Torsten Ralf

Torsten Ralf

Swedish opera singer, heldentenor
Date of Birth: 02.01.1901
Country: Sweden

  1. Biography of Torsten Ralf
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Career
  4. Legacy

Biography of Torsten Ralf

Early Life and Education

Torsten Ralf, a Swedish opera singer and heldentenor, was born on January 2, 1901, in Malmö, a major city in southern Sweden. He came from a family with a strong musical background, as his younger brother, Oscar Ralf, was also a tenor and opera translator, and his other brother, Einar Ralf, was a tenor, composer, conductor, and arranger. Ralf began his musical training at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, studying with Haldis Ingebjart and John Forsell. He later moved to Berlin to continue his studies under the guidance of Hertha Dehmlow.


Ralf made his professional debut in 1930, portraying Cavaradossi in Puccini's "Tosca" at the Stettin Opera. From 1931 to 1933, he performed in Chemnitz, and then worked in Frankfurt from 1933 to 1935. He joined the Semperoper in Dresden and regularly appeared on the stages of the Munich State Opera and Vienna State Opera, establishing himself as an exceptional performer in roles such as Florestan in Beethoven's "Fidelio," Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Stolzing in Wagner's "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg," Siegmund in "Die Walküre," Tristan in "Tristan und Isolde," Parsifal, Bacchus in Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos," Radames in Verdi's "Aida," and Otello.

In 1938, Ralf performed the role of Apollo in the premiere of Richard Strauss' opera "Daphne" and participated in the premiere of Heinrich Sutermeister's "Die Zauberinsel" in 1942. He was also invited as a guest soloist at the Royal Opera House in London and Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.

During World War II, Ralf sang at the Berlin State Opera and Stockholm Opera. He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1945, portraying Lohengrin under the baton of Fritz Busch, and performed at the Met for three seasons. In 1952, he was honored with the title of Court Opera Singer in Sweden.


Torsten Ralf tragically passed away in Stockholm on April 27, 1954. Despite his untimely death, he left behind several recordings, including excerpts from "Lohengrin," "Tristan und Isolde," "Die Walküre," "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg," "Otello," and "Die Frau ohne Schatten." His name is still closely associated with Wagnerian roles and the characters of Richard Strauss' operas. Ralf is remembered as one of the leading dramatic tenors of the period between the First and Second World Wars.