Cultural achievement with international compass
The fifteenth (doubled) concert in honour of Jussi Björling was presented at Voxna Church on Monday 6 July. An impressive event in every respect! Artistically and practically (coach transport from Bollnäs railway station was a new feature this year). A buffet at Voxnabruk Manor provides opportunities for the participants to meet and get to know each other before the request concert where we were treated to recordings with Jussi, under guidance from Lars Hemmingsson, John-Erik Eleby and Stefan Olmårs.
That Jussi Björling still is “great” worldwide (not least in the US) is testified every year in different ways – this year there were visitors from Wales.
Of the participating singers this year – who all captured us with their joy, charm and charisma – Malin Hartelius is probably best known in the German speaking world, where she has had her career primarily in Zurich and Vienna, rather than in Sweden. A luminous star, no doubt!
Karii Mobacke makes an entry the other way round
Tenor Per-Håkan Precht, who among other songs with the utmost ease performed the allegedly difficult aria from Turandot, Nessun dorma, and the impressive bass John-Erik Eleby represented the male part of the programme.
Responsible for the accompaniments – on piano and organ – was Lennart Eng as usual – one of the two mainstays of the concerts – and besides Lena Rieback.
Many travel long ways for this event, and also the second day offers an interesting programme. This year the singer Jan Hammarlund presented recordings with Hjördis Schymberg, who was the one who sang the most times with Jussi Björling. This second day usually includes “In the footsteps of the Björlings”. Thus it was also this year: Anna-Lena Carlsson told the history of Voxnabruk and how it is interwoven the Björling family.
After lunch we had opportunities to visit Stefan Olmårs’ family house in Alfta, which evoked great admiration from the visitors – in these times of hälsingegårdar (the specific building styles in the province of Hälsingland).
In short, this is something utterly impressive! For every year the arrangements are developed, and one can only imagine the enormous work that lies behind: thoughts, journeys, contacts with singers and sponsors etc. It is a question of finding and presenting worthy heirs to Jussi and entice them to a concert “far away in the forest”. It is not only a great interest in music and love to our Swedish music phenomenon Jussi Björling, but also generosity and love to music lovers that makes someone spend so much energy on the programme we were able to enjoy. Thanks, Jussi Björling Society, and in particular, thanks, fiery-spirit, Stefan Olmårs!
Author: Christina Berg-Tylöskog
Translation: Göran Forsling