Monday, October 17, 2011

Ingvar Wixell Passed Away at Age 80 in Sweden on October 8

"It take a long pull to get there"
Porgy and Bess (Gershwin)
Ingvar Wixell (May 7, 1931 – October 8, 2011) was a Swedish baritone opera singer. Ingvar Wixell was born in Luleå in 1931. He was born into a musical family. He sang in the choir growing up and played the viola in the local orchestra as well as in a string quartet. It was the cellist in the quartet that encouraged Wixell to pursue singing. He worked as an office clerk to sustain himself financially and it was during his military service in Stockholm that he saw his first opera at age 21. This was the moment he truly decided to become a singer. He entered the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm (the same year as soprano Birgit Nilsson) and began vocal studies with

"Vieni, la mia vendetta"
Lucrezia Borgia (Donizetti)
Dagmar Gustafson. Soon thereafter he made his debut on February 6, 1955, as Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm where he was member of the company until 1967. It was not long before he became close with the "iron gang" of singers including Kerstin Meyer, Elisabeth Soderstrom, Barbro Ericson, Margaret Hallin, Eric Sædén and Ragnar Ulfung. His first European debut was in the title role of Rigoletto at Munich's Bayerische Staatsoper in 1960. He made his British debut during the Royal Swedish Opera's visit to Covent Garden in 1960, and sang Guglielmo at Glyndebourne and at the Proms in 1962. For the Royal Opera, London he sang Simon Boccanegra in 1972. In America he appeared at San Francisco Opera (Belcore, 1972) and the Metropolitan Opera (Rigoletto,

"Te Deum" Tosca (Puccini)
1973). He was engaged at the Deutsche Oper Berlin 1967 where he was a member for more than 30 years. At Bayreuth he sang the Herald in Lohengrin (1971). Among other roles, Wixell sang Figaro in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen, Amonasro in Verdi's Aida, Baron Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca, and the title roles in Verdi's Rigoletto, Simon Boccanegra, Mozart's Don Giovanni, Verdi's Falstaff and Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. Wixell performed all the songs in the competition to select Sweden's Eurovision Song Contest 1965 entry. The winning song was "Annorstädes Vals" (Elsewhere Waltz), which Wixell went on to perform at the international final in Naples. In a break from the then prevailing tradition, the song was sung in English (as "Absent Friend").

"Cortigiani, vil razza dannata"
Rigoletto (Verdi)
This led to the introduction from 1966 onwards of a rule stipulating that each country's entry must be sung in one of the languages of that country. (This rule was cancelled for the years 1973 to 1977, reinstated in 1978, and cancelled again in 1999.). He eventually moved to Monaco where he was neighbors with Bjorn Borg, Mats Wilander and Ingemar Stenmark. Wixell ended his career in 2003 by singing the Music teacher in Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at Malmö Opera. Wixell died on October 8, 2011, aged 80. He is survived by his wife Margareta. [
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