Tenor  Gösta  Winbergh

Two Conversations with Bruce Duffie


This box contains a biography of the tenor taken (and slightly edited) from the Bach Cantatas website, followed by an obituary published in The Guardian (of London), which also reflects some opinions of the author, Alan Blyth.

Gösta Winbergh (Tenor)

Born: December 30, 1943 - Stockholm, Sweden
Died: March 18, 2002 - Vienna, Austria

The Swedish tenor, Gösta Winbergh, 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 of 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, 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 was considered one of the leading tenors of the day, and was a frequent performer at the major houses and festivals of the world. He 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 later seasons, Winbergh appeared with great success in heavier tenor roles such as the title parts of Lohengrin (Berlin, Paris, Ravenna) and Parsifal (Zurich, Berlin, Stockholm, Chicago), Walther in Die Meistersinger (Berlin, Vienna, Chicago, Covent Garden), Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos (Zurich), Florestan in Fidelio (Nice, Zurich, Vienna), and a highly praised Tristan in Tristan und Isolde (Zurich). At the time of his death, the tenor was contracted to sing the roles of Siegmund in Die Walküre, the title role in Siegfried and Tristan for the Vienna State Opera, Zurich Opera and the Royal Opera in Stockholm.

An artist with numerous recordings to his credit, Winbergh was also a highly regarded concert soloist and recitalist.

Gösta Winbergh is often mentioned as among Sweden's and the world's 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 handed out each year 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).

*     *     *     *     *

Obituary by Alan Blyth in The Guardian

Gösta Winbergh, who has died at the age of 58, was one of the most admired tenors of recent times. He made his name in Mozart, then progressed over the past 10 years to heavier roles, which he served with the same distinction. His warm and attractive timbre was used in the most artistic way, signifying his considerable intelligence.

Covent Garden utilised him first in 1991 as a manly and authoritative Emperor Titus in Mozart's La Clemenza Di Tito, a role he made very much his own. He returned, first as Mozart's Mitridate, and then in his new guise as a Wagnerian to sing a handsome - vocally and dramatically - and lyrical Lohengrin (a role he had first sung in Zurich in an avant-garde staging in 1991), which brought him critical and public praise.

He followed that with an even more impressive Walther in Die Meistersinger (1993). Usually tenors find this among the most taxing of parts, but Winbergh delivered it with such ease and musicality that one wondered why others have found it so difficult.

A bonus to Winbergh's excellent singing was his stage deportment. He actually looked right for both these parts, conveying a deal of romantic ardour. Most recently he had tackled Tristan and Parsifal, though, sadly, not for British audiences. Also among his latter-day successes were the Emperor in Richard Strauss's Die Frau Ohne Schatten and Florestan in Beethoven's Fidelio (it was the day after performing that role at the Vienna State Opera that he suffered his fatal heart attack). Recently he recorded the part for the budget label Naxos, but there was nothing "budget" about his performance: his ringing tones and his remarkable execution of the final section of his big act two scene were truly astonishing in a part that is a nemesis for so many tenors.

Winbergh might never have become a singer, as he trained as a structural engineer before enrolling at the Royal Academy in his native Stockholm, studying with the famous baritone Erik Saeden. His 1972 debut at Göteborg as Rodolfo immediately attracted the attention of the Royal Opera in Stockholm, where he was engaged as principal tenor, remaining a member of the ensemble until 1981.

However, he was soon in demand abroad, mostly for his Mozartian roles. He was engaged as early as 1980 by Glyndebourne, where he sang a mellifluous Belmonte in Die Entführung. His first appearance at the Metropolitan in 1983 was as Don Ottavio, and at La Scala in 1985 as Tamino; he returned there for Idomeneo in 1990. He was a regular visitor to the Salzburg Festival, where he was a notable Ferrando in Così Fan Tutte.

Even in those years Winbergh was not confined to Mozart. His repertory included, among others, Count Almaviva, Nemorino, the Duke of Mantua, Alfredo, Lensky and Faust, all of which benefited from his sweet, refined singing and alert acting.

The earlier part of Winbergh's career is preserved on CD in his charming account of Ernesto in Don Pasquale, his Don Ottavio for Karajan, Tito for Muti, Belmonte for Solti, and Ferrando for Arnold Östmann in a performance at Drottningholm, where he had appeared in the part on stage. Even more important is a recent issue on DVD of his Walther in a fine Berlin performance of Die Meistersinger. In every respect it captures the essence of his skills in the role, both vocal and dramatic.

He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

·Gösta Winbergh, tenor, born December 30 1943; died March 18 2002.


See my interviews with Barbara Bonney, Rolando Panerai, Mirella Freni, and Sesto Bruscantini

Though he only made a few visits, Chicago was fortunate in having Gösta Winbergh for five of his major roles.  As shown in the chart below, he gave us three Mozarts and two Wagners, and undoubtedly would have returned again.  His untimely death, just nine days after his final performance here, robbed the world of his artistry and his charming personality.

I was pleased to be able to speak with him twice
— once on his first visit, and again sixteen seasons later.  On both occasions we had a delightful meeting.  Each discussion focused on his repertoire at the time, and the pangs of ‘what if’ can be felt when reading his ideas and enthusiasm for upcoming performances that never took place.

So, with bittersweet memories, I present both conversations on this page.  As always, names which are links refer to my interviews elsewhere on my website.  

We begin in 1982, when he was singing Ferrando in Così fan tutte.  As we were settling in for the chat, he was commenting about the weather . . . . .

Bruce Duffie:   Aside from the pollen, how do you like Chicago?

Gösta Winbergh:   Oh, it’s beautiful.  It’s very nice.

BD:   This is your first time here?

GW:   Yes, my first time, but it’s not my first time in America.  I’ve been in San Francisco twice before at the opera house there, and I’ve been in New York, but not doing my profession.  San Francisco is very much different from this part of the country.

BD:   How so?  Because of all the hills?

GW:   The ground is different.  The Earth is different.

BD:   The Earth shakes out there!

GW:   The Earth shakes, yes.  [Laughs]  I like that part of the country very much.  I like it here, too, but I haven’t had time to see too much.  Plus there is the cold weather, and the wind.

