Nicolai Gedda

About Nicolai Gedda

Charming, debonair, sophisticated, Nicolai Gedda had a long career as one of the world’s leading lyric tenors through the second half of the 20th century, matching on their own ground the Latin voices that tended to rule that category of singing. Because Gedda could do anything, perfectly. Born in 1925 in Stockholm to a Swedish mother and a Swedish-Russian father, raised partly in Germany before gravitating toward France (where he excelled in French repertoire), he was multilingual and blessed with a broad musical intelligence that attracted the record producer Walter Legge, who "discovered" him in the early 1950s. A run of now-celebrated EMI recordings was the immediate result, starting with a landmark 1952 Boris Godunov (casting Gedda as Dimitri). And some 200 more releases followed in the next four decades, mirroring a stage career that focused on the Paris Opera, New York Met, and Covent Garden in roles like Tamino (Magic Flute), Alfredo (La Traviata), and the Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto), alongside the great French tenor repertoire of Gounod, Meyerbeer, and Berlioz. Clarity and effortless legato that could float a top note with impressive style ranked high among his gifts. An ear for detail made him an accomplished song recitalist. And being quick to learn, he was useful in new music—not least at the Met, where he created operatic roles by Barber and Menotti. Still performing and recording into his late 70s, he died in 2017 at age 91.

Stockholm, Sweden
July 11, 1925
Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada