In thirty years of recording activity Nicolai Gedda has put together such a large amount of operas, operettas and recitals that we have the embarrassment of choosing among them (it is enough to say that by the end of 1963 he had already recorded a score of operas and three recitals, and even a couple of 78 rpms.).
As if dozens of "studio" recordings weren't enough, there are also precious "live" documents, like this record itself: a Viennese edition of The Ugonots, for instance, and an Italian radio recording of Le Prophete, which can be counted among the zeniths of the extreme versatility of the Swedish singer, real Pillars of Hercules for a tenor who made the right start towards a congenial Mozartian dimension, subsequently broadening his horizons in various and often astonishing directions.
Certainly today it's unusual to find a tenor who, like Gedda, starts from Adam's Postillon, to reach the sixth upper degree peaks of Guglielmo Tell, on the one hand dedicating himself to the normal light-operatic repertoire (with an obvious preference for Mozart's characters) and on the other not hesitating to expose his precious uvula to the surprises not always pleasant of contemporary composers such as Orff or Stravinsky. Stravinsky matches perfectly Gedda's sensitivity, Swedish in origin but so Russian on his father's side as to call himself no less than Ustinov (a surname not unknown in the soviet Nomenklatura). But on this direction one is more likely to meet Tschaikowski than Stravinsky and, more exactly, the Lenski of Eugene Onegin of which Gedda offers a scenically convincing and vocally striking portrait, as this record shows quite clearly. But this record brings out other peculiar features of Gedda's art: his ability to sing in various languages, Italian, French and Russian (besides German, English and, of course, Swedish) and the above said versatility that enables him to pass with ease from the Italian seventeenth and eighteenth century to the Halo-French Romanticism, to the Franco-Russian Naturalism, the minimum trace of that singular stylistic itinerary which has led the Swedish tenor from Rameau to Liebermann, with captivating deviations along the dead-end track (a very living one, as a matter of fact) that links Johann Strauss to Franz Lehar Within an extremely careful line of singing rise over other features Nicolai Gedda's refinement and good taste. Do these help to build up the "myth of the tenor" too? Frankly, I think they do.
English Translation: Franco Giovannone"