While the outstanding Swedish baritone, Håkan Hagegård, was still at school, he studied singing at the Local Conservatory of his hometown. In 1967 he started to attend the class for soloists at the State College of Music in Stockholm (Royal Academy).
After finishing his studies, Håkan Hagegård made his début at the Royal Opera, Stockholm in 1968 as Papageno (Die Zauberflöte). It was in the same role that he later won universal acclaim in Ingmar Bergmanís television film of Mozartís opera. In 1970 he made his first appearance at the Drottningholm Theatre as Pacuvio in Rossiniís La Pietra del Paragone. Since 1970 Håkan Hagegård has been attached to the Royal Opera, Stockholm, and his operatic repertoire includes numerous roles, such roles as Malatesta (Don Pasquale), Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte), Count Almaviva (La Nozze di Figaro), Figaro (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Rodrigo (Don Carlos) and Wolfram (Tannhäuser).
Hagegard studied Lieder interpretation with both Erik Werba and Gerald Moore, and made his debut as a Lieder singer in Stockholm in 1970, singing Schubertís Die Winterreise. He has since given Lieder recitals all over Europe, has appeared with the leading orchestras of his native Scandinavia and America, and in many major musical centres including London, Madrid and Salzburg. He has made several recordings, including Die Zauberflöte, and Operatic Recital, and the Philips recording of La Bohème in which he sings the role of Schaunard.
Håkan Hagegård has been increasingly in demand abroad both as an opera singer and recitalist, notably in the USA, at Glyndebourne, in Spain and West Germany. He made his operatic debut in America as Malatesta in Don Pasquale at the Metropolitan Opera, New York in 1980. His 1980 engagements included his debut at the Edinburgh Festival in his own recital. In 1980 he also undertook a major World Tour under the auspices of the Swedish Government, which comprised a series of concerts and recitals throughout Europe, Israel, Australia, Hong Kong and America, and which also included a further recital at the Wigmore Hall in London. In December 1991, he created the role of Beaumarchais in the premiere of Coriglianoís The Ghosts of Versailles at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
Håkan Hagegård waa briefly married to the American soprano Barbara Bonney. He particularly distinguished himself in operas by Mozart, Rossini, and Verdi.