anthology Producers’ Showcase. The episode was one of two programmes entitled Festival of Music, and was hosted by Charles Laughton (José Ferrer hosted the second Festival of Music programme). Björling can be seen with soprano Renata Tebaldi in two arias from La bohème. Both Festival of Music programmes, originally telecast in colour, have since been released on black-and-white kinescopes on DVD.

One of his final recordings was the Verdi Requiem conducted by Fritz Reiner for RCA Victor which was recorded in June 1960 with Leontyne Price, Rosalind Elias, Giorgio Tozzi, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the chorus of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde.

Personal life

Björling was known as the ”Swedish Caruso”.  His son Rolf, a successful tenor in his own right (although not at the level of his famous father), and his grandson Raymond are inheritors of the unique Björling ”sound”.

His widow, Anna-Lisa Björling, published a biography with the cooperation of Andrew Farkas that described Björling as a loving family man and generous colleague. However, Anna-Lisa did not attempt in the book to hide the destructive influence of Björling’s alcoholism.


Jussi’s statue in the square named after him in Borlänge, Dalarna, Sweden (60.486204°N 15.433857°E)
Gröna Lunds Tivolis Jussi Björling-stipendium (The Gröna Lund Jussi Björling Award) was established in 1963 by the Stockholm amusement park where Björling often sang, for its 80th anniversary.

Jussi Björlings Minnesstipendium (Jussi Björlingstipendiet) was established in 1970 and is administered by Stiftelsen Kungliga Teaterns Solister (The Royal Opera Soloists Foundation) in Stockholm.

The Jussi Björling Recital Hall was dedicated at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota, in 1970.

The Jussi Björling Tenor Competition took place in Borlänge in 1994. 125 tenors from 38 countries participated and winner was the Chinese Deng Xiao-Jun.

Jussi Björlingmuseet (The Jussi Björling Museum) was opened in Borlänge in 1994.

Björling’s name is now used with the prestigious Jussi Björling Music Scholarship at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.

An archive of nearly all of Björling’s recorded performances, photographs, letters, recital and opera programmes, reviews, obituaries, and other items related to his career is maintained at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University Bloomington.

Luciano Pavarotti, in a 1988 interview for the Swedish daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, stated: ”When I’m about to train a new opera, I first listen to how Jussi Björling did it. His voice was unique and it’s his path that I want to follow. I would more than anything else wish that people compared me with Jussi Björling. That’s how I’m striving to sing.”

Awards and citations

During his lifetime, Björling received many orders, decorations, honorary citizenships and other honours from monarchs, governments and cultural and charity organizations in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Belgium, Greece, Hungary and the US.

Appointed Hovsångare (Royal Court Singer) by the King of Sweden in 1944.
Elected member of Kungl. Musikaliska Akademien (Royal Swedish Academy of Music) in 1956.
Received Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance, 1960 (for LP ”Bjoerling in Opera”)
Ranked greatest singer of the century by Classic CD (United Kingdom) ”Top Singers of the Century” Critics’ Poll (June 1999).
He has a chair dedicated to him in Kilbourn Hall at the internationally renowned Eastman School of Music
Entered Gramophone’s Hall of Fame in 2012.


Complete works issued on CD

Aida, RCA (studio), 1955.
Un ballo in maschera, Met, 1940; New Orleans, 1950.
La bohème, Met, 1948; RCA (studio), 1956.
Cavalleria rusticana, RCA (studio), 1953; Stockholm Opera, 1954 (other singers in Swedish); Decca/RCA (studio), 1957; Met, 1959.
Don Carlos, Met, 1950.
Faust, Met, 1950 & 1959.
Madama Butterfly, EMI (studio), 1959.
Manon Lescaut, Met, 1949 & 1956; RCA (studio), 1954; Stockholm Opera, 1959 (other singers in Swedish).
Missa solemnis (Beethoven), NBC broadcast, 1940.
Pagliacci, RCA (studio), 1953; Stockholm Opera, 1954 (sung in Swedish).
Requiem (Verdi), NBC broadcast, 1940; Decca/RCA (studio), Vienna, 1960.
Rigoletto, Met, 1945; RCA (studio), 1956; Stockholm Opera, 1957.
Roméo et Juliette, Stockholm Opera, 1940 (sung in Swedish); Met, 1947.
Tosca, RCA (studio), 1957.
La traviata, Stockholm Opera, 1939 (sung in Swedish).
Il trovatore, Covent Garden, 1939; Met, 1941 & 1947; RCA (studio), 1952; Stockholm Opera, 1957 & 1960.
Turandot, Decca/RCA (studio), 1959.
Larger general collections on CD

