Nicolai Gedda: The First Ten Years
„... and many thanks for presenting me as a human being
- an ordinary person!“
„What do you mean?“
„Well, that doesn’t happen all that often, you see ...“
Nicolai Gedda’s reaction to a radio programme of mine in 1993. Who would have thought that one of this century’s most celebrated artists would be so appreciative of a simple introduction? I was surprised by his modesty already in 1967.
On my way to the first interview with him, I met a happily singing young man. Once in the presence of The Master, he approaches me with a „Hello! Do you know that you saw one of the next generation of great singers on the stairs? His name is Claes-Håkan Ahnsjö!“ Nicolai goes on immediately to tell me about Berlioz and the Songs of a Summer Night he has came home to Stockholm to perform. He then goes on to talk about the opera Benvenuto Cellini by the same composer, without mentioning the succès pyramidal he has just enjoyed at Covent Garden in the title role. He does however ask me: „But you have read Cellini’s memoirs, haven’t you?“
I think this sums up Nicolai Gedda: He is more concerned with being regarded and treated as a human being than as a megastar. His „own humble self“ is uninteresting, possibly a sign of shyness he has tried to conquer all his life. He is a born teacher - a great enthusiast and spreader of knowledge. When it comes to charity, Nicolai is always most generous. He is enormously wellread and reads most Western literature in the original.
This feeling for languages has naturally helped in the perfection of his many-faceted and constantly active phenomenon. If one should try to sum up his life, one soon loses count of all the cities, continents, opera houses, concert venues, first nights, composers, churches, colleagues, recordings, conductors, VIPs and fans ...
Carola Kilström, translation: David Aler