Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
The Björling 'Opera': A children's Nursery Academy and an Italian Conservatory in Miniature
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Educational Work.
2012 (English)In: Opera on the Move in the Nordic Countries During the Long 19th Century / [ed] Anne Sivuoja, Owe Ander, Ulla-Britta Broman Kaananen, Jens Hesselager, Helsingfors: Sibelius Academy , 2012, 4, 17-49 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The aim in this chapter is to develop a deeper understanding about the informal Björling 'School' in Sweden. Contextually the example is related to the micro history of opera education contributing to the macro perspective illuminating a provincial example of the concept of domestic opera schooling. The specific focus was on Karl David Björling (1873-1926), the teaching parent of the Swedish tenor Jussi Björling (1911-1960) and his brothers Gösta and Olle.


The Björling family model of opera schooling belongs to the classical canon of domestic home education which was common during the epoch. The phenomenon is also within the field of opera singing an important reference to the historical context of the Nordic opera history of vocal education.


The uniqueness concerning the Björling School seems to be the rigorous and exceptionally early training. David Björling’s pedagogy was rooted in earlier German theories of musical upbringing. It's clear from his results that he was familiar with the neo-humanistic ideal on which reformed music education was based. Of a specific interest is the term Gesang als Unterricht as a concept for developing childrens musical and memorising capacities.


Conceptually the roots of the Björling model are in the eighteenth-century Romantic view of prodigies and their abilities. The extensive touring is connected to the promotion of wonder-children, and David Björling’s educational style to the conservative Master-pupil tradition.


David Björling's vocal ideal was a part of the contemporary debate about “The decadence of the singing art”, and seems to have its roots in an older Italian tradition. There are recurring similarities between his educational methods and the didactic principles of the Lamperti School: Enjoying a revival around the late 1800s and early 1900s, it has been called the natural or the national school. Nevertheless, through authentic experiences and gramophone recordings the Italian tenor Enrico Caruso became David Björling’s pedagogical role model.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsingfors: Sibelius Academy , 2012, 4. 17-49 p.
, DocMus Research Publications, ISSN 2242-6418 ; 4
Keyword [en]
Domestic opera education, history of vocal pedagogy, teaching children singing, musical upbringing, wonder children
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education and Learning
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-10934ISBN: 978-952-5959-46-8OAI: diva2:559668
Forskningsnätverket Opera on the Move in the Nordic Countries:Tourings Artists and the Construction of National Identites in the Long 19th Century (2011-2012); Den musikaliska salongen i Falun under 1800-talet

Founded of NOS-HS Exploratory Workshop "Opera on the Move in the Nordic Countries:Tourings Artists and the Construction of National Identites in the Long 19th Century" (2011-2012) at the Sibelius Academy

Available from: 2013-01-14 Created: 2012-10-09 Last updated: 2016-04-01Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(2716 kB)244 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 2716 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Liljas, Juvas Marianne
By organisation
Educational Work
Educational Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 244 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 609 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link