Jussi Björling: The Swedish Caruso, EMI Classics 2 17313 2 (5 CDs, 2008)
Jussi Björling: The Complete RCA Album Collection, RCA 88697748922 (14 CDs, 2011)
The Very Best of Jussi Björling, EMI Classics 6 78997 2 (2 CDs, 2012)
Jussi Björling Collection, Naxos 8.101101 (11 CDs, 2012. Comprises studio recordings. CDs 1–8 earlier issued separately. Released in Sweden with notes in Swedish only.)
Jussi Björling: The Swedish Caruso, Documents 600034 (10 CDs, 2013)
Jussi Björling: The Worldstar Live on Stage, Documents 600129 (10 CDs, 2013)
Selection of special collections and concerts on CD

Jussi Björling Live: Holland 1939, Norway 1954, Bluebell ABCD 006 (1 CD, 1987)
Jussi Björling: The Atlanta Recital 13 April 1959, Bluebell ABCD 020 (1 CD, 1989)
Jussi Björling in Song and Ballad, Bluebell ABCD 050 (1 CD, 1993)
Jussi Bjoerling: Rarities, VAI Audio VAIA 1189 (1 CD, 2000)
Jussi Björling: Fram för framgång: Film and Radio Recordings, Bluebell ABCD 092 (1 CD, 2002)
The Jussi Björling Series: Radamès, Alfredo, Roméo, Bluebell ABCD 103 (2 CDs, 2006)
Jussi Björling In Song, Testament SBT 1427 (1 CD, 2008)
Jussi Björling Live: Broadcast Concerts 1937–1960, West Hill Radio Archives WHRA-6036 (4 CDs, 2010)
Bjoerling Sings at Carnegie Hall, RCA 88697858222 (1 CD, 2011)
Jussi at Gröna Lund: Complete recordings 1950–1960, Bluebell ABCD 114 (3 CDs, 2011)
Jussi Björling in Concert: Finland & the U.S.A. (1940–1957), Bluebell ABCD 116 (2 CDs, 2012)
A complete list of Björling’s recordings and their CD and DVD issues is available on the Jussi Björling Museum’s website.

På svenska

Johan Jonatan ”Jussi” Björling, född 5 februari 1911 i Borlänge i Kopparbergs län (Dalarna, död 9 september 1960 på Siarö i Stockholms skärgård, var en svensk opera- och konsertsångare (tenor). Han utnämndes till hovsångare 1944, belönades med Litteris et Artibus 1945 och invaldes som ledamot 675 av Kungliga Musikaliska Akademien 1956.

Jussi Björling föddes i Stora Tuna socken i Borlänge och var bror till sångarna Olle Björling och Gösta Björling. De tre bröderna skolades först i sång av sin far, sångaren David Björling, och turnerade under namnet Björlingkvartetten i Nordamerika och Norden. Sedan fadern dött hamnade Jussi Björling som springpojke i Ystad, där violinisten och bassångaren Salomon Smith ordnade kontakt med operasångaren Martin Öhman, för vilken Björling sedan provsjöng 1928. Han fick 21 augusti 1928 provsjunga för Kungliga Operans chef John Forsell, som i sin anteckningsbok noterade Märkvärdigt bra, fenomen. 17 år. Bör anammas o skötas! Bör kunna bli ngt Han antogs därefter till Stockholms musikkonservatorium, med samme Forsell samt Tullio Voghera (1879–1943) som lärare.

