Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Jul 27, 2014

John Forsell (Baritone) (Stockholm 1868 - Stockholm 1941)

He made his operatic debut at the Royal Swedish Opera, Stockholm, in 1896 as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia. He would remain its premiere baritone for some 30 years. He would also establish an international career, singing for example at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1909/1910, performing such parts as Tonio in Pagliacci, Amfortas in Parsifal, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Telramund in Lohengrin, Germont in La traviata and Yeletsky in The Queen of Spades. The title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni was probably his most famous interpretation. He sang the part numerous times, including during the 1909 season at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, and at the 1930 Salzburg Festival. Among the other major European cities in which Forsell sang the Don and various leading parts were Copenhagen, Berlin, Amsterdam and Vienna. Forsell become the Director (Intendant) of the Royal Swedish Opera in 1923/24, and performed less frequently on stage as a consequence. His voice, however, remained in fine condition. As late as on his 70th birthday, he sang Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro by Mozart. He retired from his director's position in May 1939 and died in Stockholm two years later. In addition to his administrative duties at Stockholm's opera house during the 1920s and '30s, Forsell taught voice as a professor of singing at the Stockholm Conservatory of Music. His pupils included Jussi Björling, Hjördis Schymberg, Joel Berglund and Set Svanholm.

Chronology of some appearances

1896-1918 Stockholm Royal Swedish Opera 


G&T, Stockholm 1905-10
Don Giovanni (Mozart): Du bör ej fruktan bära (Là ci darem la mano) with Hellström 84064 2741e
Trovatore (Verdi): Ser du, af tårar (Mira d'acerbe) with Hellström 84066 2744e
Tannhäuser (Wagner): Sången till aftonstjärnan 82987 2710e
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini): Brevduett (Dunque io son) (w. Hellström) 84059 2745e
Nozze di Figaro (Mozart): Hur kan du grymma flicka (Crudel perché finora) (w. Hellström) 84070 2740e

G&T, Stockholm 1907-02-16/17
Faust (Gounod): Bön (Avant de quitter) 2-82528 10277u
Guillaume Tell (Rossini): Bön (Sois immobile) 2-82534 10278u
Mignon (Thomas): Svalduetten (Légères hirondelles) with Hesse 84086 10279u
Aida (Verdi): Duett (A te grave cagion) with Lyckseth-Schjerven 84083 10280u
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini): Faktotumsarian 082015  0717v

Gramophone, Stockholm 1907-10
Nozze di Figaro (Mozart): Grevens aria (Vedro mentr'io) 2-82614 7035e

Gramophone, Stockholm 1912-08-23
Favorita (Donizetti): Så mycken kärlek (A tanto amor) 082066
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Prolog 082065 449ac

Gramophone, Berlin 1913-10-28
Walküre (Wagner): Der Augen leuchtendes Paar 042475 1242s

Gramophone, Stockholm 1916-12-29
Rigoletto (Verdi): Monolog (Pari siamo) 2-082002 306p(sm)
Don Giovanni (Mozart): Finch'han dal vino (Sw & It) 7-82005 13507o(sm)
Trovatore (Verdi): Hennes skönhet öfverstrålar (Il balen) 2-082005 307p(sm)
Eugen Onegin (Tchaikovsky): Om ödet mig behagat giva 2-082006 309p(sm)

Gramophone, Stockholm 1916-12-30
Rigoletto (Verdi): Se jag gråter... Ädle herrar (Miei signori) 2-082001 310p(sm)

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