Gösta Winbergh at Lyric Opera of Chicago

1982 - Così fan tutte (Ferrando) with Yakar, Howells, Stilwell, Hynes, Trimarchi; Rudel, Sciutti, Griffin, Schuler

1988-89 - Don Giovanni (Don Ottavio) with Ramey, Vaness, Mattila, Desderi, McLaughlin, Macurdy; Bychkov, Ponnelle/Lata, Schuler

1989-90 - Clemenza di Tito (Tito) with Vaness, Troyanos/Mentzer, Graham, Doss; Davis, Rochaix, Toffolutti, Sullivan

1998-99 - Meistersinger (Walther) with Rootering, Gustafson, Pape, Schulte, Schade, Redmon, Del Carlo; Thielemann, Horres, Reinhardt, Schuler

2001-02 - Parsifal (Parsifal) [Final performance on March 9, 2002] with Salminen, Malfitano, Delavan, Kristansson; Davis, Lehnhoff, Bauer, Schuler 

BD:   Tell me the secret of singing Mozart.

winbergh GW:   The secret of singing Mozart!  It’s work, hard work!  

BD:   Is it more work to sing Mozart than to sing Rossini?

GW:   No, I wouldn’t say so.  If you want to keep on singing Rossini, you have to always, always practice your coloraturas and the lightness in the voice.  You have to always keep practicing that, anyway in Mozart, but the Rossini is the hardest to keep on singing.

BD:   You still sing some Rossini roles?

GW:   I sing Rossini, too, but mostly Mozart.  For Mozart you have to keep your voice slim all the time, and to keep it clean is hard work.

BD:   Do you feel that being a singer that you’re almost like an athlete in training?

GW:   Yes, very much.  You have to live away from certain kinds of things.  For example, you cannot go out running in cold weather; you have to keep away from drafts; you always have to think about your voice.

BD:   Do you ever wish you were a bass?

GW:   Sometimes!

BD:   [Surprised]  Really?  Why???

GW:   The basses have it easier because the voice isn’t so sensitive.  They can talk a lot, and they can live much more normal than a tenor can.

BD:   [Laughs]  You mean you have to live an abnormal life?

GW:   Yes, you do, really.  You have to keep away from things, and always think about your performances and your voice to keep this lightness.  You cannot simply sing.  You have to think about singing the right parts.

BD:   How do the different sized houses affect your vocal production?

GW:   It doesn’t matter, really.  You don’t sing any different in a big house or in a small house.  You sing with the voice that you have, and you cannot do anything more.  Also, the voice carries better in a big house than in a small house.  The voice grows in the big house if you have the right projection.

BD:   There has to be a focus?

GW:   There has to be a focus, yes.  If you don’t have the focus, then it’s easier in a small house.  But if you have a focus in the voice, then it carries more in the big house.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   Have you sung all the Mozart tenor roles?

GW:   Nearly everything... Seraglio, Così, Don Giovanni, Magic Flute, Titus, Idomeneo.

winbergh BD:   Do you do any of the lesser-known ones, like La Finta Semplice?

GW:   No, I don’t.  Six different parts I’ve sung.

BD:   Is there any difference in the two German parts from the Italian parts?  Are they written differently, or it is just a different language?

GW:   Così [which he was performing at the time of this interview] is more Italian-written.  It’s in a different tessitura than Zauberflöte.

BD:   Così is higher?

GW:   It’s a higher tessitura; the level of the voice is higher.  The Magic Flute is more on the side of the dramatic line of Mozart.  Tamino is like going into Wagner a little bit.  It’s very heavy to sing.

BD:   When you’re singing either of the two German operas
Die Entführung [Seraglio] or Zauberflöte [Magic Flute]do you find it difficult to go from the singing to the spoken dialogue?

GW:   Yes.  It’s difficult.  Talking is always bad for the voice.  You have to talk right, but most singers are afraid of talking.

BD:   You mean on stage?

GW:   Everything.  Even privately!  That’s always why before performances you don’t want to talk too much.  It’s more tiring to talk than to sing.

BD:   Do you have to carry more energy into the spoken dialogue?

GW:   Yes, and then you have to talk loud if there’s a big stage.  We singers are not trained to talk; we are trained to sing!  When they talk, singers try to project the same way as when they’re singing, and it doesn’t work.  You just have to talk loud, and that’s very tiring.

BD:   So you find you’re more tired at the end of one of those operas which has spoken dialogue? 

GW:   Yes, because of the talking.

BD:   Would you rather they would cut most or all of the dialogue?

GW:   They usually cut them down very much.  Usually you take away a lot of recitation.  For instance, in the Zauberflöte or Entführung, there’s a lot of text.  Usually you cut it down to a minimum.

BD:   A couple of lines and then the aria?

GW:   Yes.  For instance, the Königin der Nacht [the Queen of the Night] has a lot of text before her arias, but she never does it all.  She only says a line or two, and then sings Der Hölle Rache.  She should talk for about five or six minutes.

BD:   If you were in a production where they kept all of the spoken dialogue, would you withdraw from that?

GW:   No, I wouldn’t do that.  In the Zauberflöte in Salzburg with Ponnelle, he does most of the dialogue, and it’s a lot of dialogue.

BD:   Which theater is that given in?

GW:   In the Felsenreitschule [1412 seats, plus 25 standing places].

BD:   Could it be done at the Großes Festspielhaus [2179 seats; 330 feet wide]?

GW:   It could be, but the Felsenreitschule is a very big theater with a very big stage [130 feet wide].


See my interview with Ann Murray

BD:   In singing Mozart tenor roles, you never get killed on stage.  They’re all happy-ending operas...

GW:   Well, Idomeneo goes away.  He leaves it to Idamante.

BD:   If you were singing Verdi or verismo works, you would get skewered much of the time.

GW:   Yes, that’s true.

BD:   Do you like not be getting killed?

GW:   It’s nice to live at the end.  [Both laugh]

winberegh BD:   Do you like these characters that you sing?

GW:   Yes, I do, especially Così.  I like it very much because it’s funny and it’s nice to move about.  It’s not so static.