Lykttändaren i Manon Lescaut

Första gången som Björling framträdde i en operaroll var den 21 juli 1930 på Kungliga teatern i Stockholm i rollen som lykttändaren i Puccinis Manon Lescaut. Hans debut i en huvudroll ägde rum en månad senare, i rollen som Don Ottavio i Mozarts Don Juan. Björling fick anställning på Operan 1931 och blev kvar där till 1938, en expansiv period med cirka 40 nya stora roller, främst inom den franska och italienska repertoaren. Genombrottet för Björling kom när han 1931 uppträdde på Tivoli i Köpenhamn och en samstämmig kritikerkår lovordade hans sång.

Den internationella karriären tog fart först 1935 i Europa och 1937 i USA. Björling slog igenom internationellt i Wien 1936 som Rodolphe i Bohème, Manrico i Trubaduren och Radamès i Aida. Metropolitan Opera, La Scala i Milano, Covent Garden i London, operan i Wien, Chicago och San Francisco – överallt gjorde han succé. Hans paradroller var exempelvis i Rigoletto, Tosca, Aida, Bohème och Faust. Med avbrott för kriget, var Metropolitan i New York från 1938 och fram till hans död Björlings huvudscen. Under samma period gästspelade Björling 128 gånger på Operan i Stockholm. Han sjöng även in lite mera schlagerbetonade sånger under pseudonymen Erik Odde.

Kungliga Teatern

Jussi Björling medverkade i 60 produktioner  och 628 föreställningar mellan åren 1930-1960 på Kungliga Teatern

Metropolitan Opera

[Met Performance] CID:124040 
La Bohème {330}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/24/1938
Debuts: Mafalda Favero, Marisa Morel, Jussi Björling
[Met Performance] CID:124110
La Bohème {331}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/30/1938
[Met Performance] CID:124140
Il Trovatore {204}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/2/1938
[Met Performance] CID:124250
Il Trovatore {205}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/10/1938
[Met Performance] CID:127370
Faust {419}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/28/1939
[Met Performance] CID:127430
Rigoletto {233}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/1/1940
[Met Performance] CID:127450
Faust {420}
American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 01/2/1940
[Met Performance] CID:127490
La Bohème {339}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/5/1940
Debut: Jarmila Novotna
[Met Performance] CID:127620
La Bohème {340}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/15/1940
[Met Performance] CID:130000
New production
Un Ballo in Maschera {23}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/2/1940
Opening Night {56}
Edward Johnson, General Manager
Debuts: Alexander Sved, Mary Smith, Mstislav Dobujinsky
[Met Performance] CID:130120
New production
Il Trovatore {207}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/12/1940
Debuts: Norina Greco, Ferruccio Calusio, Mary Percy Schenck
[Met Performance] CID:130140
Un Ballo in Maschera {24}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/14/1940
Debut: Lilla Volkova
[Met Performance] CID:130180
Un Ballo in Maschera {25}
American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 12/17/1940
[Met Performance] CID:130240
Un Ballo in Maschera {26}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/21/1940
[Met Performance] CID:130270
Faust {427}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/25/1940
[Met Performance] CID:130340
Il Trovatore {208}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/30/1940
[Met Performance] CID:130450
Un Ballo in Maschera {27}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/8/1941
[Met Performance] CID:130490
Il Trovatore {209}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/11/1941
[Met Performance] CID:130830
Rigoletto {237}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/8/1941
Debut: Josephine Tuminia
[Met Performance] CID:131060
Rigoletto {238}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/27/1941
[Met Performance] CID:140040
Rigoletto {262}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/29/1945
[Met Performance] CID:140090
Tosca {270}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/5/1945
[Met Performance] CID:140150
Rigoletto {263}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/10/1945
[Met Performance] CID:140260
Tosca {271}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/20/1945
[Met Performance] CID:140360  Opera News
Rigoletto {264}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/29/1945
[Met Performance] CID:140390
La Bohème {386}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/1/1946
[Met Concert/Gala] CID:140450
Gala Program
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/6/1946
[Met Performance] CID:140470
Tosca {272}
American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 01/8/1946
[Met Performance] CID:140500
Tosca {273}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/11/1946
[Met Performance] CID:141550
Un Ballo in Maschera {43}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/17/1946
[Met Performance] CID:141590
Rigoletto {268}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/20/1946
[Met Performance] CID:141690
La Bohème {393}
Cleveland Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio; 04/28/1946
[Met Performance] CID:141750
La Bohème {395}
Northrup Memorial auditorium, Minneapolis, Minnesota; 05/4/1946
[Met Performance] CID:143380
La Bohème {396}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/19/1946
[Met Performance] CID:143430
Faust {458}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/23/1946
[Met Performance] CID:143690
Roméo et Juliette {188}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/15/1947
[Met Performance] CID:143810
La Bohème {398}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/25/1947
[Met Performance] CID:143820
Il Trovatore {230}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/27/1947
[Met Performance] CID:143870  Opera News
Roméo et Juliette {189}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/1/1947
[Met Performance] CID:144530
Il Trovatore {232}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/5/1947
[Met Performance] CID:146470
Rigoletto {279}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/25/1947
[Met Performance] CID:146500
Il Trovatore {236}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/27/1947
[Met Performance] CID:146550
Cavalleria Rusticana {332}
Pagliacci {371}

