Gunnar Sandvold was born in Stavanger in 1915. His father was janitor at Bethania assembly building and as kid; Gunnar sold concert programs and could get free access to the concerts. He was an apprentice as cabinetmaker but his beautiful bass-baritone voice made him a local star. When auditioning to Borghild Langgaard in Oslo she sent him to Italy where he started singing lessons with Vittorio Ruffo at La Scala (Milan). At that time, Gunnar was acquainted with Arne Dørumsgaard and they became close friends for the rest of their lives. Dørumsgaard characterized Gunnar Sandvold’s voice in this way:” Nobody sings with such a beautiful sonority in the mezzo voce register as you!” The contact between these two men was of major significance in Dørumsgaard’s decision to donate his collection to Stavanger.
In 1947, Gunnar Sandvold made his debut as concert singer in the University Aula in Oslo. At that time, he had been studying and worked several years in Sweden. In 1949, he joined a choir rom Haugesund on their tourney in USA. When their concerts were finished, he stayed in USA until 1956. In 1954, Sandvold sang in Carnegie Hall with an orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Despite an international carrier did Sandvold remained faithful to his audience in Stavanger giving concerts in Bethania. In these concerts, the repertoire was a mixture of popular folk songs, opera arias and concert songs. It made him a very popular artist and he was invited to the very popular senior program “Husker du / Rememberence” on NRK TV twice.
Working in Sweden Gunnar Sandvold presented Crown in Porgy and Bess at Stora Teatern in Gothenburg in 1948-49. He felt this character was difficult as Crown is supposed to be such an evil person. Gunnar wanted to use his art of singing as edification of the audience. He had a car accident in 1965 that made him out of practice for several years, but after persistent training, he could once more sing in public. He often joined famous preachers (like Gordon Johnson) on tour in the Western part of Norway and it was a special pleasure for Gunnar to visit Skånevik, where his wife Dagny-Rose (born Chirstophersen) came from.
NB: The music is digitized from private tape recordings that Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound Stavanger has a copy.
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