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NICOLAI GEDDA

Nicolai Gedda [b.1925] is one of the greatest lyric tenors of the twentieth century and unquestionably the most versatile. Born in Stockholm, his father was a Russian who sang in the Don Cossack Choir; after a brief interval in Leipzig, where the family went when his father was appointed cantor with the Orthodox Church, they returned to Stockholm in 1934. There it was that young Nicolai discovered his voice and began his studies with a distinguished teacher, Carl Martin Ohmann, at the Swedish Royal Academy of Music. He made his début in 1951 at the Royal Opera in Stockholm in the première of Sutermeister's Der rote Stiefe, followed by the altitudinous tenor rôle of Chapdelou in Adam’s Le Postillon de Longjumeau in April 1952.

After taking part in the first Western recording of Boris Godunov under Dobrowen (8.110242-44), Gedda made his La Scala début in 1953 as Don Ottavio and the Groom in the première of Orff's Il trionfo di Afrodite. The following years saw him appear at the Paris Opera (Huon in Oberon), the Aix-en-Provence Festival, Covent Garden (the Duke in Rigoletto), Salzburg Festival (Belmonte in Die Entführung) and the Metropolitan in New York as Gounod's Faust. In 1958 he created the rôle of Anatol in Barber's Vanessa, which he also gave in Salzburg. He first sang Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini at the Holland Festival in 1961, which he later repeated at Covent Garden in 1966, 1969 and 1976. He also appeared in Russia in 1980-81 to great acclaim. His London concert hall début took place in 1986. He sang at the Met for 22 seasons in 27 rôles in 289 performances. He was still recording as recently as 2002. Gedda has proved the most versatile lyric tenor of his time with a vast discography covering every conceivable aspect of the repertory.

His career over fifty years took him to pretty well all the leading opera houses throughout Europe and America, and he sang a vast repertory in pretty well every language, in operas like Oberon, Don Giovanni, Boris Godunov, La sonnambula, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, I vespri siciliani, L’elisir d’amore, Der Barbier von Bagdad, Mireille, La traviata, I Puritani, Faust, among many others.

Equally renowned as a concert singer, he appeared in recital with piano and in liturgical works with orchestra. His recording career was no less exceptional; one of the busiest undertaken by any singer, it also included operetta and other music he did not venture in public. Even in the 21st century, at Covent Garden, he was still singing and in for him a new rôle, the Archbishop in Pfitzner’s Palestrina.


Albums featuring this artist are available for download from ClassicsOnline.com
Role: Classical Artist 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
BACH, J.S.: Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 (Schwarzkopf, Gedda, Karajan) (1952-1953) Naxos Historical
8.111053-54
Choral - Sacred
BERLIOZ, H.: Requiem (Gedda, Cologne Radio Symphony, Mitropoulos) (1956) ICA Classics
ICAC5075
Choral - Sacred
CALLAS, Maria: Immortal Opera Arias (1949-1955) Naxos Historical
8.103015
Opera
CORNELIUS, P.: Barber of Bagdad (The) (Schwarzkopf, Gedda, Leinsdorf) (1956) / WEBER, C.M.: Abu Hassan (Schwarzkopf, Witte, Ludwig) (1944) Naxos Historical
8.111337-38
Opera
CULT OPERA OF THE 1970s (Hamburg State Opera, 1967-1971) (NTSC) (11 DVD set) Arthaus Musik
101261
Opera DVD
GLUCK, C.W.: Iphigenia auf Tauris [Opera] (Keilberth) Capriccio
C5005
Opera
GREAT CHORAL CLASSICS (5-CD Box Set) ICA Classics
ICAB5127
Choral - Sacred
HANSEN, Ib: Kongelig Kammersanger (1959 - 1983) Naxos Historical
8.112003
Opera
LEHAR: Land des Lachelns (Das) (Ackermann, Schwarzkopf) (1953) and excerpts from Lehar Operettas Naxos Historical
8.111016-17
Operetta
LEHAR: Merry Widow (The) (Schwartzkopf, Kunz, Gedda) (1953) Naxos Historical
8.111007
Operetta
MOZART, W.A.: Clemenza di Tito (La) [Opera] (1955) Capriccio
C67159
Opera
MOZART: Zauberflote (Die) (Hamburg State Opera studio production, 1971) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
101265
Opera DVD
MUSSORGSKY: Boris Godunov (Christoff, Gedda) (1952) Naxos Historical
8.110242-44
Opera
PUCCINI, G.: Opera excerpts Phoenix Edition
Phoenix150
Opera
PUCCINI: Madama Butterfly (Callas, Gedda, Karajan) (1955) Naxos Historical
8.111026-27
Opera
ROSSINI: Turco in Italia (Il) (Callas, Rossi-Lemeni, Gavazzeni) (1954) Naxos Historical
8.111028-29
Opera
STRAUSS II, J.: Die Fledermaus (The Bat) (Schwarzkopf, Gedda, Karajan) (1955) Naxos Historical
8.111036-37
Operetta
STRAUSS II, J.: Nacht in Venedig (Eine) (Schwarzkopf, Gedda) (1954) Naxos Historical
8.111254
Operetta
STRAUSS II, J.: Wiener Blut (Schwarzkopf, Gedda, Ackermann) (1954) Naxos Historical
8.111257
Operetta
STRAUSS II, J.: Zigeunerbaron (Der) (The Gypsy Baron) (Schwarzkopf, Gedda, Ackermann) (1954) Naxos Historical
8.111329-30
Opera
STRAUSS, R.: Capriccio (Schwarzkopf, Wachter, Gedda, Fischer-Dieskau, Hotter, Ludwig, Philharmonia Orchestra, Sawallisch) (1957-1958) Naxos Historical
8.112034-35
Opera
STRAUSS, R.: Four Last Songs / Arabella (highlights) (Schwarzkopf, Ackermann, Matacic) (1953, 1954) Naxos Historical
8.111145
Opera
VERDI: Rigoletto BIS
BIS-CD-296
Opera





 
 
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