Metropolitan Opera House; 12/31/1947
[Met Performance] CID:146590
La Bohème {407}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/3/1948
[Met Performance] CID:146650
Un Ballo in Maschera {49}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/8/1948
[Met Performance] CID:146680
Rigoletto {280}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/10/1948
[Met Performance] CID:147260
Il Trovatore {237}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/1/1948
[Met Performance] CID:147580
La Bohème {413}
Lyric Theatre, Baltimore, Maryland; 03/30/1948
[Met Performance] CID:147630
La Bohème {414}
Fox Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia; 04/3/1948
[Met Performance] CID:147670
Un Ballo in Maschera {51}
Fair Park Auditorium,Dallas, Texas; 04/8/1948
[Met Performance] CID:147740
Il Trovatore {238}
Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California; 04/16/1948
[Met Performance] CID:147810
Un Ballo in Maschera {52}
Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California; 04/21/1948
[Met Performance] CID:147880
Tosca {283}
University of Nebraska Coliseum, Lincoln, Nebraska; 04/28/1948
[Met Performance] CID:147900
Cavalleria Rusticana {338}
Pagliacci {377}

Municipal Auditorium, St. Louis, Missouri; 04/30/1948
[Met Performance] CID:147970
Il Trovatore {239}
Northrup Memorial Auditorium, Minneapolis, Minnesota; 05/8/1948
[Met Performance] CID:148020
Il Trovatore {240}
Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio; 05/13/1948
[Met Performance] CID:148060
Un Ballo in Maschera {53}
Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio; 05/15/1948
[Met Performance] CID:149040
Il Trovatore {241}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/3/1948
[Met Performance] CID:149170
Revised Production
La Bohème {418}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/16/1948
[Met Performance] CID:149230
Il Trovatore {243}
American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 12/21/1948
[Met Performance] CID:149270
La Bohème {419}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/25/1948
[Met Performance] CID:149360
Il Trovatore {244}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/3/1949
[Met Performance] CID:150290
Il Trovatore {247}
Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts; 03/29/1949
[Met Performance] CID:150390
Rigoletto {292}
Cleveland Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio; 04/7/1949
[Met Performance] CID:152010  
New production
Manon Lescaut {69}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/23/1949
Debut: H. M. Krehan-Crayon
[Met Performance] CID:152030
Tosca {285}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/26/1949
Debuts: Elisabetta Barbato, Denis Harbour
[Met Performance] CID:152050
Manon Lescaut {70}
American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 11/29/1949
[Met Performance] CID:152120
Tosca {286}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/5/1949
[Met Performance] CID:152170  Opera News
Manon Lescaut {71}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/10/1949
[Met Performance] CID:152220
Tosca {287}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/15/1949
[Met Performance] CID:153350
Tosca {292}
Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts; 03/30/1950
[Met Performance] CID:153540
Manon Lescaut {77}
Cleveland Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio; 04/15/1950
[Met Performance] CID:153790
Tosca {298}
Civic Opera House, Chicago, Illinois; 05/8/1950
[Met Performance] CID:153830
Rigoletto {304}
Civic Opera House, Chicago, Illinois; 05/12/1950
[Met Performance] CID:155000  
New production
Don Carlo {15}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/6/1950
Opening Night {66}
Rudolf Bing, General Manager
Debuts: Delia Rigal, Fedora Barbieri, Cesare Siepi, Lucine Amara, Margeret Webster, Rolf Gérard
First performance of Rudolf Bing’s management
Chapter: Rudolf Bing
[Met Performance] CID:155020  Opera News
Don Carlo {16}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/11/1950
[Met Performance] CID:155050
Don Carlo {17}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/14/1950
[Met Performance] CID:155070
Don Carlo {18}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/16/1950
[Met Performance] CID:155160
Don Carlo {19}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/24/1950
[Met Performance] CID:155200
Don Carlo {20}
American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 11/28/1950
[Met Performance] CID:155260
Don Carlo {22}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/4/1950
[Met Performance] CID:155340
Faust {483}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/12/1950
[Met Performance] CID:155410
Faust {484}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/19/1950
[Met Performance] CID:155450
Faust {485}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/23/1950
[Met Performance] CID:155470
Don Carlo {24}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/25/1950
[Met Performance] CID:155510
Faust {486}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/29/1950
[Met Performance] CID:155550
Faust {487}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/1/1951
[Met Performance] CID:155610
Manon Lescaut {82}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/6/1951
[Met Performance] CID:155640
Manon Lescaut {83}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/10/1951
[Met Performance] CID:159350
Don Carlo {30}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/21/1952
[Met Performance] CID:159380
Don Carlo {31}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/24/1952
[Met Performance] CID:159550
Don Carlo {33}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/9/1952
[Met Performance] CID:161020
Lohengrin {492}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/15/1952
Debuts: Josef Greindl, Sigurd Björling, Arthur Budney
[Met Performance] CID:161070
Lohengrin {493}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/20/1952
[Met Performance] CID:161110
Lohengrin {494}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/24/1952
[Met Performance] CID:161220
Lohengrin {495}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/5/1952
[Met Performance] CID:161450
Lohengrin {496}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/27/1952
[Met Performance] CID:161520
Tosca {306}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/3/1953
[Met Performance] CID:161850
Cavalleria Rusticana {365} Pagliacci {404}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/3/1953
[Met Performance] CID:161900
Rigoletto {331}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/7/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162150
Samson et Dalila {82}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/3/1953
Debut: Ellen Meyer
[Met Performance] CID:162180
Boris Godunov {117}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/6/1953
Debut: Andrew McKinley
[Met Performance] CID:162210
Boris Godunov {118}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/9/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162270 Opera News
Samson et Dalila {83}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/14/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162300
Boris Godunov {119}
American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 03/17/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162320
Samson et Dalila {84}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/19/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162350
Boris Godunov {120}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/21/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162410
Tristan und Isolde {355}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/27/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162420
Boris Godunov {121}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/28/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162440
Samson et Dalila {85}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/30/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162460
Parsifal {188}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/1/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162470
Boris Godunov {122}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/2/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162540
Samson et Dalila {86}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/8/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162580 Opera News
Lohengrin {497}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/11/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162630
Boris Godunov {123}
Public Auditoriium, Cleveland, Ohio; 04/16/1953
Debut: Elizabeth Holiday
[Met Performance] CID:162760
Lohengrin {498}
Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts; 04/26/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162800
Samson et Dalila {87}
Capitol Theatre, Washington, D.C.; 04/29/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162820
Samson et Dalila {88}
Fox Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia; 05/1/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162870
Samson et Dalila {89}
Ellis Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee; 05/6/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162920
Tristan und Isolde {356}
Fair Park Auditorium, Dallas, Texas; 05/10/1953
[Met Performance] CID:162990
Samson et Dalila {90}
Northrup Auditorium, Minneapolis, Minnesota; 05/16/1953
[Met Performance] CID:163020
Tristan und Isolde {357}
Indiana University Auditorium, Bloomington, Indiana; 05/19/1953
[Met Performance] CID:163070
Samson et Dalila {91}
Forum Amphitheatre, Montreal Canada; 05/23/1953
[Met Performance] CID:163120
Lohengrin {499}
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada; 05/28/1953
[Met Performance] CID:164000  
New production
Faust {499}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/16/1953
Opening Night {69}
Rudolf Bing, General Manager
Debuts: Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, Peter Brook
[Met Performance] CID:164050
Faust {500}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/24/1953
[Met Performance] CID:164100
Faust {501}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/28/1953
[Met Performance] CID:164290
Faust {505}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/17/1953
[Met Performance] CID:164770
La Bohème {497}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/1/1954
[Met Performance] CID:170940
Un Ballo in Maschera {66}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/17/1956
[Met Concert/Gala] CID:171190
Italian Gala
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/10/1956
[Met Performance] CID:171420  Opera News
Manon Lescaut {86}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/31/1956
[Met Performance] CID:171460
Tosca {341}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/4/1956
[Met Performance] CID:171520
Tosca {342}
Lyric Theatre, Baltimore, Maryland; 04/10/1956
[Met Performance] CID:171560
Manon Lescaut {87}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/13/1956
[Met Performance] CID:171580
Die Fledermaus {66}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/14/1956
Guests: Edelmann, Güden, Siepi, Björling
[Met Performance] CID:171600
Un Ballo in Maschera {67}
Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts; 04/17/1956
[Met Performance] CID:171690
Un Ballo in Maschera {68}
Cleveland Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio; 04/24/1956
[Met Performance] CID:171730
Rigoletto {370}
Cleveland Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio; 04/27/1956
[Met Concert/Gala] CID:350764
Ed Sullivan Show: Rigoletto: Excerpts
[Met Performance] CID:174210
Tosca {356}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/27/1957
[Met Performance] CID:174420
Don Carlo {43}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/16/1957
Debut: Irene Dalis
[Met Performance] CID:174450
Il Trovatore {292}
American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 03/19/1957
[Met Performance] CID:174570
Don Carlo {44}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/29/1957
[Met Performance] CID:174630
Don Carlo {45}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/4/1957
Debut: Nancy King
[Met Concert/Gala] CID:350742
National Council Concert
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/20/1959
First Appearance: Norman Mittelmann, Teresa Stratas, Roald Reitan
[Met Performance] CID:183200
Cavalleria Rusticana {411}
Pagliacci {450}

