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Our soprano Karin Mobacke sings in Gustaf Wasa at Stockholm Concert House June 11.

GUSTAF WASA Johann Gottlieb Naumann Gustaf Wasa A forgotten Swedish national opera. June 11 at Stockholm Concert House.

Gustaf Wasa unfolds during the Danish siege of Stockholm in the early 1520s. It reaches a macabre peak at the coronation banquet of the Danish king, Christian the Tyrant, and the subsequent Stockholm Bloodbath. The Danes threaten to continue the bloodbath with women and children if Gustaf Wasa does not give up the struggle for freedom.

The music was composed by German composer Johann Gottlieb Naumann, who was summoned to Sweden when Gustav III had an idea for an opera. Court poet Johan Henric Kellgren wrote the text, following detailed sketches by Gustav III. Gustaf Wasa had its world premiere in 1786 and it was Sweden’s national opera for a long time. 

Naumann combined the best of Italian and French styles in the music. “If the elevated and magnificent aspects of French opera are joined with the melodic elements of Italian opera, this will be the most beautiful art it could be,” he wrote in a letter. The opera was a hit and was the most played Swedish opera over the years – but then fell into obscurity.

This gem is now being performed in a concert version, with vocalists who are among the best in Sweden. They include soprano Elin Rombo and Hillevi Martinpelto, Karin Mobacke, tenors Michael Weinius and Joel Annmo, and baritone Karl-Magnus Fredriksson. The Gustaf Sjökvist Chamber Choir is also participating. Tobias Ringborg conducts, and has led the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra on numerous occasions before. He often spotlights both older and newer works from the Swedish repertoire.

In collaboration with the Swedish Academy.


Written By
Göran Eliasson
11 juni 2023