Matti Talvela bass from Suomi

Matti Talvela bass from Suomi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Martti Olavi Talvela (February 4, 1935 – July 22, 1989) was a Finnish operatic bass.

Born in Hiitola, Finland (now in the Republic of Karelia), the eighth of ten children  he studied in Lahti and Stockholm, and made his operatic debut in Helsinki in 1960 asSparafucile. He trained as a boxer in his youth and developed the stamina necessary for the biggest roles. Originally Talvela was educated as a primary school teacher inSavonlinna, Eastern Finland (1952–1956), and he worked in that occupation at three schools (1957–1960). He sang at the Stockholm Royal Opera in Sweden from 1961 to 1962, before becoming a regularly employed singer at the Deutsche Oper of Berlin in 1962, the same year as his debut at Bayreuth.

In 1970, the Senate (government) of West Berlin formally granted him the rank of Kammersänger. He was especially acclaimed as the title character in Boris Godunov, a role he performed 39 times at the Metropolitan Opera between 1974 and 1987,  and as Pimen from the same work, as Paavo Ruotsalainen in The Last Temptations, as a Wagnersinger who frequently performed at Bayreuth (King Marke, Hunding, Fasolt, Fafner, Hagen (one critic described his Hagen as an “elemental force”) and Titurel), as theCommendatore, Sarastro, Dosefei, and Prince Gremin, as King Phillip II, the Grand Inquisitor and, in the later part of his career, the title character in Glinka’s Ivan Susanin. As his final record he left, terribly thinned out by illness, a warm and heartfelt version of Schubert’s Winterreise. He also left at least two recorded performances of Mussorgsky’sSongs and Dances of Death – one with full orchestra and one with piano accompaniment.

Talvela possessed a “voice of immense size and wide range”  and was able to bring to his roles a combination of both “grandeur and gentleness”.  A large man, 6′ 7″ tall and weighing nearly 300 pounds, he was a fine vocal actor who brought an air of dignity to his roles, even to pure-evil roles like Hagen and the Grand Inquisitor.

He can be seen performing on video as Boris Godunov, as Sarastro, as Osmin, as the Grand Inquisitor (in German) and as Don Fernando, and in the CBS special Beethoven’s Birthday: A Celebration in Vienna, released on DVD as Bernstein on Beethoven: A Celebration in Vienna.

Talvela was the first artistic leader of the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland, from 1972 to 1979, and had been appointed general director of the National Opera in Helsinki just before his death.

During the last eight years of his life (1981 to 1989), he worked as a farmer on the Inkilänhovi (Inkilä manor) farm in Juva, Eastern Finland, while continuing his official career as an opera singer. His health had begun to decline in 1975, when he was diagnosed with diabetes and gout. In 1982 alone, he suffered two heart attacks at the Metropolitan Opera. Stomach problems also plagued him at times in the 1980s.

Talvela died of a heart attack at age 54 while dancing at his daughter’s wedding in Juva.

In Swedish

Han var folkskollärare innan han började ta sånglektioner i Lahtis och Stockholm.Han debuterade 1960 på Finlands Nationalopera som Sparafucile i Rigoletto och kom efter två år på operan i Stockholm till Deutsche Oper Berlin,där han sjöng till sin död.Från 1962 var han en ofta förekommande gäst i Bayreuth där han bl.a. sjöng Hunding och Fasolt i Nibelungnes ring,kung Marke i Tristan och Isolde och Titurel i Parsifal,men han var också efterfrågad i Verdi partier och sjöng storinkvisitorn i Don Carlos vid sin debut på Metropolitan och Filip II i samma opera i Moskva och Leningrad. Ett annat av hans glanspartier var Boris Godunov,som han kreerade bl.a på Grand Opéra i Paris,och Dosifej i Musorgskijs Hovansjtjina. Rollen som Pavo Ruotsalainen i Kokkonens De sista frestelserna skrevs för honom.Han ledde festspelen i Savonlinna 1972-77 och framträdde också där.Under hans ledning fördes festspelen upp på internationell nivå samtidigt som de ökade operaintresset i Finland.

Read more

Wikipedia about Martti Talvela på engelska

Bach Cantatas about Martti Talvela på engelska
Compiled by Mogens H Andersson

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