Ungrateful Swedes close down the Jussi Björling Museum

Ungrateful Swedes close down the Jussi Björling Museum


norman lebrecht

December 03, 2020

The Culture and Leisure Committee in the great tenor’s home town of Borlänge have decided that they cannot be bothered to continue funding the Jussi Björling Museum.

Opened in 1994, the museum is the only memorial to an historic voice.

But Björling died in 1960 and Swedes have short memories.

Nobody’s saying what will happen to the museum’s contents.

Read more here.



  • Steve says:

    THIS IS TERRIBLE NEWS, BUT TRANSLATE IT, DAMMIT!!!!! What good is this announcement and others you send out in foreign languages if we can’t understand it?

    • sam says:

      Google is your friend.

    • Mvarc says:

      There’s little in the Swedish TV piece other than there are too few visitors, at 1 million kronor per year it’s too expensive and a permanent exhibition is planned in the town library.

    • Zelda Macnamara says:

      As it happens, I do speak Swedish so I could read it without having to paste it into Google Translate which I recommend as a very simple way of accessing information in languages you don’t understand.
      Among other things, it says the decision did not come as a shock as the museum had very few visitors and was costing the town money. It seems that parts of the museum will be moved to the City Library where there will be a permanent exhibition which would be seen by around a thousand people every day. There are also suggestions that there will be some kind of memorial in Stockholm.

  • yujafan says:

    However, fortunately his much recorded voice lives on every time one listens to one of those monuments to his art, which I would urge everyone to do

  • Mvarc says:

    I feel so lucky I finally visited the museum on a wonderful day trip during a recent Stockholm Ring cycle a few years ago. As the article you quote says, it is a true “pearl” among small museums. A report said that there were only 2400 visitors in 2012, but I am very disappointed that the local council won’t/can’t place the position of Jussi (as everyone knows him in Sweden) as their town’s AND Sweden’s most famous son and arguably to many the world’s greatest tenor (alongside Pavarotti) higher than the cost. Apparently the council plans a special permanent exhibition in the town library, but nothing will replace the magic of current museum building. It’s very sad.

  • A.L. says:

    Swedish leadership is definitely asleep at the wheel. This is reminiscent of the now defunct Saab, a cherished brand and a source of Swedish pride for long, which should have been rescued somehow by the government (and not by General Motors, which marked the beginning of the end for Saab). Or reminiscent of government negligence in dealing with the present pandemic (their death toll far surpasses the other Scandinavian countries). So now they are on course to also neglect one of their own cultural icons?! What is going over there?

  • sam says:

    Sorry, personal museums are ego projects that should be self-financed.

  • Novagerio says:

    It happens to be the same region that shut down Dalhalla, propably the most exciting opera festival in Scandinavia some ten tears ago. And the reason? Pop music and local Country music sells better. “Opera is for the Elite and the snobs” was the motivation from the board in the national press.

  • Eduardo says:

    horses for courses…….

  • NorCalMichael says:

    This is a shame, as he’s an unquestionably important singer and Dalarna is one of the loveliest regions of Sweden. But Borlänge is a good distance from both Stockholm and Oslo and probably too much trouble for the average tourist opera fan to get to.

    While we’re thinking about Björling’s museum, I want to put a plug in for the Birgit Nilsson Museum, located on her family’s farm just outside of Båstad, southern Sweden. It’s a delightful place and the café is great, too. It’s also closer to both Copenhagen and Gothenburg, which may mean that it’s visited more.

  • John Karkalis says:

    Thank God! for Jussi’s recorded legacy. I was privileged to see him in a Met performance as the Duke of Mantua during the 1950’s.
    An unspectacular stage presence with a truly miraculous voice.

  • Jussie says:

    Jussi Björling Society website about the sad news. “The new exhibition will not contain any of the Björling family’s depositions, since Jussi’s children Lars and Ann-Charlotte have reacted to the decision by demanding that all the family’s depositions are returned to them as soon as possible.” http://www.jussibjorlingsallskapet.com/id/1973.html

  • Greg Bottini says:

    “Nobody’s saying what will happen to the museum’s contents.”
    Not true. The article (via google translate) clearly states “a decision has been made that parts of the museum will be moved to Borlänge’s city library.”
    This library gets about a thousand visitors a day, according to the article. “Jussi Björling will be able to reach even more visitors there than he has done in recent years (at the museum).”

  • Bill says:

    Well, 26 years for a museum dedicated to a man who died in 1960 and whose town residents probably have only a few people who ever saw or heard him (I did.) is not really too bad.

  • Colin Reeves says:

    It is disrespectful of them to shut it down as he was and still is the greatest Tenor singer ever to have walked this planet earth.
    I do not blame his family for asking for his memorabilia back.

  • AndrewB says:

    The Royal Swedish Academy of Music ( which is not a teaching institution – that is the Royal College of Music ) might be a good place for these mementos of a great artist’s life to be displayed. He truly was an important tenor and singer of the 20th century.
    This reminds me unfortunately of an online conversation I took part in some time ago about great ‘natural ‘ voices – i.e. singers endowed with particularly fine instruments. Bjorling was on my list and a Swedish gentleman took me to task saying he thought only a few in Sweden would know who Bjorling was , let alone in other countries. That was such a pity and it did Bjorling a disservice.

  • Reginald Suter says:

    Cannot the Jussi Bjorling Society help by asking for donations. To close the Museum to the greatest tenor of our time is a tragedy. Reg Suter