Vocal Perfection
The Tenor Nicolai Gedda
Director: Michael Beyer
Distributor: C Major Entertainment
Length: 52 min.
© 2015, a BFMI co-production with BR/Arte and SVT
The Swedish-born lyr­ic­al ten­or Nic­olai Gedda is con­sidered one of the greatest ten­ors of the 20th Cen­tury. From the time of his de­but in 1952 right through his un­pre­ced­en­ted ca­reer for half a cen­tury, he took the world’s stages by storm and re­cor­ded more than 200 al­bums which made him the most re­cor­ded ten­or in his­tory.

His crys­tal-clear, el­eg­ant ten­or voice with the clari­on high notes and a se­duct­ive mezza voice re­mains un­for­get­table. Throughout his easy three octaves, his voice had an astound­ing con­sist­ency and a timbre of silken beauty, al­ways well sup­por­ted and con­fid­ently de­livered. His phe­nom­en­al tech­nique made his voice sound like it was all so easy to hit the high D in his chal­len­ging lead roles, such as in Al­dophe-Charles Adam’s “Le pos­til­lon de Longjumeau.”

With his early mu­sic­al up­bring­ing, he de­veloped a strong am­bi­tion to be­come an op­era sing­er, but un­able to come up with the money to fund his stud­ies, he be­came a bank tell­er in a loc­al bank in Stock­holm. One day a wealthy cli­ent over­heard him speak­ing about his as­pir­a­tions to sing pro­fes­sion­ally, and offered to pay for his tu­ition to study with Carl Mar­tin Öhman - a well-known Wag­n­eri­an ten­or of the late 1920's.
Gedda also stud­ies at the Op­era School at the Stock­holm Con­ser­vat­ory. Barely two years later Gedda cel­eb­rates his de­but at the Roy­al Swedish Op­era and got dis­covered by Wal­ter Legge, the le­gendary EMI re­cord pro­du­cer who was in search of a young ten­or for a “Bor­is Godun­ov” re­cord­ing. This was just the be­gin­ning of an astound­ing and ver­sat­ile dis­co­graphy as well as an re­mark­able stage ca­reer. Soon, Her­bert van Ka­ra­jan paved his quick road to Mil­an’s La Scala, where he de­b­uted as Don Ot­tavio (Moz­art’s Don Gio­vanni) in 1953, fol­lowed by all the great stages world-wide with sing­er part­ners in­clud­ing Elisa­beth Schwar­zkopf, Vic­tor­ia de Los Angeles, Maria Cal­las, Joan Suth­er­land, Mirella Freni, Beverly Sills, Grace Bumbry and so many more.

He has also been pro­foundly ad­mired for the ex­traordin­ary range of his styl­ist­ic mas­tery – be­ne­fit­ting from his flu­ency in six lan­guages, his im­pec­cable dic­tion and be­ing hard­work­ing, his rep­er­toire took on a very large num­ber of op­er­at­ic roles and also songs and chor­al works in Itali­an, Ger­man, French, Rus­si­an, Eng­lish, Nor­we­gi­an, Finnish, Span­ish and Swedish com­pos­i­tions. He has per­formed con­sid­er­ably more than 100 roles on op­era stages throughout Europe and Amer­ica, from Gluck to Menotti.
His last Lieder re­cit­al took place in Vi­enna 2001 - 2003 and 2004 he still sang smal­ler op­era parts for re­cord­ings of “Tur­an­dot” and “Ido­me­neo”. Gedda also en­joyed teach­ing and passing on his know­ledge to a young­er gen­er­a­tion of sing­ers. Even though the range of his rep­er­tory seemed bound­less, he chose his roles care­fully, rarely stray­ing from the parts that suited his lyr­ic­al voice. His great deal of dis­cip­line and in­tel­li­gent role man­age­ment en­sured his ca­reer las­ted well in­to his late sev­en­ties. His un­as­sum­ing an­swer to a journ­al­ist’s ques­tion on the secret of his suc­cess: “I have been di­li­gent, that’s it.”

Edda Moser, Mirella Freni, Bri­gitte Fass­baender, Ker­stin Mey­er, Loa Falk­man, Clas Ralf, Er­land Ros, James Lev­ine, Jürgen Kest­ing, Gildo DiN­un­zio. Jo­nas Kaufmann, Craig Ruten­berg, Daniel Behle, Eric Schneider, Wolfgang Gülich, Gi­sela Stor­jo­hann et al.