BD:   Who do you end up?  Does Ferrando end up with Fiordiligi or with Dorabella?

GW:   According to the score, he ends up with Dorabella.

BD:   Should he?

GW:   It depends how you see it morally.  From the libretto, he ends up with Dorabella.

BD:   Are they happy after that?  [Vis-à-vis the recording shown at right, see my interview with Alicia Nafé]

GW:   I don’t know.  I really think that Fiordiligi and Ferrando fall in love.  Really they find  each other.  Also Dorabella and Guglielmo really find that they would maybe be happier if they would stick to this.

BD:   So, maybe they should swap permanently?

GW:   Yes.  Many productions have Dorabella and Ferrando, and Fiordiligi and Guglielmo stand together at the end, but sometimes Ferrando and Fiordiligi are holding hands behind their backs.  So, there is a double verdict, and you never know what’s going to happen.  Then the curtain goes down, and the imagination begins to go on.

BD:   Would you ever play this opera in modern dress?

GW:   Yes, I could, and I don’t think it would be any different.  The story could be very much up to date, which is, today, much more normal that it was before. 

BD:   It is not quite the scandal it once was.

GW:   That’s true.  When it was first performed, it was a great scandal.

BD:   Are you conscious of the fact that when Mozart wrote this opera, that it would cause much more scandal that it does today?  Might you do something now to cause the same kind of scandal?

GW:   How do you mean?

BD:   Maybe playing it a little more forward, or a little more intense than Mozart wanted?

GW:   I don’t know.  I haven’t thought about that.  I don’t think so.  It doesn’t matter if it’s today, or if it was a hundred years ago.  It doesn’t really matter because the tension is there in the voice and in the character.  You have to give that tension to be able to sing it right.

BD:   Would you sing this role in translation?

GW:   Yes, I’ve done this.

BD:   Do you think opera works in translation?

GW:   Some do and some do not.  Some Mozart operas definitely work in translation.  For instance, Così works very much in translation because the whole opera hangs a lot on the understanding of the words
all that funny stuff you say, especially in the recitatives.  The same holds for Zauberflöte.  It’s very important to have it in the language of the country that you sing in.

BD:   When you’re not singing it in the language of the country, do you find that the gestures have to be a little broader, and the action has to tell the story?

GW:   No, I don’t think so.  You don’t do anymore in the action.  But it helps very much for the people that they understand what is going on.  You don’t play bigger just because you’re singing in another language.

BD:   Let me turn the question around.  If you know that the audience understands every word, can you be more subtle?

GW:   Yes, you can rely more on the words, of course.  You don’t have to really underline it with a gesture.  The time for the big gesture in opera time is gone.

BD:   Do you think that operatic acting has improved in the last ten years?

GW:   Yes, very much, I think so … very much so.  All the big gestures
I’m dying, or Vincitoreare gone now.  People laugh when they see that, when you come out with a big gesture.

BD:   So a lot of your acting is based on the expectation and demand of the audience?

GW:   Yes.

BD:   Is the audience today more sophisticated?

GW:   They know more.  They know very much more about opera.  The voice is the central thing.  If the voice is good, you can do more with your part, but I don’t think that the voice is as important today as it was thirty years ago, or twenty years ago.  There were great singers then, but that time you could get away with only singing.  You could just stand there and sing, and I don’t think that is accepted today.  Now you can sing as beautiful as you can, and sing fantastically, but you also have to give the part something, and also to stage it.  This helps a lot for the audience today.  They see the whole picture, not only the voice.

BD:   Opera, then, is more a total thing?

GW:   Yes, I think so.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   Let’s look at another role.  In Don Giovanni you sing Don Ottavio.  Is he really a strong person, or is he just sort of watching and seeing what’s going on?

GW:   Well, he’s hanging around Donna Anna all the time.  He really is a weak person, but I always try to make him more dramatic and give him more willpower

winbergh BD:   You try to put more strength into the role?

GW:   Yes, put more strength into it.  I think it helps a lot for the part to do that.

BD:   How old is Don Ottavio?

GW:   I don’t know.  Some production say that he’s really old, around forty... which is old for the opera.  The others are usually around sixteen or seventeen years old.

BD:   When Ponnelle did it here, he specifically picked an older tenor [Hermann Winkler] because he felt it would be more convincing.  Do you make yourself up a little older, then?

GW:   No, I don’t.  I played him young, and not going in the footsteps of Donna Anna all the time.  I try to make something out of Don Ottavio, to show that he makes his own decisions, and not only all the time from Donna Anna.

BD:   But if a director told you to make him weak, you would go along with that?

GW:   You have to.  I will try to convince him of my ideas, but usually you end up in the middle somewhere.  

BD:   [With a gentle nudge]  Might you do it the director’s way in the first performance, and after the director’s left town, then go back to your own idea?

GW:   [Smiles]  No, no, I don’t mean that.  I mean during the rehearsal time you try to meet half way, give a little there and take a little there.

BD:    How interesting for you is Tamino?  He seems to be one of your favorite parts.

GW:   I sing it a lot, yes.  Tamino has a lot to do.

BD:   I trust that Tamino is a much stronger character?

GW:   Yes, it’s a much stronger character than Don Ottavio.  It’s more of a Helden part.  There is more to that part.  He’s a prince, so the figure has to be strong.  If you sing the part of Tamino with the feeling that you are really a prince, that you are really something big, and you sing it in an aristocratic way, then the part becomes very natural for you because it’s more of a dramatic part.  It’s more into the dramatic line.  Many tenors who have been singing Tamino, later have gone into Wagner parts like Lohengrin and Parsifal... [which is exactly what Winbergh did later in his own career!]

BD:    What’s the relationship between Tamino and Papageno?   Are they just friends or is there anything closer than that?

GW:   No, they’re just friends.

BD:   Is Tamino happy with Pamina in the
third act?

GW:   Oh, yes, of course.  She’s very happy.  

BD:   So this opera actually works out for them?

GW:   Yes, that really works out.  That’s no double moral.  He doesn’t go to Papagena.  He’s not that kind of a guy.  [Laughs]  There was a production in Hamburg which was made in a very funny way.  Papageno is homosexual, and there’s some funny stories about that.  Die Sprecher and Papageno make it at the end.  It
s very funny!

