Baritone Ingvar Wixell was born in Luleå in 1931. A member of the ensemble at Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm from 1955 to 67 he then joined the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1967 where he was a member for more than 30 years. He sang at the Salzburg and Bayreuth festivals, as well as on stages all over the world. And he even participated in the Eurovision Song Contest!
Wixell actually performed all the songs in the local competition to select Sweden’s Eurovision Song Contest 1965 entry. The winning song was “Annorstädes Vals” (Elsewhere Waltz), which Wixell went on to perform at the international final in Naples. In a break from the then prevailing tradition, the song was sung in English (as “Absent Friend”). This led to the introduction from 1966 onwards of a rule stipulating that each country’s entry must be sung in one of the languages of that country.
The contest took place in Naples, and was Italy’s first hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest. 18 countries participated, and it created quite a stir that Wixell performed his song in English instead of the original Swedish. The native languages were used for all of the other participants, and this led to a rule being introduced for the 1966 edition onwards, when all participants had to perform their songs using one of their national language.
The song came 10th in the competition, by the way …