Reviving the legacy of Jussi Björling, Bror (‘brother’ in Norwegian) Magnus is the heart-warming tenor from the North! For a singer to make his recording debut at only 21 he needs a combination of extraordinary talent, the ability to work really hard and of course – courage. Bror Magnus Tødenes has it all – and more.
It all started as a bet – “classical singing was rather… remote to me”
A typical adolescence, with a background of playing guitar in pop/rock bands, and piano, Bror Magnus arrived at music high-school where to his dismay he also had to take singing lessons. When the teacher heard Bror Magnus’s voice, even if it was only ‘mock-singing’, she was totally overwhelmed. She challenged him to audition as a singer onto the Talent Program at the Music Department in Trondheim (NTNU). If he got in, which he was sure he wouldn´t, he promised her he would go all-in for classical song. And now the young man from Selvåg, on the remote fjord lined coastline of mid-western Norway, is finding his way in the classical arena – much to his own surprise.
Favourite arias and more
When asked about further inspirations, Bror Magnus is quick to mention both Enrico Caruso and Beniamino Gigli, especially when it comes to his favourite arias in the italian repertoire. However, he also includes the hit ‘O Holy Night’ in the Swedish text version Jussi made so popular. And Bror Magnus takes it all one step further by including a sparkling version of ‘Arrividerci Roma’ from the 1955 film classic, immortalized by Mario Lanza. The Norwegian Radio Orchestra led by Ingar Bergby provide all the gusto you could want for.
A generous handful of Nordic songs are of course present in such a debut as this one. Two of Jussi Björling’s Swedish signatures ‘Tonerna’ and ‘Till Havs’, two of Sibelius’ most well known and four by Grieg find their place here. All given beautiful heartfelt readings by Bror Magnus and the outstanding Håvard Gimse.