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Jussi (Anglais) Relié – 1 septembre 1996


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As a child, I found it unimaginable that some people lived without music. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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35 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A splendid biography of the 20th Century's greatest tenor 26 avril 2002
Par Joy Fleisig - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
In a world where most opera biographies are either useless, gushy fan magazines or vicious, gossipy garbage, this loving yet warts-and-all account of the life of the great Swedish tenor Jussi Bjorling (1911-1960) is a standout. Although the book is written primarily by his widow Anna-Lisa, there is additional, exhaustive research and editing by Andrew Farkas (who also co-authored an Enrico Caruso biography with Caruso's son). Many of Bjorling's colleagues are also interviewed, and reviews of both his live performances and opera recordings are extensively quoted. As a supplement, there is also a 58-page listing of Bjorling's performances (933 in opera and nearly twice as many concerts and recitals) at the end of the book. The cover shows Bjorling as Romeo in `Romeo et Juliette', perhaps his greatest role.
Anna-Lisa Bjorling, who was married to Jussi for 25 years, was herself a fine soprano who often partnered her husband in concert. As of this writing she is still alive at 92. Although Anna-Lisa clearly loved Jussi very deeply, she is still capable of being objective about him when required. She is a wonderful writer, providing vivid portraits not only of Jussi, herself, and their children, but just about everybody they ever came into contact with, as well as of life in Sweden in general. After reading this book, I felt like Jussi and Anna-Lisa were old friends.

Bjorling had not only what was probably the most beautiful tenor voice to ever come out of a human throat, but also a nearly perfect technique, a superb sense of style, and the ability to truly stir the souls of his listeners. While he had a reputation for being a very poor stage actor, this was at least occasionally exaggerated. Although Bjorling died tragically young at the age of 49 of heart failure, he had a magnificent and very long career which lasted 45 years, 32 as a tenor. He is probably the only opera singer whose recording career (which began when he was 9!) lasted from acoustic to electric to LP to stereo recordings. He made his stage debut at 19 as Don Ottavio at the Royal Opera, Stockholm, after having studied first with his father, his principal singing teacher, and then at the Royal Opera School with the Royal Opera's director, baritone John Forsell. His career expanded to Europe and the rest of the world very quickly. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1938, and with the exception of the WWII years and several years in the 1950s due to fights with Rudolf Bing, he remained there until his death. He concentrated on about 10 or 15 Italian and French operatic roles, and was also an avid recitalist with several hundred songs in his `inventory'.
Unfortunately, Bjorling is nearly as famous in operatic circles for his alcoholism as for his glorious singing, and I think that is appalling. In fact, the one thing this book makes very clear is that although the disease was a tragedy for him personally and traumatic for his family, it had comparatively little effect on his actual career, at least outside Sweden. Working actually kept him from drinking. Anna-Lisa offers considerable proof that many of the stories about Jussi's drinking were exaggerations, gossip or outright lies, most tellingly in the true story of the cancellation of the `Un Ballo in Maschera' recording under Sir Georg Solti, which was a product of producer John Culshaw's malice. Nearly all his colleagues also defend him on this regard. As far as I'm concerned, the only people who have any right discussing Jussi's alcoholism are Anna-Lisa and his children, as they are the only ones who really had to deal with it. ....
Overall, Jussi comes across as a beautiful human being - simple, warmhearted and lovable, a wonderful husband and father, adored by almost everybody who worked with him or knew him. The book is full of stories about his kindness and generosity to colleagues. He was also an avid pike fisherman who loved westerns and was unbeatable at arm wrestling. He basically had only three serious flaws as a human being: impulsiveness that on occasion bordered on irrationality, stubbornness, and what Anna-Lisa calls, for lack of a better term, a deep inner restlessness - the inner demon that drove him to drink.
I only wish `Jussi' could have been longer. A year before it was published, I spoke with leading Bjorling authority Cantor Don Goldberg, one of the book's proofreaders. He told me that the first draft was 1100 pages. As the final copy is only 520 pages, I wonder what was cut besides the many laudatory comments from colleagues that were considered repetitive. I was surprised that there wasn't more information about Jussi's brothers once they reached adulthood, especially Gosta, who was so close to Jussi that they had an almost telepathic relationship. And while this book does full justice to such fundamental influences on Jussi's singing as his father, John Forsell (who emerges as quite a character!), and Tullio Voghera, I would have liked a bit more on Nils Grevilius, who conducted nearly every recording Jussi made before 1950. There is also virtually nothing about Hjordis Schymberg, the fine Swedish soprano who partnered Jussi over 100 times in Stockholm. More mention of his recordings besides the complete opera sets would have been welcome, although I am aware that his recordings are covered in the companion volume `A Jussi Bjorling Phonography'. Finally, while I am aware this would have added to the price of the book, there are so few color photos of Bjorling that I think they should have had one on the cover.
