The Swedish tenor, Gösta Winbergh, studied studied structural engineering and played in a rock band in the 1960’s, before pursuing his vocal studies at age 24 in his home town Stockholm with Erik Saedén at the Musikhögskolan (Royal University College of Music), and pursued his musical training at the Opera Conservatory of Stockholm.
After his 1973 debut as Rodolfo in La Bohème in Göteborg, Gösta Winbergh became a member of the Royal Opera Stockholm where his roles included Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore, and Rodolfo. Since 1981, he has been a regular guest at the Zurich Opera, singing many of the major Mozart roles, particularly in productions staged by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle and conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Winbergh is now considered one of the leading tenors of the day and has been a frequent performer at the major houses and festivals of the world. He has appeared at San Francisco Opera (1974 USA debut as Don Ottavio, a reprise of the role in 1981, Ferrando in Così fan tutte in 1983, Erik in Der Fliegende Holländer in 1997), the Metropolitan Opera (1983 debut as Ottavio), Milan’s La Scala, the houses of Munich, Berlin, Amsterdam, Vienna, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Chicago and Houston, as well as at the Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, Glyndebourne, Munich and Tanglewood Festivals.
In recent seasons Gösta Winbergh has been appearing with great success in heavier tenor roles: the title parts of Lohengrin (Berlin, Paris, Ravenna) and Parsifal (Zurich, Berlin, Stockholm); Walther in Die Meistersinger (Berlin, Vienna, Chicago, Covent Garden); Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos (Zurich); Florestan in Fidelio (Nice, Zurich, Vienna); and, most recently, a highly praised Tristan in Tristan und Isolde (Zurich). In the future, the tenor will sing the roles of Siegmund/Die Walküre, Siegfried/Siegfried and Tristan for the Vienna State Opera, Zurich Opera and the Royal Opera in Stockholm.
An artist with numerous recordings to his credit, Gösta Winbergh was also a highly regarded concert soloist and recitalist.
Gösta Winbergh is often mentioned as among Sweden's and the worlds finest tenors, included with Jussi Björling and Nicolai Gedda. He was known for his lyricism, golden tone and rugged Scandinavian good looks. He died at a regrattably young age, in his apartment in Vienna, Austria, where he was performing at the time. The cause of death was given as heart failure. To honour his memory and opera work The Gösta Winbergh Award (GWA) was instituted in Sweden after his death: the award is each year handed out to young aspiring tenors through an arranged singing contest that takes place at the opera stage Confidencen, at the Ulriksdal Royal Estate (a few miles outside Stockholm).