BD:   Papagena gets left out in the cold!

GW:   You never know!  These directors just have to do something different.  I don’t like them.

BD:   You don’t like that kind of idea?

GW:   I don’t like that kind of theater.  I think it’s really sick.  It has nothing to do with opera, or should never be on the stage.  These people put things like that on the stage because they’re just out to do a sensation some way.  It is just for their own sake, to get their names in big letters, even if it’s a disaster.  It is just to do something that’s never done before, and personally I don’t like that.

BD:   So if Hamburg called you and needed a replacement tenor for this production, would you decline?

GW:   No, I would try to do it.  It was in the premiere that they did that, and I heard that now...

BD:   Oh, they’ve changed it?

GW:   No, they haven’t changed it, but, as you said before, when the producer goes away, sometimes over a longer period the contents of it has totally changed sometimes.  I think that the singers themselves are trying to change it.  They don’t go along with it.  You have to do it for the premiere, but if you feel really bad about something you cannot go on doing it every time.  Then it affects your singing and it affects your movements on stage.  Then you change it a little bit, or you don’t do it.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   Let’s move to Entführung.  What kind of a man is Belmonte?  Tell me a little bit about his character.

winbergh GW:   He’s a young man who’s met this Konstanze before.  He’s heard that she’s sitting as a prisoner on this little island.  He’s a very warm and innocent person, because his love is steering him all the time.  Without Pedrillo he would never do it.   He would never have been strong enough to go and make up all these stories to get Konstanze.  Osmin would have kicked him away long ago.  He’s one of those weak characters of Mozart
like Don Ottaviobut I think Pedrillo is the one who really sets everything up for him.  Without Pedrillo he would never have been able to find her, or make up the story that he’s an architect.  He does what Pedrillo says and goes along with the plot, and it works out.  I hadn’t really thought a lot about Belmonte.

BD:   You don’t sing him a lot?  [Vis-à-vis the recording shown at right, see my interviews with Martti Talvela, and Sir Georg Solti.]

GW:   I sing him a lot, but I haven’t thought really deeply about the character.  It’s not very complicated.  It’s not not like Don Ottavio, where you have to really get down to see what you’re going to do about him.  Otherwise, if you don’t do it, you just sing it, and then he’s very much in the background, and just a weak person.  Belmonte has more natural things in the part as it is written for singing.  He’s always there.  He’s a main part of the action all the time, and everything is about Belmonte and Konstanze, more than Don Ottavio.  There’s always Don Giovanni, Donna Anna, Leporello... and then Don Ottavio comes along.

BD:   That’s true.  In Entführung, there are only the five singing characters, so more of the opera rests on your shoulders.

GW:   Yes, it does, and Ottavio doesn’t demand much thought to really get out.  Of course I can sit and get the character out of Belmonte, too.  I’ve thought about him, but never so hard that I really find the conflict with him.  You can do a lot in the singing of it, being more dramatic or lyric, or trying to be strong and making him strong with your presence on stage, but I haven’t really gotten inside him to see what it’s all about.  Maybe I should! 

BD:   Another of your Mozart roles is Idomeneo.

GW:   I have sung it once, and that was very difficult for me, so I stopped singing it now.  

BD:   Why?

GW:   Because there’s really a conflict with his personality because he’s really an old man.  He should be an old man.  He should be more or less a father for everyone else there, and a young Idomeneo doesn’t really work.

BD:   Then he’s more of a brother to Idamante?

GW:   Yes, and that doesn’t really work.  You can put paint on your face, you can curl your hair, you can do anything with it, but you need the feeling of an old man, the presence of an old man on stage, even if he doesn’t look old but he seems old.  If I were going out made up as an old man, I don’t think the audience would believe in it because it’s in the voice, it’s in the character.

BD:   The audience would see a young man playing an old man?

GW:   Yes.  It really doesn’t work for me.  I think he should be old.

BD:   Do you like playing all these different characters?

GW:   Yes, I like to.

BD:   Are any of them very close to the real Gösta Winbergh?

GW:   [Thinks a moment]  One of the parts I like most is Titus, and many, many producers wants him to be old, too.  Personally I prefer Titus to be a young man, young and strong, but also a little bewildered.  I like the character of Titus very much.


BD:   Are you glad that at the end he does have clemency for everyone?

GW:   Well, yes, but that’s a little boring.  He forgives everyone...

BD:   You would rather send a few of them to another fate?

GW:   Well, yes.  [Laughs]  I should.  That’s the only weak part about the opera.  At the end, he just forgets it goes away, and everyone is forgiven!
BD:   There’s no correlation between Titus and Pasha Selim?

GW:    No.  Selim forgives everyone except Osmin.  I just did production of Titus in Covent Garden, and it was a nice production because he was so weak and forgiving.  Everything was in the tension of the character.  It was very strong, and I like that very much.  He has to forgive everyone.  He cannot only forgive Sextus.  He forgives Sextus, and he also has to forgive everyone around him.  But he can do it in different ways by the way you say it, and how he reacts.  I like that.  He forgives everyone, but he was very strong about it.  At the end he sings this recitative before the finale, when he says that he forgives Sextus, and shows him the paper where he’s written that he will send Sextus to death.  He tears it up at the end and throws it away, but he does it with a certain hesitation.

BD:   So he’s not particularly happy about it?

GW:   He’s not happy about forgiving, no, but he has to so.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   Will you be coming back to Chicago?

GW:   I hope so.  They have asked me back, but we have to plan for something suitable for me.  I like it very much here.  Ardis Krainik [General Director of Lyric Opera of Chicago 1981-97] has done a fantastic job with the company.  It’s a very friendly atmosphere.

winbergh BD:   More so than other opera houses?

GW:   Yes.  It’s very, very seldom that you find this friendly an atmosphere from everyone in the rehearsal department right to the top.  It’s a big family; it’s very nice.

BD:   We’re very happy with what Ardis has done.

GW:   Yes.  She’s a big mother for everyone.  She’s always there for all the performances.  She always comes and greets you, which is very rare.  Seldom do you see that in the theater with the Intendants.  Terry McEwen in San Francisco also comes, but in Europe it’s very seldom that you find the head of the house coming to every performance.

