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Nicolai Gedda - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda (born July 11, 1925) is a famous opera singer and recitalist. Having made some two hundred recordings, Gedda is said to be the most widely recorded tenor in history. Gedda's singing is best known for his beauty of tone, vocal control, and musical perception.Nicolai Harry Gustav Gedda (gedda [written as 'gädda'] means 'pike' in Swedish) was born in Stockholm to a Swedish mother and a half-Russian father. Gedda was raised by his aunt Olga Gedda and his adopted father Mikhail Ustinoff (a distant relative of Peter Ustinov), who sang bass in a Cossack choir and was cantor in a Russian Orthodox church. Gedda grew up bilingual in Swedish and Russian. From 1929 to 1934 they lived in Leipzig where young Nicolai learned German. They returned to Sweden after Hitler came to power. In school he learned later English, French and Latin. After leaving school he learned Italian by himself.
Gedda began his professional career as a bank teller in a local bank in Stockholm. One day he told a client that he was searching for a good singing teacher and the client recommended Carl Martin Öhman, a well known Wagnerian tenor from the 1920s who is also credited with discovering one of the world's famous tenors, Jussi Björling. Later he was teaching also the great Finnish bass Martti Talvela. Öhman was enthusiastic about Gedda and took him as a pupil, at the beginning without payment, because Gedda had to support his parents with his pay. After a few months he obtained a scholarship and was later able to pay for Öhman's lectures.
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