(b Budapest, 28 May 1906; d Budapest, 9 June 1979). Hungarian baritone. He studied the violin in Budapest and singing in Milan with Sammarco and Stracciari, whose example undoubtedly helped form his strong voice and forceful style. He made his début at Budapest as Luna in 1928, but his fame derives from his period at the Vienna Staatsoper, 1935–9, where he was soon entrusted with the heroic roles in the Italian repertory, his Amonasro in Aida in 1938 under Victor De Sabata being particularly admired. Bruno Walter esteemed him enough to cast him as Onegin, Lysiart (Euryanthe), Posa and Escamillo, while he also made his mark as Wolfram in Tannhäuser under Wilhelm Furtwängler. Later he added Sachs to his Wagner repertory, recording two of his monologues. From 1936 he made an equally powerful impression at Covent Garden where he undertook Rigoletto, Amonasro and Scarpia. Despite the size of his voice, his singing was nimble enough to undertake Gioachino Rossini's Figaro. He made his Metropolitan début in 1940 as Renato (Un ballo in maschera) and remained there until 1950. In Florence he performed Boccanegra and Guillaume Tell (whose aria he recorded). Svéd sang the latter role again near the end of his stage career, at the Vienna Volksoper in 1958. He also sang lieder, recording some suitably dark-hued songs in 1940. The vibrant depth of his tone can be heard on a representative selection of arias from his Verdi roles recorded between 1936 and 1947.
From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.