BD:   Maybe just the premiere and that’s it?

GW:   Just the premiere and that’s it.  You go there, you do a performance, and you go home.  No one says anything.  There’s always someone there, but it is an assistant or something.  Here, Ms. Krainik always comes backstage, and that’s nice.

BD:   That’s nice to know.  I’m glad you’re happy.  We look forward to having you back in Chicago. 

GW:   I’m very much looking forward to come again. Thank you so much.

*     *     *     *     *

[Photo at left shows Waltraud Meier and Gösta Winbergh
rehearsing for Tristan und Isolde in Vienna]

===  We now move ahead sixteen seasons for our second meeting, in February of 1999,

during his series of performances as Walther in Die Meistersinger ===

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   You were a Mozart singer and now you’re a Helden singer.  Did you go to anything in between, or did you just jump from the light to the heavy?

GW:   Well, I’m still a Mozart singer, also!  I sing quite a lot of Mozart still.  I do Idomeneo, and Giovanni, and Zauberflöte.

BD:   [Surprised]  And yet you’re singing Meistersinger and Tristan.

GW:   Tristan not yet.  I’m doing that next year.  But I do all the other Wagner parts
Lohengrin, Parsifal, Erik in Holländer...

BD:   [As a jest, which turns out to be very real]  No Siegfrieds yet?

GW:   No Siegfrieds yet, no.  That will come also later, around 2002.

BD:   [Genuinely pleased]  So you’re working up to the Siegfrieds?

GW:   Yes.  I’m doing the whole Ring in 2002,
03, and 04 in Zurich, and in Paris, and Madrid.

BD:   You’ve been singing Mozart for so long.  Do you like the Wagner parts now that you’re getting into them?

GW:   I do, I do.  I especially like the lighter Wagner, such as Lohengrin.  Meistersinger is just naturally a little heavier, but it’s beautiful music and it lies well in my voice.  I’m very comfortable in it.


See my interviews with John Tomlinson, Thomas Allen, Gwynne Howell, Robin Leggate, and Bernard Haitink

BD:   Is this how you select roles
see what fits in your voice?

winbergh GW:   Yes.  I work on them for a certain amount of time, and then if I feel good, I go on with them.  But if I feel that it didn’t really work for me, I would drop it.

BD:   After having performed it, or before you perform it?

GW:   No, before I perform it.

BD:   Are there some roles that you have dropped because you either don’t have time, or they don’t fit your voice anymore?

GW:   Yes, the lighter Mozart I have stopped singing
Così Fan Tutte, Entführung, also some lighter Italian parts like L’Elisir d’Amore, Pasquale, Manon of Massenet.  All this lighter French I don’t sing anymore, but I do Carmen, which is a little heavier, and I do Tosca and Masked Ball.

BD:   So you really do have a wide range?  [Vis-à-vis the recording of Ariadne auf Naxos shown at right, see my interview with Margaret Price.  Also note that it is the original 1912 version of the opera, without the Prologue which was added in 1916.]

GW:   Yes!

BD:   When someone asks you for a role, how do you decide yes or no?

GW:   It depends on what they ask.  If it’s in my range, and if it suits my calendar, I will do it.  If it’s something maybe like an Italian part, I will do three months’ Italian parts, or mix with some Mozart.  But I don’t want to do Meistersinger, Tosca, Lohengrin, Zauberflöte.

BD:   Oh, back and forth!

GW:   Back and forth.  So, I try to block the periods so I do them in two months or three months each.

BD:   Is it easier to go from lighter to heavier, or from heavier to lighter?

GW:   It’s easier to go from lighter to heavier.

BD:   Building more and more?

GW:   Yes.

BD:   Then do you leave a lot of space after the heaviest to go back to the light again?

GW:   Yes.  It depends if it is the heavier Mozart, which is Idomeneo and Titus.  That I can do back to back after, rather than before.  I’d rather do an Idomeneo after I’ve sung Meistersinger, but not in the same week.  I need two weeks in between so I can get the agility back, but that is good for me because it keeps the voice slim, and it doesn’t make the voice hard.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   Your voice imposes certain parts.  Do you like the characters that they present?

GW:   Yes, I do, really.  Lohengrin is a dream part to do, also character-wise because it has all the dreams for a tenor.

BD:   He’s a very noble character?

GW:   Yes!

BD:   [With a gentle nudge]  Do you like singing in A major all night?

GW:   [Laughs]  Oh!  Yes.  It suits my voice my voice very much.  That’s why I think the Siegfrieds and the Götterdämmerungs will also suit me quite well because it’s in about the same tessitura as Lohengrin.

winbergh BD:   It’s just more singing?

GW:   It’s more singing, but it doesn’t hurt me so much.  The length of singing doesn’t hurt me much.  It’s the tessitura that hurts.  If it’s too high and too long, then it’s hard.  But the break point, the ‘passaggio’ of the voice, doesn’t bother me so much.  I can sing quite a lot in that range for quite a long time.  All the Mozart parts helped me to find that position because all the Mozart parts are in the breaking point of the voice.

BD:   That’s right, especially now that the pitch has moved up.  Two hundred years ago the pitch was lower.

GW:   Yes!  Here in America it’s a little lower than if you sing it in Vienna.  In Vienna it’s very high.  It’s a quite a big difference really.

BD:   The A is placed at about 446?

GW:   Yes, it’s not half a tone, but it’s close to it.  

BD:   That makes a big difference in the throat?

GW:   It does, it really does.

BD:   So, singing Mozart helps you sing the Wagner?

GW:   Yes.

BD:   Did Wagner learn from Mozart?

GW:   I don’t know, but maybe he did in some way.  If you think of the tessitura for Zauberflöte, for instance, and Idomeneo, it’s really a Wagner tessitura.  It’s sung by lyric tenors a lot, which I think is okay, but I personally like it when it’s a little heavier voice for those parts, especially for Zauberflöte.  That opera is really a beginning of a Helden voice.  If you see the tessitura, and the way he writes the whole first aria in the first act, and also the end, it’s all in the same tessitura, and it demands a little heavier touch to it.  Many major tenors, like Windgassen and many others, always sang Zauberflöte, even when they’re in their sixties.

