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Gedda (real name, Ustinov), Nicolai Harry Gustav)

Gedda (real name, Ustinov), Nicolai Harry Gustav)

Gedda (real name, Ustinov), Nicolai Harry Gustav), noted Swedish tenor; b. Stock-holm, July 11, 1925. Gedda was his mother’s name, which he assumed in his professional life. His father was a Russian who went to Sweden after the Civil War. He studied at the opera school at the Stockholm Cons. On April 8, 1952, he made his operatic debut as Chapelou in Le Postilion de Longjumeau at the Royal Opera in Stockholm. In 1953 he made his debut at La Scala in Milan; in 1954 he sang Faust at the Paris Opéra and the Duke of Mantua at Covent Garden in London; in 1957 he sang Don José in Carmen at the Vienna State Opera. He made his U.S. debut as Faust with the Pittsburgh Opera on April 4, 1957; his Metropolitan Opera debut followed in N.Y. on Nov. 1, 1957, in that same role; he created the role of Anatol in Barber’s Vanessa at the Metropolitan on Jan. 15, 1958. Because of his natural fluency in Russian and his acquired knowledge of German, French, Italian, and English, he was able to sing with total freedom the entire standard operatic repertoire. In 1980 and 1981 he made highly successful appearances in Russia, both in opera and on the concert stage. In 1986 he made his London recital debut. In 1991 he appeared as Christian II in a revival of Naumann’s Gustaf Wasa in Stockholm. He sang in Palestrina at Covent Garden in 1997. His memoirs were publ. as Gävan är inte gratis (Stockholm, 1978).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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