Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Born: 5th February 1911, Stora Tuna, Borlänge, Dalarna, Sweden
Died: 9th September 1960, Siarö
Born in Sweden on 5th February 1911, Björling made his professional debut in Stockholm in 1930 (in a small role in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut and spent his early career singing lyric and bel canto roles before moving into the heavier repertoire which would lead him to be dubbed ‘the Swedish Caruso’: signature-roles included Radamès in Aida, the title-role in Gounod’s Faust, Manrico in Il trovatore, and Cavaradossi in Tosca, all of which he also recorded to great acclaim. In 1960 he won a Grammy Award for his LP Björling in Opera on RCA.
Björling battled alcoholism throughout his career, and died aged just 49 from complications arising from a heart-attack which he suffered just hours before his final performance of La bohème in London. His son Rolf forged a successful career as a tenor, despite only taking up the profession after his father’s death.