BD:   It’s like a touchstone?

GW:   Yes, to make sure of yourself.  If I sing can that, then it’s okay.  I do those parts if I can still sing the coloraturas.  I don’t sing the Idomeneo coloratura aria anymore; I sing the other version, but there are still other parts in Idomeneo, and also Titus, and Giovanni.  Don Ottavio is also quite a heavy part for a tenor, really.

BD:   But in Giovanni you only have two arias and some ensembles, so it’s not so long.

GW:   It’s not long, but it’s the range and how you do it.

BD:   Did Verdi write in that same range, or are his tenor parts a little bit different?

GW:   Verdi’s a little bit different.  Verdi is a little bit lower in the tessitura for the whole thing, but you have to go up to high notes sometimes.  But it’s much lower in the whole part.

BD:   Do you like being young heroes?

GW:   Yes!  Who doesn’t?  

BD:   You wouldn’t want to be a villain?

GW:   Well … why not also?

BD:   This is what I meant when I asked if you like the characters that are imposed on you.  These are all usually young lovers and heroes.

GW:   It’s not only in the Wagner parts, it’s in all the tenor parts.  That’s the theme.  If you are a lyric tenor or a Heldentenor, it doesn’t really matter.  You always sing the prince, or you always get the girl at the end, and that’s a good thing!  [Both laugh]

BD:   You don’t ever want to be kings or czars or devils?

GW:   No.  I stay with my prince title!  [More laughter]

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   Do you change your technique at all for the size of the house – a big house or a small house?

winbergh GW:   Not really.  The way I sing the part is the same in all houses.  It is the acoustic in each house which makes the voice grow larger or smaller.  In smaller houses it’s more difficult to sing dramatic parts because the voice doesn’t carry; it doesn’t grow.  In a big house, the voice has time to grow and to develop.  In small houses it just bounces off the back wall, and doesn’t go anywhere.  It’s very important for me to sing in houses like the Met, and in here in Chicago, and San Francisco.  Munich and Vienna are also big houses, but not as big as here in America.  They also have different acoustics.  If you compare the acoustic in Vienna with the acoustic here in Chicago, the acoustic is good here in Chicago, but in Vienna it’s Zauber, it’s magic!  The Metropolitan has a very good acoustic, and even San Francisco.  Now, after they rebuilt it, it has a fabulous acoustic.  Some houses are so dry, and it gets worse and worse sometimes when it is rebuilt.  I was in San Francisco last year, and it was a really, really nice acoustic.  It’s important for us to feel that the voice responds when you’re on the stage, that it comes back.  Sometimes you feel that it goes, and you just stand in a closet and sing, which is hard.

BD:   Do you change your technique at all for the microphone?

GW:   Sometimes I do, because if you know there’s a broadcast you take back a little bit.

BD:   What about for a commercial recording in the studio?

GW:   Yes, a little bit.  You don’t have to sing a hundred per cent.  By that I mean you have to sing with a hundred per cent of your feelings and everything, but you don’t have to force your voice so much, or make it have to reach out to the last row of the house.  It’s better to concentrate on the quality and the slimness of the voice, because the recording studio does the rest.

BD:   Do they take too much out of your hands?

GW:   Maybe sometimes... the studio recordings today are nearly too perfect.  I prefer to listen to more live recordings because they have more life, and you hear the public responding.  The fact that you know it’s a live recording makes it more exciting.  People don’t know that in a studio recording you can have one recording done over three years, maybe.  This has happened many, many times.  You sing when you feel well, and they drop it in.  You save yourself for high notes, and you start with the high notes sometimes.  Then they play the clip and put them in, which is a little bit unfair to the public, really.

BD:   It becomes a fraud?

GW:   Well, not a fraud, but I prefer to listen to recordings from the old times when I know that they had to do it in one run.
BD:   When you’re on stage, are you conscious of the audience that’s out there?

GW:   Yes, of course. 

BD:   Do you feed off of their energy?

GW:   Yes, I think you do.  You can feel when it’s a good public there or not.  The response is some magic conversation between audiences and the actor, and the audience feels if you are true, and that you’re not faking.  If you’re true and you sing with your guts, then they take you to their hearts.  It’s very important to be very true to yourself.  

BD:   So, you’re a sincere singer?

GW:   Yes, I think I am.

BD:   Are the characters that you portray real people?

winbergh GW:   Not all of them!  You spoke about Lohengrin.  He’s not a real person, he’s some fantasy figure.

BD:   Do you try to make them real?

GW:   Yes, I try to make them real.  I try to find something in them that I can respond to, and that I can develop, but I don’t really go too deeply into it.  I try to get the parts from the musical side and the singing side first.  Then I try to develop the person.  The first time you learn a part, it’s important to learn the part as it’s written
the music, the singingand not make up your mind a hundred per cent about what this figure is.  You do that with the regisseurs [opera producers] and the other people in the cast.  Then you can find it out.  But if you have your decision already made up when you come to a staging rehearsal, it’s very difficult to work with you.  

BD:   But if you have performed a role before, don’t you bring that previous performance to next production?

GW:   Well, sometimes.  Naturally if you try to impose something unconsciously, you try impose what you did before.  But then that’s the regisseur’s work, to try to develop you in another way toward what he wants.  Then you can come to an agreement.

BD:   Do they ever take you in a wrong direction?

GW:   Sometimes, yes.  I try to kick around all the ideas.

BD:   Who is right?

GW:   The rightest thing is what works for me,
and how I am, and how I feel, and how I sing it.  That’s the way a regisseur should work with a singerto find out what works for the person he works with.
BD:   I assume that you like most of what the regisseurs have asked you to do?

GW:   Not always.  I know I have my own ideas mostly, and I don’t want to do really stupid things just because the regisseur wants me to do it.  Then I fight!

BD:   Do you win?

GW:   Often I win, yes!

BD:   Do you then make a mental note not to work with that regisseur again?