Metropolitan Opera House; 11/16/1959
[Met Performance] CID:183250
Tosca {401}
Metropolitan Opera House; 11/21/1959
[Met Performance] CID:183320
Cavalleria Rusticana {412}
Pagliacci {451}

Metropolitan Opera House; 11/27/1959
[Met Performance] CID:183440
Faust {560}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/8/1959
[Met Performance] CID:183470
Tosca {402}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/11/1959
[Met Performance] CID:183520
Tosca {403}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/16/1959
[Met Performance] CID:183550
Faust {561}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/19/1959
[Met Performance] CID:183580
Cavalleria Rusticana {414}
Pagliacci {453}

Metropolitan Opera House; 12/22/1959

Carnegie Hall

 Performer: Jussi Björling Clear all

Bell Telephone Hour

Mar 12, 1951 at 9 PM — Main Hall
Sep 24, 1955 at 8 PM — Main Hall
Dec 20, 1955 at 8 PM — Main Hall
Dec 8, 1957 at 5 PM — Main Hall
Mar 2, 1958 at 8 PM — Main Hall


Före en konsert i London den 15 mars 1960 drabbades Björling av en hjärtattack, och sex månader senare avled han vid familjens sommarställe på Siarö i Stockholms skärgård på grund av ytterligare en hjärtattack natten till den 9 september. Hans fru larmade räddningstjänsten och en helikopter var snabbt på plats – med professor Sander Izikowitz och makarnas dotter Ann-Charlotte – men kunde endast konstatera dödsfallet. Jussi Björlings begravning i Engelbrektskyrkan den 19 september 1960 direktsändes i radio och tv. Han är gravsatt på Stora Tuna kyrkogård.

