- The Washington Times - Monday, March 28, 2005

Swedish singers have been captivating Americans since 1850, the year coloratura soprano Jenny Lind, known as “the Swedish Nightingale,” became a box office sensation during a tour masterminded by impresario P.T. Barnum.

Flash forward 155 years, and Jan Eliasson, Sweden’s ambassador to the United States, gets the credit for importing three exceptionally talented vocal ensembles from his homeland, Riltons Vanner, the Lux Ensemble, and the Adolf Fredrik School of Music Choir, for a week of concerts at the Kennedy Center and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, among other venues.

On Thursday, Mr. Eliasson invited special guests to his residence for a final performance by the latter two groups between gracious offerings of gravlax, aquavit and other Swedish treats.

First “onstage” in the drawing room were the 30 15-year-olds from Stockholm’s Adolf Fredrik School, who instantly won over the crowd with their enchanting looks —tall, bright-eyed, mostly blond — and beautiful voices as they performed a cappella selections of folkloric favorites.

Next it was the turn of the twentysomethings from the Lux Ensemble — mostly model material, by the way — who sang 19th-century classical Swedish choral works that were as mature and harmoniously complex as they were refined.

“You are our ambassadors. You unite us through the beauty of music,” Mr. Eliasson exclaimed as the applause faded.

“Ah, the power of youth.”

— Kevin Chaffee



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