GW:   No, no!  It can be different.  I’ve worked with regisseurs again after I’ve walked away from their production... not a  lot, but I have walked away from productions.  I said that I cannot work like that, and then I worked with that regisseur again in other productions.  Then it works because it depends on where his mind is in that production, and his thought of that production.  It can happen that he wants to do it in a very, very strange, modern way
have you stand on your head, or lie down somewhere...

BD:   [In a very snide manner]  Oh, that sounds like fun!

GW:   Yeah!  It’s fun in a work-studio, and maybe when you’re in an opera school workshop or something.  It could be fun to experiment, but I’m not out for experimenting any longer.

BD:   You’re doing the real thing.

GW:   Yes.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   Earlier you called yourself an actor.  Let me ask the
Capriccio question.  In opera, where is the balance between the music and the drama?

GW:   Here in Meistersinger, the acting and the drama it’s absolutely one, and an opera is perfect when it is like that.  Like Così Fan Tutte, or Zauberflöte, or Figaro, all these operas are so fantastically written that the drama and the music is one, and it is always one.  You can try to do them in modern ways; you can try to do whatever you like with these operas, but they will always be one.  Other operas you have to work on, and are not so magically written, but there are some operas that are just perfect, just genius.

winbergh BD:   Do you have to be perfect in them?

GW:   We try to, but it’s easier to be perfect in those operas because everything comes from the work itself, really.  You don’t have to find out so much.  You don’t have to think about the figures so much.  It just develops.

BD:   When you walk out on stage, are you portraying the character, or do you actually become that character?

GW:   I try to become that character, and it’s easy in these parts that I talked about because when you start singing, and you have your colleagues around you, you become this figure somehow.  It develops from itself; otherwise you have to try to create something.  It’s very important to try to be the figure, to think that you are the figure.  Then you can live in the text and develop your romantic spell.

BD:   Do you sing only opera, or do you also do concerts?  [Vis-à-vis the recording shown at right, see my interview with James Levine.]

GW:   I sing concerts, too... not a lot, but I do about five or six or ten Lieder recitals with Schumann and a lot of Strauss, and a lot of Scandinavian songs.  Naturally, I also do orchestral pieces, like Schöpfung [Haydn’s The Creation], and also the Verdi Requiem and Mozart’s Requiem.  I have really three families.  I have my personal family, my private family with my wife and children; then I have a Mozart family, and now I have a Wagner family.  I live with these three families, because when I was doing the Mozart parts I traveled around with all these Mozart singers.  It was always nearly the same people, running around from one place to another.

BD:   Do you now feel like you’re divorcing the Mozart family to go the Wagner family?

GW:   No, I still have it, but it’s a different way of living.  Then I came into the Wagner family, and there are singers which I didn’t meet before.

BD:   Have they welcomed you like the Mozart family welcomed you?

GW:   Yes, it’s nice.

BD:   You don’t feel like you’re an interloper?  

GW:   No, no, no, no!  Yesterday we had a very interesting conversation about what the public is most interested to listen to.  I was speaking to some Wagnerians about this, and I was saying that I think Wager is wonderful, but Mozart is maybe the highest genius in music that ever was.

BD:   [Laughs]  That wouldn’t make you any friends with the Wagner people.

GW:   No, that didn’t make any friends there.  [Much laughter]

BD:   We can go back to the tradition of Karl Böhm, whose repertoire was Mozart, Strauss, Wagner
so there’s the link!

GW:   There’s the link, yes, that’s true.

BD:   I’m glad that you keep all of these in your repertoire.

GW:   Yes, I try to do that as long as possible, as long as I sing.  That’s the only way for me to keep my voice flexible, and not to become only a Wagner singer.  I try to keep my voice in the lighter range of that.

BD:   This will be the danger when you start singing Siegfried, because everyone will want you for that role.

GW:   Yes, I know.  I have already options for doing it for four or five years ahead.  Just because I mention I want to do it, or say that I shall do it once, people will want to make options for it.  But I don’t want to sign any contracts before I really know that I will sing it, and it’s a challenge.  When I finish my career, I don’t want to say that I never tried it.  I want to do it all, but I know that it will be okay if, at the end of my career, I never sang those parts because I found out that they weren’t for me.

BD:   But you had tried?

GW:   But I tried, and I think that’s important.  For me it’s good.

*     *     *     *     *

winbergh BD:   Now you are here in Chicago singing Meistersinger, so let me ask you a bit about Walther.  Are he and Eva happy in
Act Four?

GW:   [With a sly grin]  Well, not really because she marries Sachs, and gets babies from Beckmesser!  [Huge laughter all around]  No, I’m joking!!!

BD:   [Picking up on his outlandish idea]  I never thought of Eva as being that slutty!

GW:   No, no, but in third act, just after the Schusterstube, she throws herself in the arms of Sachs, and also in the second act she comes to Sachs.  They have a very close bond together.

BD:   They have a lot of history.

GW:   Yes, but it’s not just history.  There is some love there, and it’s very close.  Eva should be going to Sachs.  It could have happened, but she falls in love with this knight.  However, Sachs has so many good things about him that I think he could easily steal Eva from Walther.  He’s a knight and a lover, and a spoiled brat from outside Nuremberg.  Walther von Stolzing grew up in a very rich home, and comes to Nuremberg like a little playboy.  Sachs has all these qualities that Eva’s used to from home.  I don’t know, but in the
fourth act I could imagine maybe that she gets tired of Walther and goes to Sachs.  [Both laugh]

BD:   Does Walther get tired of Eva?  [Vis-à-vis the DVD shown at left, see my interview with Lenus Carlson.]

GW:   No, I don’t think so, but she might get tired of Walther.

BD:   Regarding events that take place after the opera has ended, the question I always like to ask concerns who should wind up with whom in Così.

GW:   Well,
così fan tutte, [so do they all], you know!  [Much laughter]  Right at the end it’s beautifully made that Dorabella and Ferrando pass each other, and its her little secret about what she was going to do after the finish.  I think Dorabella and Ferrando are the ones who really belong together.

BD:   You don’t think Dorabella would be happier with Guglielmo?

GW:   No, I don’t think so.

BD:   [With a gentle nudge]  So, Ferrando is more frisky than we think?

