Wixell was born in Lulea, northern Sweden where he played the viola and sang in a choir. He decided he wanted to be an opera singer after he saw his first opera at age 21 in Stockholm where he was doing military service.
After working as an office clerk, he was accepted at the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, and made his debut in 1955 as Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute in a production that toured Sweden. The same year he was employed by the Stockholm Royal Opera where he was 1955-67 before joining the Deutsche Oper.
Wixell performed many roles during his long career including Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca, and roles in Verdi’s operas. His last performance – in Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss – was in 2003 at the opera in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, where he lived until his death.
He was also the Swedish entrant to the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest in Naples:
via Monsters and Critics
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.