Pekka Nuotio, tenor

Tenor Pekka Nuotio (1929-1989) was the leading Finnish singer of his voice type during the 1960s and 1970s. For more than twenty years he was one of the pillars of the Finnish National Opera's company, but he also carved out an impressive international career and sang the major roles in the tenor repertoire at Covent Garden, in the State Operas of Hamburg and Berlin, and across the Atlantic at the Met in New York.

Pekka Nuotio's professional career got under way in 1957 when he was engaged as a member of the chorus of the National Opera, but already in the following season he made his soloist début - as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto. This was to become one of his favourite roles, and indeed Italian opera as a whole formed the foundation of Nuotio's repertoire, but in a small company like the National Opera, with limited resources, he found himself singing an extensive and very varied assortment of roles. The repertoire expanded rapidly to include Russian and French opera and also to embrace heavier tenor roles. Nuotio sang the lead in Verdi's Otello - one of the great Italian tenore di forza roles - for the first time in 1961. The lead in Wagner's Tannhäuser followed in 1963, and Tristan two years later.

It was Wagner that took Pekka Nuotio to the stage of the Metropolitan. He sang Tannhäuser in the final opera production to be performed in the old "Met" on the corner of Broadway and 39th Street. The next year he was Tristan to Birgit Nilsson's Isolde, this time in the brand-new Lincoln Center complex. During the 1970s Nuotio appeared extensively across Europe, with visits to Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf, London, Glasgow, and Amsterdam, and in 1973 he sang Tannhäuser in the opening season of the Sydney Opera House.

But Pekka Nuotio's career was not simply a succession of triumphant performances. Already in the late 1960s he underwent a major operation, recovery from which cut his singing appearances for a year. His breathing difficulties - later diagnosed as an allergic reaction to dust - subsequently became so serious that they cast their own shadow over a splendid career. In 1982 Nuotio was reluctantly obliged to take the decision of retiring from active singing, at the age of only 53. Pekka Nuotio died in Helsinki on March 18th, 1989.

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Pekka Nuotio
Opera Arias. Recordings 1973-1981

Pekka Nuotio, tenor
Finnish RSO
Various Conductors
ODE 900-2

Released 05/1997

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