`Jussi' is essential reading for anyone with any interest in good music, let alone opera. It is the definitive biography of one of the most magnificent singers and human beings ever to appear on an opera or concert stage. If you haven't heard this man sing, remedy that immediately!
19 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Fascinating 11 février 2001
Par G. Greene - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I had never heard of Bjorling until several months ago one late evening when the local classical music station played some of his arias. I had missed the intro to the work and couldn't figure out to whom this incredible and unique voice belonged; I knew I'd never heard anything remotely like it. You have to hear Jussi only once to want to listen endlessly to his voice. (Needless to say, my opera CD collection is expanding exponentially.)
So it was a great pleasure to discover this excellent biography, which illuminates not only his life but also the opera world from the 20s through the 50s. His early life and training from his father are particularly interesting if you wonder how such a great talent was discovered and developed. (The only question in my mind not answered is the extent to which his children inherited the incredible musical talent that was in his family for generations; that they perform is mentioned but never elaborated on.) The book is well documented with quotes from his peers, and the authors do a splendid job of presenting the entire person with his strengths and weaknesses in a very objective way that holds the reader's interest from beginning to end.
18 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A work of historical significance to opera lovers. 22 novembre 1998
Par AL1226@aol.com - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
That Jussi Bjorling was a man beset by demons from within, against which he frequently lost battles, is a revelation to those of us who only thought of him as the greatest tenor of the 20th century. Anna-Lisa does justice to his memory by openly discussing his problems. But of equal importance, she depicts a warm, friendly man whose life was his family and his singing. He was a loving and devoted husband and father, and, simultaneously, a consummate professional who took enormous pride in his craft. He achieved a level of success that will remain the standard for future generations of singers. The heights of adoration he engendered in his fans and colleagues, combined with the critical praise he enjoyed, will probably remain unequalled. His passing created a void that will NEVER be filled.
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
One of the most important opera biographies of the decade. 5 novembre 1997
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Making a case for Andrew Farkas' JUSSI being one of the most important opera biographies--and certainly one of the most anticipated--of the decade is a rather easy task. Here was a tenor who, as Luciano Pavarotti has remarked on a number of occasions, laid to rest once and for all the notion that only Italian-born tenors could impart the requisite emotional impact to the great verismo roles. Here was a tenor who not merely excelled in every repertoire in which he sang, but in many cases established vocal and interpretive standards that few, if any, of his successors have been able to match. And here was a tenor, sadly, whose entire adult life was spent in a losing struggle with alcoholism. As Farkas and Bjoerling's widow, soprano Anna-Lisa Bjoerling, recount that struggle, a truly admirable man emerges from the chapters. The Jussi Bjoerling whom Farkas has thoroughly documented (both the research and the prose are almost entirely Mr. Farkas's) bears no resemblance at all to the allegedly irresponsible, petulant and often boorish character found in the memoirs of Sir Rudolf Bing, the writings of Francis Robinson and others of the Bing regime. Instead, Bjoerling emerges as a thoroughly engaging, likable, always approachable man who struggled mightily against a disease that in his lifetime was much misunderstood. As the chapters of this new book amply attest, there was no empire-like rise and fall to the career or to the man himself--no descent into the bottle from a failed career (see the new Lawrence Tibbett biography, also from Amadeus Press, for that sad story), and certainly no diminution of Bjoerling's vocal powers even as his body was failing him at age forty-nine; if anything, as Farkas's research underscores, Bjoerling was arguably a greater singer at the very end that at any other point in his singular career. As with Farkas's ENRICO CARUSO (1990), this book is laden with rarely-seen photographs, recollections of numerous colleagues and contemporaries (and, once and for all, a final clearing-up of the Solti "Requiem" recording incident, cross-documented from correspondence, recording-industry documents, and from one of the very last interviews that Sir Georg Solti ever gave), plus a chronology (by Bjoerling discographer Harald Henrysson), and an exhaustive bibliography. In sum, in Andrew Farkas's new JUSSI, the story of a great singer has found an ideal teller.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An excellent book a must for any Jussi Fan! 21 juillet 1998
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
The legacy of Jussi Bjorling if for everyone, young and old alike. This great book provides the opportunity to get to know Jussi the man behind the voice. This book will complement any opera buffs collection of music and literature. Given that great voices come as a result of life experiences as well as training this book certainly helps us to understand Jussi like no other book could. Jussi Bjorling will be remember ed for years to come and hopefully this book will enable furture gernerations of music lovers in hundreds of years time to understand more about this great artist. (Unlike us who have very little to go on with regard to the great singers of hundreds of years ago).
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