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Bernhard Sönnerstedt (Baritone)

Born: July 26, 1918 - Norrhult, Sweden
Died: August 7, 1971

The Swedish baritone, Bernhard Sönnerstedt, studied with Karl Nygren-Kloster and then at the Stockholm Academy of Music from 1935 to 1938 (with Joseph Hislop and Julia Claussens) and at the College of Opera (with John Forsell and Gerda Lundquist), as well as for Dagmar Gustafsson and - after the war - with Giuseppe de Luca in Milan.

In 1940 Bernhard Sönnerstedt made his debut the Royal Opera in Stockholm as Prince Gremin in Eugen Onegin by Tchaikovsky. He sang there in 1942-1943 as a member, as the holder of a scholarship. Apart from this year
he was never tied to one theatre but gave special guest performances. He sang as a guest in Stockholm and at other Swedish opera stages, in roles as Leporello in Don Giovanni, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Mephisto in Faust by Charles Gounod, Escamillo in Carmen, four Dämonen in Hoffmanns Erzählungen and King Philipp in Don Carlos by Verdi. Since 1943 he appeared frequently at the Stora Theater Göteborg, at the City Theatre of Malmoe and at the Stockholm Riksteater. At the Stora In 1966 he appeared at the Theatre Göteborg as Porgy in the Swedish premiere of Porgy and Bess. He had even more important career in the concert hall (primarily Also romances and oratorios). On concert tours in the Scandinavian countries, in England, Italy, France and Switzerland he showed himself as a great interpreter of the works of J.S. Bach early Baroque music. He was also a member of the Engelbrekt church choir.

From 1956 to 1969 (or 1959) Bernhard Sönnerstedt was a producer of musical broadcasts at the Swedish Radio; from 1960 to 1966 (or 1969-1970) he was chief and managing director of the Stora Theatre Göteborg. He was a member of the Swedish Music Academy.

Recordings: HMV (Bach Cantatas), HMV-Electrola (Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms), HRE (Blue-Beard Castle by Béla Bartók with Birgit Nilsson).

Source: Operissimo Website English translation by Aryeh Oron (June 2004); Liner notes to the album 'Father David and his Bach - J.S. Bach: St Matthew Passion' conducted by David Åhlén (Caprice)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2004); Willem van Erk (June 2006)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




David Åhlén


BWV 244 [sung in Swedish]

Mogens Wöldike


BWV 33, BWV 82, BWV 105; BWV 452, BWV 479

Links to other Sites


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Last update: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 03:51