GW:   Oh, yes!  [Laughs]  They’re both frisky.  They both are the same way somehow, but I don’t know.  We will never know that, but all four might live happily together!

BD:   [Mildly shocked]  Like Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice???

GW:   [Laughs]  Yes!  Why not?  It’s a modern world!

BD:   Really???  The Mozart world is a modern world?

GW:   Oh, yes.  Così Fan Tutte is like a soap opera.  You can make a TV soap opera of it and have success every night because the story is wonderful.  If you translate the text truly from the Italian for the television, every time you say a word, it goes ‘beep’!  Half the opera would be censored!

BD:   An X-rated opera!

GW:   Yes!  [Much laughter]

BD:   Speaking of translations, do you like having the supertitles above your head?

GW:   Not really.

BD:   Why?

GW:   Because people are sitting up like this [points head up] watching up.  I see them in the first rows.  Here you don’t see it so close up because it’s a big house, but in Europe you see people for four or five rows, and most of them are reading the whole time with their faces up.  Why don’t they look at me???  I’m on stage!  The Met has a very good way of doing it
on the seat backs.  They can see straight ahead while they’re reading the titles.  But it’s good because it’s very important that people understand what’s happening.

BD:   Do you find it makes the drama closer to the audience?

GW:   Oh, yes, it’s helped a lot.  They even laugh in Meistersinger, and it’s wonderful.  I’ve never heard that in Germany.  Never!  Maybe in the second act at what Beckmesser says, but here they laugh a lot!  Even the Germans don’t understand the German text sometimes because it’s old German.

BD:   [Musing]  They should translate it into modern German.

GW:   Yes, they should!  [Laughs]

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   Are you at the point in your career that you want to be?

GW:   Yes, I think so.  I started with Wagner in 1992-93.  I started with Lohengrin, and actually, for me, it was the perfect timing with my voice to get into this music.  Many people start too early with the heavier parts.

winbergh BD:   So you’ve paced your career very well?

GW:   Yes.  I try to wait as long as possible with certain parts.  I want to sing another fifteen years on the stage.  I don’t want to be finished when I’m fifty-six or fifty-seven.

BD:   You want to go a little past seventy?

GW:   Yes, why not?  Look at Nicolai Gedda (1925-2017).  Alfredo Kraus (1927-1999) is seventy-two, and he’s still singing very well.  I just heard him in Berlin doing Lucia di Lammermoor.  It was perfect!  It was fantastic.

BD:   He was always very careful about his roles, and about how he sang.

GW:   Yes, and he didn’t sing too many performances.  I don’t exactly how many performances he sings a year, but I don’t think he ever sang more than thirty or forty.  Then he went back to Gran Canary, where he lives, and worked on parts.

BD:   He sang in here in Chicago many, many years in all kinds of parts.  We’ve been very lucky that way.  Are you also limiting the number of performances you give?

GW:   I have to now when I’m doing the heavier parts.  I try to limit it.  You cannot sing Meistersinger four times a week.  When I did all this Mozart, I could sing every other day.  I sang a lot, doing over 100 performances a year for many, many years.  I was one day in Zurich, the next day in Munich, and then Vienna, London, or Cologne, Düsseldorf, or Hamburg...

BD:   So that’s not just the singing, but also the travel?
GW:   Yes, but in Europe it’s not so far.  Here in America you have to travel four, five, or six hours to get anywhere. In Europe you have a flight from Zurich to Vienna and it’s one hour.  Zurich to Munich is thirty-minutes, so you don’t have a time change.  Sometimes you can take the car to Geneva in the same country, so it’s easier in Europe to sing more performances in different places.  Here you stay in one place, then you go to the next, which may be much better for the voice to stay in one place.  You stay there and sing eight performances, and then go to the next place and stay there and sing eight performances.

BD:   You can rest and also study new roles.

GW:   Yes, probably the way they did it before.

BD:   You’re living in the age of The Three Tenors, and you’re a tenor.  Does this help or hinder your career?

GW:   No, not at all.

BD:   It doesn’t matter one way or the other?

GW:   No, not at all!  I like them.  They are fantastic, all of them, and they have done a fantastic job for opera to get a lot of new public.  If it’s anything to do with me, I would say it is positive because the public today probably knows more about opera, and opera arias, and what opera is about because of these three tenors.  So in that sense, it has only helped, and it’s really good what they do for opera.  It’s good that opera has become popular.  People can identify with it today.  You go into a restaurant in Europe, and even in America, you can hear operas.  It
s not just in the pizzerias in Italy where they play O Sole Mio all the time, but now you can hear the operas everywhere.  They play La Bohème or Tosca, and things like that, which is nice.

BD:   That’s a good thing?

GW:   Yes, it’s a little ‘pop’.  [Laughs]  It’s becoming a little popular also with young people who buy or listen to opera.

BD:   Is opera for everyone?

GW:   Yes, of course.  Really, yes!  It should be!  [Both laugh]

BD:   One last question.  Is singing fun?

GW:   Yes.  When I’m singing it is probably the most fun, and the best thing I know to do.  If I feel well and the voice works, everything else works.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work.  You don’t always feel well, but you have the performances to do, and when you’re not feeling a hundred per cent, you still have to do them.  Then it’s not so nice.  Then it’s hard work... but otherwise it’s wonderful to sing!

BD:   You wouldn’t rather be a robot, and not have the discomfort?

GW:   No!  [Much laughter]  No way!

BD:   Are you coming back to Chicago?

GW:   Yes, I’m coming back in 2002 for Parsifal.

BD:   It will be good to see you again.  Thank you for taking the time today.  I appreciate the conversation.

GW:   Thank you very much.


See my interviews with Hermann Prey, and Claudio Abbado

© 1982 & 1999 Bruce Duffie

These conversations were recorded in Chicago on November 3, 1982, and February 25, 1999.  Portions were broadcast on WNIB in 1985, 1987, 1991 and in 1993.  This transcription was made in 2017, and posted on this website early in 2018.  My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.

To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.  To read my thoughts on editing these interviews for print, as well as a few other interesting observations, click here.

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Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001.  His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.

You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests.  He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago.  You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.