This video document is absolutely unique and exceptional, as it has never been issued before, nor was it ever shown to anyone until this very first day
This personal archive is related to the greatest Maestro Nicolai GEDDA who is internationally considered by most operatic connoisseurs – from all over the world - as being assuredly one of the greatest tenor of all times
The Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda (born July 11, 1925) is a famous opera singer and recitalist. Having made some two hundred recordings, Gedda is said to be the most widely-recorded tenor in history. Gedda's singing is best known for his beauty of tone, vocal control, and musical perception.
Nicolai Harry Gustav Gedda (Nikolaj Ustinov in Russian) was born in Stockholm to a Swedish mother and a Russian father. His father, a distant relative of Peter Ustinov, sang bass in a Don Cossack choir and was cantor in a Russian Orthodox church. Gedda grew up bilingual and learned English, German, Italian, and Latin.
Gedda began his professional career as a bank teller in a local bank in Stockholm. One day a wealthy client overheard him speaking about his desire to sing professionally, and offered to pay for his tuition to study with Carl Martin Öhman, a well known Wagnerian tenor from the 1920s who also discovered Jussi Björling.
An early appraisal of Gedda's singing was offered by Walter Legge, after first hearing Gedda sing for the role of Dimitry in a planned recording of Boris Godunov.
"On my arrival at the airport I was asked by a swarm of journalists if I were not interested in hearing their excellent young Swedish voices. Naturally I was interested, but I did not expect either the front page stories that appeared next morning or the mass of letters and almost incessant telephone calls asking to be heard. I had to ask the Director of the Opera for a room for a couple of days to hear about 100 young aspirants. The first to sing to me (at 9.30 in the morning) was Gedda who had I believe sung only once in public. He sang the Carmen Flower Song so tenderly yet passionately that I was moved almost to tears. He delivered the difficult rising scale ending with a clear and brilliant B flat. Almost apologetically I asked him to try to sing it as written -- pianissimo, rallentando and diminuendo. Without turning a hair he achieved the near-miracle, incredibly beautifully and without effort. I asked him to come back at 8 that evening and sent word to my wife that a great singer had fallen into my lap and to Dobrowen that, believe it or not, this 23-year-old Gedda was the heaven-sent Dimitry for our Boris.
In April 1952, at the age of 26, Gedda made his debut at the Royal Swedish Opera, performing the role of Chapelou in Adolphe Adam's Le Postillon de Longjumeau. In this same year he also performed the role of Nicklausse in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann and the tenor role in Der Rosenkavalier.
After an audition in Stockholm, Gedda gained the attention of conductor Herbert von Karajan, who took him to Italy. In 1953, he made his début at La Scala as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. In 1954, he made his Paris Opera debut in the tenor role in Weber's Oberon, and was given a permanent contract for several years. In 1957, Gedda made his Metropolitan Opera début in the title role of Gounod's Faust, and went on to sing 28 roles there over the next 26 years, including the world premieres of Barber's Vanessa and Menotti's The Last Savage. Gedda made his Royal Opera House Covent Garden début in 1954 as the Duke of Mantua in Verdi's Rigoletto and has since returned to sing Benvenuto Cellini, Alfredo, Gustavus III in Un Ballo in Maschera, Nemorino and Lensky.
A singer of unusual longevity, Gedda has been active well into his late 70s; in May 2001 he recorded the role of the Emperor Altoum in Puccini's Turandot and the role of the High Priest in Mozart's Idomeneo in June 2003.
Harry Gustaf Nikolaj Gädda, plus connu sous le nom de Nicolai Gedda, né le 11 juillet 1925 à Stockholm, est un ténor suédois. De par son beau-père russe Mikhaïl Ustinov, il est apparenté à Peter Ustinov.
Après de jeunes années passées en Allemagne et une première formation musicale à Leipzig, il débute sur scène en 1952, dans sa ville natale, et continua à chanter jusque dans les années 1990.
De tous les ténors de renom du XXe siècle, Nicolai Gedda a certainement été le plus polyglotte - il maîtrisait à la perfection aussi bien le suédois, le russe, l'allemand et l'anglais que l'italien et le français - et celui qui a laissé la discographie la plus abondante. Son répertoire comprenait une cinquantaine d'opéras différents (dont tous les grands opéras mozartiens), ainsi qu'un nombre imposant d'oratorios, de messes et de cantates.
Sa voix claire et chaleureuse, très flexible, puissante, convenait idéalement aux rôles lyriques. S'il n'a jamais pu chanter Siegfried, il était un Belmonte ou un Tamino parfait.
La Flûte enchantée/Mozart/Otto Klemperer
Passion selon Saint Matthieu/Johann Sebastian Bach/Klemperer
The Dream of Gerontius/Edward Elgar/Adrian Boult
Lady Macbeth de Mzensk/Dmitri Chostakovitch/Mstislav Rostropovitch
Boris Godounov/Modeste Moussorgsky/Jerzy Semkow
Madame Butterfly/Giacomo Puccini/Herbert von Karajan
Rigoletto/Giuseppe Verdi/Francesco Molinari-Pradelli