Björlings änka Anna-Lisa Björling gav 1970 i uppdrag till Stiftelsen Kungliga Teaterns Solister att förvalta en minnesfond och tilldela sångstipendier till sångsolister vid Operan, Jussi Björlingstipendiet.


Namnet Björling togs 1857 av målarmästaren Per Samuel Björling (1836–98), tidigare Björn, i Östanå, Ovanåkers socken. Hans dotter Johanna var enligt familjetraditionen den första i släkten som uppvisade ”märklig sångarbegåvning”. Stamfadern för den björlingska släkten var Olof Hansson (levde 1518), bergsman i Starbo i Norrbärke socken och nämndeman i Norrbärke , fjorton generationer från Jussi Björling.
Björling var son till sångaren David Björling och Ester Björling, född Sund (1882–1917). David Björling var född i Hälsingland, men uppvuxen i Finland i trakten av Björneborg och flyttade i unga år tillbaka till Sverige. David Björlings föräldrar var Lars Johan Björling och Matilda Lönnqvist och det var farmodern Matilda som gav Jussi Björling smeknamnet Jussi som sedan kom att bli hans namn. David Björling utbildade sig till verktygssmed och fick arbete i Borlänge.

Med Ingrid Anna Linnéa Hellström (1907–53) fick Jussi Björling 1928 sonen Rolf Björling, även han operasångare (tenor).

Jussi Björling gifte sig 1935 i Stockholm med Anna-Lisa Berg, dotter till kammarmusikern John Berg. Med hustrun Anna-Lisa fick han barnen Anders, (född 1936), Lars (född 1939)  och Ann-Charlotte Björling (född 1943).

Den 9 april 1936 fick Björling dottern Kickie (Birgitta Kickie Hansson, gift med Frans Lennart Ekman), med ungdomsförälskelsen Eva Zander (1901–1995) i Asarum.  Dit hade Björlingkvartetten kommit 1922 och då lärt känna Sven Bosson Zander, Evas far, som i egenskap av kyrkvaktmästare stod för deras konsertarrangemang. Kickie adopterades vid födseln av Björlings ekonomiske rådgivare, advokat Gösta Hansson, och hans fru Ebba Falck-Hansson.


I en intervju i Svenska Dagbladet 2007 säger Luciano Pavarotti: ”När jag ska öva in en ny opera så lyssnar jag först på hur Jussi Björling gjorde den. Han röst var unik, och det är hans väg jag vill vandra. Jag skulle mer än något annat önska att människor jämförde mig med Jussi Björling. Det är så jag strävar efter att sjunga.”


  • 1938 – Fram för framgång
  • 1953 – Resan till dej


  • Björling, Jussi (på engelska). Jussi Björling: a record list. Nationaldiskoteket ; 209. Köpenhamn. Libris 11635935
  • Henrysson, Harald (1993) (på engelska). A Jussi Björling phonography. Musik i Sverige, 0077-2518 ; 6 (2. ed. /enlarged and revised by Harald Henrysson). Stockholm: Svenskt musikhistoriskt arkiv. Libris 7746100. ISBN 91-85172-10-3
  • Henrysson, Harald (2014) (på engelska). A Jussi Björling phonography (3rd print edition). Säter. ISBN 978-91-637-5864-5
  • Lockley, Tim. ”Bjorling Discography” (på engelska). University of Warwick – School of Comparative American Studies. Läst 17 januari 2012.
  • Diskografi hos Discogs Länken läst 8 november 2014.

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